SO Madam, where are you walking to? Haven’t seen you in a film these days?” Such jovial questions would come forth from an Army man as Deepti Naval, still remembered fondly as the Chamko girl selling detergent powder is Sai Paranjpe’s Chashmebudoor, walked through the stark winterscape of Ladakh this January with a camera in hand.

The harvest of the wild, barren, brown landscape in pictures is to be exhibited in the capital at Gallery Espace from November 9 to 24. Titled In Search of Another Sky, the exhibition of photographs is the first one by Deepti who besides her acting has been known for her paintings and poetry. “It is not that I have just turned to photography. I always clicked pictures but more for memory or my paintings. Piramal Gallery in Bombay is holding a show some time later,” says Deepti.

Deepti’s discovery of Ladakh was a couple of years ago when she drove there with her companion, her fiance Vinod Pandit. “I was mesmerized by the landscape, but that was summer and there were patches of green and a bright blue sky. This time I chose to go alone and that too in winter. Living in a house overlooking the Indus was quite a meditative experience,” says the lens woman. What delighted her most was the stark winter landscape. “It was another kind of beauty. There is so much poetry in the starkness. One really feels and experiences the textures when everything is silver grey with just an occasional brilliant blue in the sky,” she adds.

Incidentally, Deepti who majored in painting at a college in New York had also done photography there. “When one takes up one field more actively, the others are bound to lie dormant,” says Deepti. Away from the films for some time now she says that she is doing all she always wanted to do. “But I love cinema and if a role which inspires me comes my way, I will certainly act again,” she says. Right now she is in a phase when she is too old to play a teenybopper and too young to turn mother.

The only film she has done of late is a children’s film for friend Virender Saini in which she laughs and says: I play a washerwoman called Philomena.” Of her favourite roles in the 50-odd films she featured in as the leading lady, Deepti says, “I liked my role in late Basu Bhattacharya’s Panchvati very much. apart from Main Zinda Hoon, Ankahi and Didi. And I really enjoyed doing Chashmebudoor and Katha.”

Deepti has also been writing a lot of poetry in English although her first anthology Lamha Lamha was in Hindi. For the moment she is full of Ladakh and its beauty and plans to go there again with camera in hand.