Following close in the footsteps of Meena Kumari, Deepti Naval explores the creative self through painting, poetry and photography” says NIRUPAMA DUTT

THIS LITTLE poetic confession comes from the second known Bollywood actress who took to writing poetry. And it’s not just poetry for Deepti Naval. Apart from being a painter, this petite actress has recently made forays into photography. In Delhi for her first-ever exhibition of photographs at Gallery Espace, Deepti brings with her the rugged landscape of Ladakh. The wide open sky, the snow capped mountains, the trees shorn of the last leaf, walls of stone, rounded mud wall of a remote monastery merging with the brave hilltop…and occasionally, a winter scape peopled with women wrapped in shawls and smiles. Her dreams have certainly chased the real thing. And the photographs speak of skill and poetry. These stark landscapes are in a way an extension, not just of her own poetry, but also that of her celebrated predecessor, Meena Kumari. Their poems speak of their direct communion with nature and of their journey through life alone. For it was Meena Kumari through a short film called Shaera.

Deepti too, found favour Grapevine had it that the poet character that Gulzar invented in his film Ijazat was inspired by her. Yes, that lovely maya played by Auradha Patel, who telegraphs her poems, and dies strangulated, Isadora Duncan like Deepti laughs away the resemblance, though. “ Not really, I am not as erratic as Maya was. I just love doing a lot many things....