Write ups




The actress, painter and poet writes about life, forgotten people and Smita Patil in her collection

DEEPTI NAVAL’S poured her heart out in the dark verses of book Black Wind – The Silent Scream. Her poems talk about the plight of mentally-challenged women forgotten in institutions – she stayed with one for 23 days to watch their lives.

Sitting ramrod in her office cum flat in Andheri, her eyes are aflame as she tells us why she’s finally come out in the 1990s but didn’t publish them. I thought they would disconcert the reader,” she says with a faraway look. But she did show them to her friends who felt most people would empathise with the women’s dilemmas.

Black Wind, recently launched at the Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, is also about the author’s desire to end her life when things weren’t rosy. “It was a moment when I wanted to end it all. But it passed. So don’t make it look like I’m suicidal,” she laughs.

Interestingly, the book’s launch was full of friends and camaraderie. Thespain Naseeruddin Shah had the audience twittering with laughter as he introduced the actress. “It is ironic that I should introduce Deepti since I was never formally introduced to her myself,” he said, recalling the time he first saw Naval at Shyam Benegal’s office with a thinner and younger Prahlad Kakar. “We were struck by this apparition that breezed into Shyam’s office and were dying for an intro. But he never gave us the pleasure,” chuckled Shah.

Naval’s title poem was roaringly applauded by Gulzar, Makrand Deshpande and Rajat Kapoor.

The book also has a heartfelt poem (Smita and I) about her good friend, the late Smita Patil. It’s about the two waiting at an airport lounge. Naval asks her whether there’s another way that life can be led and Patil replies, “There isn’t,” Naval ends the poem by saying that she’s still running, trying to prove Patil wrong.

Naval has written a script and plans to approach Prakash Jha to direct it. Her acting was last seen in VK Prakash’s Freaky Chakra. “No interesting offers. I don’t want to just hang around in an insignificant frame in a film. There has to be some substance,” she says.