After waiting for 25 years, Deepa Sahi is finally set to wield the megaphone for a lighthearted no-holds-barred romantic movie Na Na Karte Pyaar. And the actress has no less than Hema Malini and Nana Patekar as the leads in her directorial debut.
"Yes, it has taken me a while to get here. But now I feel right for it. Believe it or not I came into the industry to make films. But, then, since I had no support system, no sugar daddys or godfathers I was advised to become an actress first," Deepa told IANS.
She took the advice seriously and it was Govind Nihalani who gave Deepa her first break as an actress in Party (1984). Thereafter the two collaborated on the timeless partition epic Tamas on television.
But Deepa is best known for her role in husband Ketan Mehta's Maya Memsaab, an adaptation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Shah Rukh Khan played her lover in the movie.
"Whatever the controversies surrounding the film, I look back on 'Maya Memsaab' with much pride and affection. I'd have taken the plunge as a director some years ago. But then I got busy with our special-effects company. I thought it would take me six months to set up. It actually took four years of my life. But I'm proud of it," said Deepa.
And now, finally the vocation she has been waiting for.
"A lot of my husband's films like Maya Memsaab and O Darling! Yeh Hai India' featured me. But that was it. Contrary to belief, I didn't contribute to the direction. Now with 'Na Na Karte Pyaar' I'm ready to take the plunge."
So is the film named after its leading man, Nana? "No the Na Na is just a coincidence and a happy one. He's such a wonderful actor and a great human being. I wanted to work with him. As for Hemaji, she's a full blown diva, no other word for it. I get weak kneed just looking at her. I wonder how I'll direct her! When I conceived the script, I needed two mature people. I don't think Nana and Hema have worked together before," she said.
She is right - the two came close to working together in Milan Luthria's Hat Trick, but Hema opted out.
Ask her about autumnal romances being in vogue after Hema and the Big B clicked in Baghban and Deepa retorts, "I don't think love or cinema is about age."
Deepa is very clear about the tone of her film. "My husband and I have acquired a reputation for making films that are serious in tone - you know the symposium-festival kind of films. We do have a lighter side to our creativity. In Na Na Karte Pyaar, we want to have fun," she said.
(Subhash K. Jha can be contacted at email@example.com )