By Ruchika Kher
Mumbai, May 20 (IANS) She has lived a creative life every step of the way. Painting, photography and storytelling have kept Deepti Naval busy after good acting offers dried up. But Bollywood's original girl next door, now 54, is feeling the pull of the big screen again as the right roles arrive.
"It had been a conscious decision to do fewer films, but now I feel that I want to act more. It was a conscious decision earlier because I was not getting enough interesting roles," Deepti, who has featured in more than 70 films, told IANS in an interview.
"I wasn't also offered many roles because people thought that I'm usually not around, which was a complete fallacy. I was always here. Of course, I take off sometimes, and I can't sit here forever waiting for roles to come my way.
"So my life took me to various places with my photography and my painting. I would go off on photography binges because I wanted to live a full life. I couldn't just sit here waiting for roles to fall in my lap, but it is not that I was away for very long periods. However, now when the roles have started coming again, I'll be here and very accessible," she said.
Deepti, who has a bachelor degree in fine arts from City University of New York, started her film career with "Ek Baar Phir" in 1980 and then proved her mettle in films like "Saath Saath", "Chashme Buddoor" and "Mirch Masala" among others.
Although her screen presence has been limited to on and off assignments like "Bawandar", "Shakti", "Leela" and "Firaaq" among others, Deepti says acting is her first love.
"I want to do more work as an actor and I love acting. It is my first love and definitely if something interesting is offered to me, why would I say no? I would love to do them."
"I'm working with Farooque Shaikh again in Hemaji's production 'Tell Me Oh Khuda'. I thoroughly enjoyed being on the sets with him. It was like reviving old times. It is always nice to work with old colleagues. I will be doing another film called 'Listen Amaya' with Farooque," she added.
The versatile actress' next release "Bhindi Baazaar Inc", an experimental thriller by debut director Ankush Bhatt, will see her as a don's wife, something she has not done before.
"I liked the setting of the film. It's a very today's film. It has a lot of young people along with seasoned actors. I like the idea of working with the younger lot because they have fresh minds and new ideas," said Deepti.
The film also stars Kay Kay Menon, Piyush Mishra, Prashant Narayanan, Shilpa Shukla and Pawan Malhotra and is slated to release June 17.
"It's a small role but it's a character that probably I haven't really done in the past. Usually, I have done positive roles and this was one where I could experiment with negative shades. She doesn't go around behaving like a villain, she is just any other woman around the block but there is a negative streak in her, which comes out later in the film. I thought it would be nice to not always play a good person," she said.
Deepti is not very keen to talk about her directorial debut "Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish", which may come out in June.
"We are pushing for a June release and we are working very hard for that. I hope everything falls in place," she said.
The film has Manisha Koirala, Rajit Kapur and Deepti's nephew, newcomer Sanaj Naval, in the lead roles. The film has
been doing the rounds of festivals, including the 2009 Cannes film festival and the 2010 edition of Chicago South Asian Film Festival among others.