DEEPTI NAVAL tells Madhurima Nandy that
despite going through a lot of emotional turbulence, she has always
come out a winner
‘I had to look beyond
Hindi films. Had I stuck on to cinema, I would have had to wait
for years to get one challenging role’
What is your book Black Wind about?
The book is about my experiences during a very significant phase
of my life between 1990-95. They were emotionally turbulent years
and also a turning point in my life. During that time, I wanted
to write a script on a mentally disturbed woman and had stayed
at a mental institution for that. Those images of the inmates
over there stayed on with me and later came out in my poetry.
But some of the poems in the collection are also on my personal
relationships, on suicides and riots.
But do you think that
writers, or even actors for that matter, need to live an experience
to express them?
I don’t think one needs to go through those but one has
to at least witness it. I can’t write about America if I
don’t visit the place. For example, I couldn’t write
about life in a mental institution without really seeing what
life is like out there. That would be an imaginary account of
the real thing and it would be grossly unfair. Though an actor
can draw from her own reservoir to enact a particular role, a
writer needs to delve much deeper. In films, I can afford to role-play
but as a writer, it’s me you are reading about.
photography, writing…….why did you feel the need to
diversify into different mediums?
Writing is a much more intense and personal process than acting.
Hadn’t it been for all creative outlets, I would have cracked
up. Everytime I faced a crisis in life. whether it is writing
or painting, they have kept me going whenever I have gone through
an emotionally chaotic phase. I couldn’t have stuck to acting
because here, you have to wait for years to get a challenging
role. But I think, my ultimate creative expression will be when
I write songs, which I think is the most romantic form.
tremendous emotional upheaval, a suicide attempt……how
did you cope through all those phases of emotional crisis?
I am not a suicidal person by nature. But there is this one poignant
moment in one’s life when one is emotionally weak. And like
most women, I have always followed my heart in whatever I have
done. It also happens when you want a certain quality in life
and it doesn’t materialize. That tends to lead to a debate
with one’s own self. But I am not somebody who would want
to end my it all. I am too much in love with life.
Your’s is a
survivor’s success story. Where did you draw your strength
from in crisis?
I have gone through the grind and through really turbulent times
but have always managed to come out as a stronger person, who
is more equipped to handle crisis. I draw my strength to overcome
difficult situations in life from my inner self. I am also very
close to nature and frequently go trekking. But my greatest source
of assurance and support comes from my family which has always
been there for me at every point.
How did an intensely
private person like you fit into the glamourous world of Bollywood?
Looking Back, I think, I have always been some sort of a misfit
in Bollywood. Whether it’s Chashme Baddoor, Kamala, Ek Baar
Phir or Tapan Sinha’s Didi, I have always done those films
which I had set out to do at the beginning of my career. I did
try to be a part of mainstream commercial cinema but I couldn’t
What do you think of Bollywood films now?
I have no problems with exposure or love scenes in films, but
all the songs or dances seem like cabaret numbers to me these
days. But the new crop of actors in Bollywood have much more exposure
and I have no problems with that.
Do you have any favourites?
Amongst the new crop of actors, Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapur
are my favourites. I also like Kajol and Rani Mukherjee and yes,
I admire Sushmita Sen, for her overall personality. We all like
Aamir Khan. I thought Shah Rukh was very good in Swades and in
the death scene in Devdas.