By Sheikh Qayoom
Bollywood film personality Deepti Naval saidshe intends to write a book of short stories on Kashmir, reflecting the life and times of the people here.
Deepti spoke in the summer capital Srinagar about her writing interests and also about the inspiration she gets each time she visits the Valley.
“I intend to write a book of short stories about Kashmir. There would be about ten short stories and those would speak of the people and the times here. I have nothing to do with politics since I am an artist who is fascinated by beauty wherever and whenever I see it.
“I have earlier written short stories about New York, Himachal Pradesh and Mumbai and those also concerned absolutely with the people and their lives there,” she said.
She said it was okay to have actors like Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh do romantic films in Kashmir in the past, but time has now come when local writers should be encouraged to write scripts for Bollywood movies, depicting Kashmir.
“I intend to come back here next month to have a brainstorming session with the students in Kashmir University to hone their writing skills with regard to film scriptwriting. Let us see how much success we get”, she said.
Deepti has a family connection with Jammu and Kashmir.
“My father was from Punjab, but my mother had a Dogra origin. Her family belonged to Jammu. That lineage always kept attracting me to Kashmir.
“I love mountains, streams, meadows and simple people like those living here. I have found that this place and its people have more time and leisure to address aesthetics and pursue artistic careers.
“Art and aesthetics should come naturally to a people born in this wonderful land. One main reason for my film acting was because movies were shot here, and I thought joining films would give me an opportunity to see Kashmir.
“I have acted in the movie ‘January 19’ which was about the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley,” she said.
About India-Pakistan film and art relationship, she said: “Pakistani artists and actors are welcomed in India with open arms. But, if I wanted to act in their television serial, I would find it very difficult because of the restrictions imposed on Indian artists by the government there.
“The two countries have a common culture and past, there should be no restrictions from either side on artistic pursuits. The barriers between the two countries will have to melt at the artistic exchange level and the rest would follow automatically”.
Deepti has known to have acted in almost 100 Bollywood movies and also in some television serials. She made her Bollywood debut with 1980 movie “Ek Baar Phir”, for which she won the Best Actress award for the movie.
She has acted in nine movies co-starring the late Farooque Sheikh.
“He was a great actor. His flawless Urdu is something that would inspire any scholar of the language. He was wonderful in every aspect of acting, but his untimely death has cut short a great life and career,” she said.
Deepti is also on the advisory panel of Kashmir crafts and tourism conclave which was initiated by the prominent local businessman Sheikh Feroze.
Talking about the local cuisine, the actress said she loves the local vegetable called ‘Haak’ (Kale).
“I prefer to eat Haak whenever I get it, It is a great vegetable although your non-vegetarian cuisine is also famous the world over”, she said.