Starring role for Sheffield – and the joys of badminton

Hussain Currimbhoy, Sheffield Doc/Fest programmer.
Hussain Currimbhoy, Sheffield Doc/Fest programmer.
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It’s been a twisting road to Sheffield for Hussain Currimbhoy. After moving to Australia from his birthplace of Canada, Hussain worked for several film festivals on Australia’s east coast and made a collection of short films himself before being taking over as programmer of the Sheffield Doc/Fest, the international documentary film festival, which started yesterday and runs until Sunday

Showroom Cinema

I have worked or been around cinemas for a while but I have to say that there is a special attachment I have to the Showroom – like slipping into a smoking jacket. The programming is consistently exploring new cinema while it celebrates older films, re-releases and classics.

Good people of Sheffield, you don’t realise it has some of the best programming around and it is one of the true independent cinemas left in the UK – a fitting title for a Sheffield cinema. I’ve had some great viewing experiences there. I saw re-releases of Taxi Driver and The Conformist, the new Iranian Oscar winner A Separation, and of course some great doc/fest nights with Joan Rivers, Morgan Spurlock and the guys who made We Are Poets.

Your movie reference: Inglorious Basterds

Ponds Forge

I was convinced that I had a clinically proven allergic reaction to exercise of any type until I discovered… badminton. It’s the ideal sport for people like me who work in the arts. Arts workers are known for being rather useless outside an office but our work in the office grants us unusually powerful wrists from histrionic typing skills, writing notes with flair, pointing at things, opening milk containers to go with our coffee and explaining concepts and ideas primarily with our hands.

We have the perfect wrist skills required for a good game of badminton. The best part is the sport offers creative opportunities to dress up like John McEnroe (80s only), or a character from any of Wes Anderson films for comic effect, or from Bill Murray’s Where the Buffalo Roam period for that sinister feel that will no doubt throw your opponent’s concentration.

Your film reference: anything by Wes Anderson

Yama, London Road

This is my favourite Japanese restaurant. No wait, my favourite restaurant hands down. I eat out quite a bit in Sheffield and I only need a few things to make me come back: fresh food, a smile on the face of the waiter and some intimate, unique surroundings. I get that with Yama every time.

The food has that certain scent, the room smells like lemongrass most times and that comes from super-fresh ingredients. It only seats a few people, so it feels intimate and has the personal touch of someone who cooks for the love of it and it’s not a chain!

Your film reference: Tam Popo

East West 

If you don’t know the little South Indian place on Abbeydale Road you are missing out. Yes, my father is South Indian. But, having a North Indian mother, that makes me even more of a critic. Which is why I was so impressed here where I met the loveliest people cooking up fantastic traditional meals, with all the colour and texture you expect from South Indian cuisine. It’s like the joint was airlifted from Madras to Sheffield.

Again, it’s very small (and not part of a chain, thank Vishnu) allowing for some great Doc/Fest nights out there where we just took over the place and laughed like fools high on spice.

Your film reference: My Beautiful Laundrette

The Rutland Pub, Brown Street

When I first got to Sheffield, I imagined the whole city would all be like the Rutland – brown velvet chairs and witty bartenders.

Alas, the wit is all-prevailing, but the feel and warmth of the Rutland is like no other. I have a lot of meetings there during work (wifi is free) to get a quiet corner and have discussions over their great menu.

It’s been a place of real inspiration for me too – I cast one of the bartenders, Erik, in a short film I made last year. It’s been good to me, the Rutland!

Your film reference: Fu**** Sheffield

Drive

I actually really love driving around the Peaks and the surrounding areas of Sheffield. I love the smooth curves of the landscape, the dark green of the hills and those stone walls. It’s got much to tell. I love the way it looks like it’s been untouched for years.

I always take visitors to the Peaks and they always marvel at the beauty. Matched with the old skies here, it paints a beautiful picture.

I used to ride my bicycle out there a lot too, honest. But the speed of a car through narrow roads may not be as healthy as a bicycle but it’s nearly just as much fun.

Your film reference: Withnail and I