DEEPTI Naval’s present show of paintings ‘Reflections’
at the Jehangir Art Gallery in a way marks a fruitful culmination of her
The visual mode of oil and canvas is no new medium
of expression for this cinema and television star, poet and a future tele-serial
producer and director. It is a medium that held sway ever since she graduated
in art and painting from the Hunter College of the City University, of
However,” as a child I was hell-bent on becoming
an actress,” she reminisces, and it was this urge that saw her on
screen in a set of unvarying roles, on her return to Bollywood from New
Nevertheless, whenever she wasn’t facing the whirr
of cameras, paint and oils on canvas or writing poems provided the mandatory
lease. “I had this compulsion to express myself and made that space
in my writings and paintings. It was just a dire need to express myself
and not any frivolous dabbling,” she accentuates the point.
Lamha lamha (moment to moment) her book of poems published
a few years ago is now in its eighth edition. Writing Hindi poetry she
claims was the outcome of “this great search for identity. I chose
to write in Hindi because it meant asserting an identity that was at that
time in that situation of great importance to me.”
A certain sense of solicitude of apocalypse and melancholic
uncertainty hovers over her works, despite the familiarity of the oeuvre,
in the style of the image. While her paintings reveal her talent, a platitudinous
impression emerges in the recall of a host of European masters.
Van Gogh is simulated with hallucinatory frenetic rhythms
of colour in several works; like for instance ‘The Street Lamp’.
Modigliani called in the distinct flowing elongated sculptural
works like the twin bodied woman that Naval explains is herself and the
distinguished actress Smita Patil. Picasso in the straight realistic still-life’s.
Narcissism rears its head in the near half-dozen self portraits
and as protagonist too, in the other works, possess visages that closely
resemble the artist. Like the painting of the pregnant nun. To justify
any amazement at this work, Naval says, “It is about the contradictions
we all have in our personality. The conflict - wanting to be one thing
and on the contrary to be something opposite to that at the same time..”
The nun she perceives perhaps comes from her childhood spend in a convent
school. “To me they seemed so mysterious, so elusive."
Stylistically, the Italian painter, sculptor and draftsman
Amedeo Modigliani is imitated in this work. “My style is really
based on my life-style,” she says, deferring any acknowledgement
to the obvious influences. However, “I like Van Gogh, Picasso, Munch,
Gaugin and Shergil,” she admits.
Deepti Naval entered the fray of the Indian film industry
with her first fil Ek Bar Phir by Vinod Pande, a success that led to her
meteoric rise in the industry. After several hits like Hum Paanch, Shriman
Shrimati, etc she became a star.
Presently Naval is all set with the tele-serial to go on
air some-time in early September this year. Thodasa Aasman has three woman
protagonists who are individually going through crucial stages of their
lives. A situation is soon created when they meet and the interaction
has a reflection on their lives.
“The entire experience of scripting and directing
it, she claims has given her “entire freedom of expression.”
She concludes, “I’m finally living life on own terms.”
A large red painting ‘Three women hold the
sky’ inspired from John Devraj’s bronze sculpture simulating
the sculptor’s work as if transcribed in the two-dimensional, that
is part of the show is the iconic representation of Thodasa Aasman.