After Nandita Das, avant-garde actress Deepti Naval has turned director. Her directorial debut has a rather poetic title - Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish and she has signed on close friend Manisha Koirala as the heroine.
But this is not the first time she had directorial plans. She had earlier thought of a film with Madhuri Dikshit playing the lead role.
"The main lead for that didn't work out. Madhuri got busy with the Yashraj Films' Aaja Nachle. And she asked me to come and shoot the film in the US. But since that script required me to shoot in Himachal Pradesh, I decided to put it aside for now," Deepti told IANS here.
"Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish is a thought Deepti has had in her head for quite some time.
"After the other project didn't materialize, the producers suggested that I develop it. I decided to write screenplay and it was ready in about a month," said the actress-turned director, who also dabbles in painting and poetry.
A film about the relationship among three characters, one of whom happens to be a little boy, Deepti initially wanted a far more earthy actress for Do Paise Ki Dhoop....
"The character couldn't be as pretty as Manisha. I thought of Sonali Kulkarni who's a wonderful actress and also very beautiful in her own way and just right for my film. But then Manisha with her ethereal beauty seemed a bigger challenge. Besides, she's also a close friend. She has taken pains to make sure her intrinsic beauty is diminished in my film," she said.
Manisha says she is overjoyed to do Deepti's film.
"It's one thing to do a good film. That in itself is a big high. But to be directed by Deepti, who's my closest friend, is like a dream come true," Manisha remarked.
Deepti and Manisha go back a long way.
"We've been on the coolest of holidays together to the remotest parts of the world. She's a 4 a.m. friend. We don't have to speak every day. But we know exactly when we need each other. I find Deepti superbly sensitive to my skills as an actress, whatever they may be. This is the best script I've ever worked in, and I've a role to die for," said Manisha, whose performances in films like Bombay and Khamoshi: The Musical were greatly appreciated.
The film also features Rajit Kapoor, who has starred in films like The Making Of The Mahatma and Sardari Begum.
Does Manisha enjoy being directed by a woman more?
"Hmmmm. Let me think. You know what? It's not about the gender. It's about the comfort level. Even if Deepti was a man I'd enjoy doing Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish, Manisha quipped.