To many, she’s still Miss Chamko, the girl-next-door selling detergent in Delhi’s bylanes in the movie Chashme Buddoor (1981). Though over the years, actor-author Deepti Naval has been part of several acclaimed films, the tag, however, has stuck on. But for Naval, there’s more to her work than just acting. And her artistic vision finds presence in her social media posts.
Naval, who was recently in the Capital to participate in an art show, says, “People only knew me as Miss Chamko for many, many years. That’s such a limiting way of being introduced. On social media, I post and share things that I want people to know. I wanted my fans to know a little more about me. People who liked me have loved my movies, and I wanted them to know that I’m not just an actor, there are other aspects to me that I’d like to share. And they could see other sides to me through my other work… Film ka kaam doesn’t represent me. I represent somebody else’s mind and vision, whether it’s the director or the actor, through my work. I carry to the public what they have in mind. But writing and painting is me.”
Dabbling between acting and art, is a cakewalk for Naval who has been part of web series such as Made In Heaven. “It’s not difficult to balance both, as long as your adrenaline is flowing,” she says, adding, “Acting is not a nine to five job. When you have a project, it finishes in about 50 or 60 days, or whatever time it takes. And between projects, you have time. That’s the time to keep on doing something creative. So I’ve always found the time to paint or write.”
The art show in Delhi showcased one of her oil on canvas portraits, and Naval shares more about her art practice, and how her mother was “absolutely instrumental in her journey in art”. “My mother has been my guru. I learned from her when I was a child. She made sure I knew how to sketch, since ussi se start hota hai sab. It was mandatory for me to learn to draw, and she gave me that initial training,” says the 70-year-old, adding that the first portrait she ever painted was that of her mother, Himadri Naval (1924 – 2017).
Working on a memoir, Naval recently grammed her mum’s original 1940 painting of the circular park at Connaught Place. “She painted the earlier CP, when the current structure was not made. This is before it was constructed to be a major commercial market area. That’s the only painting of hers I have in Mumbai, the rest are all in New York,” informs the actor who is a regular visitor of Delhi. “Sometimes when I’m passing by to get to Himachal (Pradesh), Delhi is a very often visited place for me.” And the city doesn’t disappoint her in arousing some cherished memories. Reminiscing old times, Naval says: “I had a school friend who lived here. Someone called Prem, we used to call her Pemu. She has passed away now. We would spend a lot of time at her farm, near the international airport. When it would be winter time, that’s when I used to like to come to Delhi. During the winter, both of us would just go off to her farm, and those are most precious memories of being here in the Capital.” With a twinkle in her eye, she recalls, “We loved roaming around the Khan Market, just doing girly stuff and laughing”.
And on the acting front, she talks about the “lovely film” she has worked in; directed by filmmaker Pushan Kripalani. “I am excited about my role, and I got to work with the wonderful actor, Kalki Koechlin. She’s amazing. I’m hoping this one releases in theatres, but if not, definitely OTT,” she signs off.
Author tweets @siddhijainn