ELLE - DEC 2002

Two decades ago, Deepti Naval bought a “very restricting” two-bedroom terrace flat. Over the years, she has applied her artistic expertise, picked up (and assembled) interesting furniture and added lots of candles to transform it into a spacious den. The most innovative: A centre table that uses an old bathtub and a bathroom door! Anupama P Shenoy takes a peek into an apartment that reflects as many moods as its owner.

Actress-painter-scriptwriter Deepti Naval came to Mumbai from New York with the sole purpose of joining the film industry.
The art graduate felt the need to express herself through acting. Strangely, she didn’t start painting until much later into her acting career. She has made a comeback to the Hindi Film industry with Shakti,Leela and the soon-to-be-released Freaky Chakra. About her choices she says, “It’s important for a woman to not have to choose between all the things she wants to do. You should do anything you want!” True to this need to explore new avenues, the dusky actress is now working on three film scripts and looking forward to a cross-country drive in her new Scorpio

What is your personal style?
Casual. I’m not brand conscious. I just pick up comfortable clothes, mostly when I travel abroad. For formal occasions, I wear sarees.

A piece of furniture that every home should have?
A set of catalogue drawers. It can really organize your life.

Your most extravagant buy?
My Calvin Klein crockery set. It has the European, old-world charm about it and is the only branded home accessory that I have. I like his lines.

A book that has had a great impact on your life?
Van Gogh’s Lust For Life. I studied art in New York and graduated with a major in painting.

Your favourite work of art?
‘Pieta by Michelangelo.

Your all-time favourite film?
Chashm-e-buddhoor (one of her earliest films with Faarouque Sheikh, loosely based on the story of The Three Amigos). It keeps me in splilts every time I watch it.

Your experience of working with the younger generation of actors?
They are an energetic bunch. I prefer to work with younger people because they have a fresh perspective to life. I believe that I vibe better with them then I do with people my age. Maybe because I’m still young at heart!

What kind of roles do you look for?
I think I should only choose more complex roles. Like my character I Freaky Chakra. I enjoyed playing an eccentric, despicable 40-year-old doctor who falls in love with her 24-year-old paying guest. And to make sure that I find such roles I’ve taken to writing scripts!

Your biggest indulgence?
Travel. I don’t mind not buying clothes and accessories. I prefer to save up to travel or buy books.

How does it feel to live alone in a big city?
I like my space so I’m not complaining. Also, I’m and avid trekker. I get friends together and take off whenever we can. I’m never in town if I don’t have work. Besides, I visit my parents in the US for about four months every year.