Deepti Naval is better known as an Indian screen actress but the lady’s talents don’t stop there. Not only an acknowledged poet and painter, she has also tried her stints at photography.

Her film credits include Prakash Jha’s ‘Damul’, Sai Paranjpe’s ‘Katha’, Basu Bhattacharaya’s ‘Panchvati’, and Jagmohan’s ‘Kamla’, alongwith commendable performance in ‘Chashm-e-baddur’, ‘Saath-Saath’, ‘Mirch Masala’, ‘Saudagar’, ‘Yalgaar’, ‘Leela’, she has a carved a niche for herself in the Indian cinema. “Leela is a fantastic film”, she says, “exploring the depth of relationships”.

It was a pleasure to watch Deepti Naval after a long time in this film, considering her complex character in the film; she does full justice to it. Remembering the kind of jewellery she wore in her films she remarks, “I wore a lot of chunky jewellery in ‘Mirch Masala’, and in ‘Yeh Ishq Nahin Asaan’ I loved the dressy Indian look.” Also, on her list of future shoots is a television serial by Raman Kumar named ‘Muqammal’.

Her to-be released English fun film called ‘Freaky Chakra’, she says is a “rectangular love story”. She was in Bangalore for this film’s shooting and I was fortunate to have some quiet moments with her. Not to mention that she looked extremely stunning in a crepe sari, with an exquisite green gemstones set. This she said “was picked up from her designer friend Asha Modi’s jewellery boutique called ‘Art Karat’ in Delhi.” “But this is not my normal dressing code”, she remarked emphatically, “I’m always in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt or designer western wear”. A trendy almost square shaped silver ring shone on her ring finer, “I always have this ring on and among other things I usually wear, is this one little silver kada and a pair of small square silver studs”. It was clear that this lovely lady is in awe of silver and stones.

“Indian Jewellery is exceptionally incomparable”, quips Deepti and goes onto say, “I love the Art of Jewellery. I like to admire the versatility in Indian Jewellery and probably keep them as art pieces.” “I don’t normally wear a lot of jewellery myself though” she said laughing. Her deep, sometimes sad and mysterious eyes and her million-dollar smile do wonders to her face. “I have a god collection of Ladakhi jewellery with yellow stones and corals, which I love to, flaunt around when I do my winter dressing, and that includes a nice muffler, with no other piece of jewellery. I love this incomplete look in jewellery dressing. I prefer to have bare ears to go with an extremely dramatic necklace or vice versa’.

Deepti in her earlier days was into a lot of chunky silver jewellery, “I liked wearing jhumkas, well, wore them mainly for photo sessions”, she remarked. “I sometimes pick up some chunky stuff from ‘Ogaan’ and ‘Santushti’ in Delhi, and ‘Harrods’ in London. A hair designer friend of hers named Gora; one took her to Oxford Street in London and made her buy a lot of designer jewellery, which she’s quite fond of now. While at Bangalore she visited ‘folio’, which she recommends for silver shopping.

When asked, this extremely talented and versatile Aquarian had this to say about herself, “I am a loner. I go through varied phases in life. I like to have fun with friends around me, but then very soon I realize that I need time for myself so I just pack up my bags, pick up my camera and wander off. I like doing Nature photography”. She likes reading books, and said, “I am fond of reading. The one that I am reading these days is called ‘Memories and Hallucinations’ by DM Thomas and another one is a collection of short stories called ‘Marquiz’.

She took a trip to London some time ago to exhibit her photography in aid of The Consortium For Street Children. This exhibition titled ‘In Search Of The Sky’, at the Nehru Centre in London was organized in order to raise money for the charity. Deepti Naval’s landscape photographs of Ladakh, Northern India, portray a wildly beautiful desert region high in the Western Himalayas also known as “Little Tibet”. Working at extreme temperatures and miles across deserted lands, Deepti described her experience, “It was a time for reflection, a time for introspection. Some of those moments I’ve to capture with my camera this winter.”

Her mother’s heavy gold jhumkas, worn by her mom on her wedding day, later gifted to Deepti are among her most treasured possessions. Sadly, they got stolen from home sometime back. There is apparently one neckpiece, which she treasures the most, “My mother gave me a beautiful Gold Kundan necklace also, which belonged to her and hence is dear to my heart.” Deepti on a serious note remarks, I am not crazy about diamonds, pearls or even yellow gold. It somehow does not reflect the kind of personality I have. I am in love with stones and feel that stones can do amazing thing to a person”.

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures”, aptly quoted for an artist in true sense of the word. An artist named Deepti Naval.

By Namita Gupta.