COMING from Deepti Naval, In
Search Of Another Sky seems to be a modest title for her solo exhibition
of photographers, for a versatile person like her has surely delved
into several skies already. The exhibition of photographs depicting
the beauty of Ladakh – clicked during the month of February
this year – displayed yet another of her talents.
An acclaimed actress of meaningful cinema, a poetess and a painter
who has also directed ‘serious’ serials on women’s
issues, Deepti is a trained photographer. However, at her first
show this week at Delhi’s Gallery Espace, she seemed slightly
apprehensive, quite like a newcomer.
“It is natural to be a little nervous,” said Deepti
with a wide and bright chamko- smile, adding, “but I am confident
that the connoisseurs of Delhi would appreciate these photographs
“The sheer beauty of barrenness in Ladakh attracted me and
I am sure that I will be able to share my feeling of awe for Ladakhi
with those who come to see these photographs,” she says.
The 40 frames on display are priced between Rs 800 and Rs 1,500.
Among her own favourites is the photograph of two Ladakhi sisters
– simple and yet beautiful.
“I stayed with these women for a week. It would be an understatement
to say that the stay was a novel experience. It was a novel experience.
It was a learning experience for me,” she says.
So inspired is she by the natural beauty of Ladakh that she is planning
to visit the place again and bring back more photographs depicting
both the stark and the soft side of Ladakh.
The photographs displayed can perhaps be best described as ‘soundscapes’.
For most of these being abstract landscapes echoed silence –
the quietness of Buddhist monasteries, the calmness of the Himalayas.
“Ladakh is unique. Though it is so near to the lush green
Kashmir valley, it is so different from it. In fact, one feels that
one has arrived in another world,” says Deepti recollecting
her trip to Ladakh.
Being a poetess and a painter, it is only natural that one aspect
flows into another.
“I look for poetry in images that I capture in my camera.
I want my photographs to tell a story, but I do not go with any
preconceived idea. I like to be as spontaneous as possible,”
And what does she enjoy most – acting, writing poetry, painting,
photography or directing serials? “That is difficult to answer,
for every creative experience is satisfying in itself. Also, there
are no water-tight compartments, one thing flows into the other.
As far as painting and photography are concerned, these are inter-related
skills and I was taught both,” she says adding, “to
be a complete artist, it is essential to have a ‘feel’
for all forms of art. The fact that I was trained in painting, helped
me compose my photographs; my academic training in psychology and
American theatre helped me to evolve into an actress and all this
helped when I turned into a director,” she says.
As a poetess Deepti writes in both Hindi and English. Her collection
of poems Lamha Lamha created ripples in the Hindi literary circles,
as was her solo painting show in 1994 at the Jehangir Gallery, Mumbai,
appreciated by critics and collectors alike.
And when will we see her next on the celluloid? “Whenever
I get an interesting role,” she says adding, “there
is a project coming up, but it is too early to say anything. I prefer
to be out of work rather than take up meaningless projects”
Well, surely her fans – who have appreciated
her in feature films such as Ek Bar Phir, Kamla, Mirch Masala, Andhi
Gali, Panchvati, Main Zinda Hoon and in comedies such as Chashm-e-Baddoor,
Angoor, Katha see her in roles that bring out her potentials than
in roles where she would be wasting her caliber.
Deepti feels that she has enjoyed every role that she has played.
“I enjoy doing whatever I do, be it acting, directing, taking
photographs, painting or writing poetry. As far as acting is concerned,
I enjoyed doing Kamla, Chashm-e-baddor, Mirch Masala, Ankahi and
directing and acting Thodasa Aasman.