Write ups



The New Year will be a busy one for Deepti Naval, the multi-faced actor who made her movie debut with Ek Baar Phir in 1980. Since then, she has gone on to make a mark as a painter, photographer and writer, always seeking out new experiences and honing her talent in several directions.

On December 20, Aalok Wadhwa’s The Corner Bookstore and Mapin Publishing hosted the launch of Deepti’s first book of poems in English, Black Wind and Other Poems which appears under MapinLit.

In India’s commercial capital, poetry book launches are usually low-key affairs, but this one certainly attracted attention. With Naseeruddin Shah reading some of the poems, along with Deepti, and writer-director Gulzar launching the book, the evening proved to be a memorable one.

Deepti, who had in 1983 published a “self-conscious” collection in Hindi called Lamha-Lamha, now focuses on the demons within. This deeply personal collection goes far beyond her experiences, into the world of women confined to a mental asylum. While working on a script, she lived with them, at first unable to look them in the eye, and then learning to laugh with them at their jokes. It was a disturbing experience, which left her “baffled”.

Looking back, she says, “I was only there for a few days, then I could go out, switch on the television, use the remote, drink coffee…these women were living their lives in the asylum. Mental illness needs so much care, to take them back. People just wash their hands off such relatives and leave them in the asylum.”

She will soon be travelling around the country to do poetry readings. Look out for the event. Many of the poems will touch you deeply.