CHENNAI: She calls herself a compulsive creative human being. An actor, poet, writer, director, painter and photographer Deepti Naval believes in keeping one’s creative space alive. Following her belief, she took her first step into theatre with Ek Mulaqaat.
Hours ahead of the play in the city, Deepti was seen in conversation with playwright-cum-director Gowri Ramnarayan and senior journalist Sushila Ravindranathan at the monthly Duchess Club event at Savera Hotel. Here’s a story you probably didn’t know about her. “I grew up in Amritsar where I was taught by international nuns, both at school and home. I was raised in a conservative environment where I was always told to gaze down and walk on the roads to avoid any sort of trouble. I found it rather unsettling and weird,” she recalls.
But one of the little things that brought her happiness was the big screen. “Like a child’s fantasy, I would dream of seeing my face on the screen and how the audience would react to my emotions. This particular moment, the emotion, was the start of my journey as an actor,” she says.
When Gowri and Sushila asked her about her venture into theatre, Deepti said that at one point, she had panic-ked. “There are no retakes, no oops, but only a continuous flow of acting and clever cover ups. I was scared.”
Though she had promised to let director Syed Hasan and co-actor Shekhar Suman know when she would be ready for the play to be staged, the men went ahead with the announcement. She says that it was the ‘meanest thing’ to do but in the end, it worked out well.
Another reason why she was terrified was the role of Amrita Pritam whom she knew personally. “How difficult is it to portray a real character on stage?” asks Gowri. “I did not want to misinterpret her,” explains Deepti. “I would always ask myself how would she have reacted to this or emoted in this situation. I was petrified and did not want to disappoint. In the end, I went with my instinct.” Well, she seems to have had it spot-on as the over 50 successful shows prove her ability as an accomplished theatre actor.
The actor who was considered shy by her family took her dream step into Mumbai and established herself in Bollywood without any training. Did you know that every time she cried as a child, she’d run to the mirror and see how she looked while sobbing. “Most of the subtle emotions on the screen came from my mirror training,” she chuckles.