I PAID a very brief visit to Deepti Naval’s exhibition of paintings at the Jehangir, which had been widely publicized beforehand.

They had been likened to the work of Van Gogh, Amrita Sher-Gil, and M F Husain: a more unlikely triumvirate can hardly be imagined.

Naval discounted Husain as an influence, but said that some of her brushwork might have been subconsciously influenced by Van Gogh.

As to Amrita Sher-Gil, “I have always been influenced by her character, her personality, but I haven’t been influenced by her as a painter. She was a most remarkable woman. At one time someone was proposing to make a film about her life, and I hoped I might play her, but it did not work out, the film was dropped.”

She studied took painting in college in New York.“That would have been in 1979. But then I came back to India. I wanted to spend the next 10 years as a Hindi film actress. I started to paint again in 1991-92. I have been painting ever since.”

She now feels that she would like to make painting a fulltime career. “I’m not giving up films, of course.

Samples of the poetry appeared together with the paintings, some of it written on mirrors. I did not feel the painting was particularly influenced by anyone, but there seemed to be more than one style represented: the landscapes of north India were very different, not only technically but conceptually, form the “symbolic” works, and both these kinds of paintings differed from the self-portraits, one of which I thought very good.