Yesteryears' heartthrob Deepti Naval of the off-beat cinema has come up with a novel idea to keep alive Bollywood's romance with Kashmir. She is floating a mobile Bollywood cinema studio-cum-museum on the world famous Dal lake.
“I own a houseboat on the Dal lake. It attracted my attention during a photo shoot a few years ago. I am in the process of turning it into a painting studio and a tiny museum of Bollywood where portraits of the film stars from the bygone era will be put up. I wish to see portrait of Shammi Kapoor in it,” said Naval to Hindustan Times.
She said her houseboat was badly damaged due to the September ’14 floods. “I am repairing it. It will have a small Bollywood library too. I want to contribute to this place through the houseboat,” she added.
She said the mobile and floating studio can be docked where the administration finds it feasible. “It should act as a motif of Bollywood in Kashmir where many blockbusters were shot,” she said, while adding the houseboats of the lake should be declared as heritage sites.
But she is unhappy with the growing pollution in the lake. "Tourists complain of the filthy lake," said Naval.
Also a director and a painter, Naval keeps date with Kashmir to pursue her interest in brush and colours. Her romance with Kashmir dates back to 1978 when Naval, a fine arts graduate from New York, straight away came to the valley for holidays before starting her film career in then Bombay.
She believes time has come for Kashmir to produce its own cinema. “Outsiders can come and use this place as a backdrop and do a romantic cinema. But Kashmir should produce its own films to tell the inside story,” said Naval, a frequent traveller to Kashmir; though hardly got a chance to come as part of a Bollywood crew to the valley.
She said the Bollywood could introduce unknown areas of the valley to the people outside. “Movie 'Highway' shot a beautiful Gujjar (nomad tribe) hut in the upper reaches (in south Kashmir). Such places should be turned into trekking places as people know them now,” said Naval, whose hit ‘Sath Sath’ movie’s song ‘Tum ko dekha’ still resonate in the valley’s weddings and parties.
The actor is planning a short story and poetry reading in Srinagar in the last week of May. “I want to see people writing here and doing scripts,” added Naval.