carries so many mantles that it is difficult to imagine her without
any one of them. An actress, poetess, painter, scriptwriter, serial
director…and now a photographer.
Having acted in such meaningful films as Kamla, Ek Bar Phir, Ankahi,
Andhi Gali, Panchvati and Mirch Masala, Deepti Naval has refused
to be typecast in the clichéd roles of a Bollywood hero’s
bhabhi or mother.
“I was always a bit self
obsessed, but never an exhibitionist,” she says. Perhaps it
is the same dislike for theatrics that now characterizes her low-key
debut as a photographer. The pictures she shoots are going to be
part of her first public e x h i b t i o n appropriately titled
In Search of Another Sky.
The exhibition opened at Gallery
Espace, New Friends Colony, on Monday. This will be followed by
a second exhibition at Piramal Gallery in Mumbai.
Over 40 frames will be on display,
clicked at various locations in Ladakh, during the actress’s
visit there in January-February this winter. Each mounted frame
is pegged between Rs 6000 and Rs 9000.
Asked what In Search of Another Sky
means, she says, “It means looking for a new experience. Another
space…”Which is reflected in her photographs too. The
images that she has captured are stark, sharp though clothed in
very muted tones.
Though most of these are abstract,
there are a few with some human elements. However, these too blend
with the surroundings, and the effect is startling.
The locale is some untrampled, virgin
spots in Ladakh.
“I was intrigued by the
winter texture of Ladakh It is so bare. There is something magical
and out worldly about it that draws me to it,” she says.
“I look for poetry in my frames.”
Does it mean she just goes for aesthetics
– a pictorial quality – or does her work also convey
some kind of an inner equilibrium, a deeper meaning?
“I don’t shoot
with any pre-empted theme. I haven’t gone hunting for these
images. I try and look hard for a certain poetic quality in life.If
I find it, the philosophy becomes part of the composition,”
she explains, pointing to the picture of a frozen vessel - a pot
on fire, but it is covered with snow. She shot that in the compound
of the house where she stayed with a Ladakhi family. “At one
glance, it’s just a vessel. But, if you look closer you will
find much more there...” she muses.
Are there any autobiographical elements
in her photographs?
“Yes, there are.
Why is her work so melancholic?
“Don’t ask me why
because I won’t be able to answer it,” she reflects.
Fine, but, does her interest in photography means she has finally
retired from films? “No" she laughs. "Not at all!.
If I get a role that turns me on, I will accept it. Otherwise I
am happy without work.,” she says. Then what is photography?
Just a stop-gap pursuit?
“I was always interested
in photography. I did my three semesters in it, during my graduation
days in New York. Only, I got too busy with my film career afterwards
to seriously pursue it. After all, every art is an extension if
an artist’s personality,” she says.
In her own honest appraisal, how
would she rate her photography skills? “I would say these
are rather good for my first attempt,” she says with a nervous
Has she come a full circle, or is
there anything after photography? “I don’t know that
yet. I have never planned anything in my life. Maybe, I will direct
movies. Maybe, I will just go in search of another sky. Who can