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Deepti Bhatnagar
Name : Deepti Bhatnagar

Deepti Bhatnagar has been in the glamour field for quite sometime now. A model turned actress; Deepti believes in being independent and take the world head on. A typical 'Punjab di kudi' from Meerut, she's carved a niche for herself in modeling and hopes to do the same in Bollywood as well. We caught up with her on the eve of her film 'Dulhan Banoo Mein Teri's release. Deepti talked about her modelling days, her entry into films and Surprise! Surprise! Singing too…

How did you get into modelling?

I was ex- 'Miss India- Eves Weekly' when I was still in college. This was in the first year. Then I completed graduation and came to Mumbai. A friend asked of me to model for his shop and I agreed. So I modeled for his shop and then I went to Meerut. I belong to Meerut. And then I started getting calls from Mumbai and I came back..

Tell me about life in Meerut?
Life in Meerut was serene. I still wonder sometimes after all this while, how did I come here and stay here all by myself.

How did your parents react to this?
Since I was very young, in the 10th standard, I have been a very independent girl. I started a small business in the summer holidays. I used to supply furnishing and cushion covers, bed spreads to the stores. I used to supply to 'Amarsons' and I would come to Mumbai for that. I started a small boutique. We used to supply clothes also. So when I was in 10th, 11th, 12th.I started the venture. I believe in being independent and working hard. I never thought I'd make a career in this because I am from a conservative family. One is not sure how you are going to stay on in Mumbai and that too all-alone. My mom knew my independence and she had a lot of trust in me because she's seen me working in 1990 in Singapore. I was in modelling for one year.

Was it tough in the modelling world?
No not all. When I came to the modelling scene I was the only one with the Indian look. I was the only Indian looking girl…girl next door kind of face and long hair so I think that did a lot for me. My image was of an innocent and traditional kind of a girl because all these products needed homely looking girls. I got a lot of work and now I have done everything possible.

How did you get your first break in films?

It was like this. I did Siyaram's ad and one of my heroes saw this ad. He said that this is a nice girl and why don't you cast her? I received a call from the people in charge of the movie I was offered the role. At that time I was buying a house and needed the extra money. So I said to myself why not do this film? It was not a planned move at all and I didn't think twice about the choices. Today the girls are much smarter, discerning about the banner they come under and the image they maintain. I did the film because the hero is a very nice guy and we are talking about Jackie Shroff in 'Raam Shastra'.

How was it working with Jackie?

It was wonderful. He is such a sweet costar.

And a lot of help?
Ya! You can say that. But then there was hardly anything to do in the film. It wasn't very difficult. I was just modelling in that film.

With which filmmaker did you learn the most?
After 'Raam Shastra', I did a Telugu film, which was my second film. It was with director Raghvendra Rao and he is a very big director down South. He's done a lot of Hindi films. He's even launched Sridevi in Hindi films. I did his film and it became a school of acting for me. It was a heroine-oriented subject with a lot of dialogues and performances. Telugu not being my mother tongue, I had to really work hard. And if you work with a good director he makes you do everything right. You might not have a good starcast, but if you have good director you don't need anything else. I think everybody is a director's actress.

Your film 'Dulhan Banoo Mein Teri' is due for release shortly. What are your views on the film?
Again, a performance oriented role. What happens is that when you are new you don't get a film with a great starcast and a good role. So I signed a few such films. This is one of them. It has a very good role for me. Its a totally heroine oriented film and I enjoyed it until some problems cropped up.

What kind of problem are you talking about?

You see its very important to work like a family and one should feel that it's not only the producer's film but your own film once you are involved in it. I always wore my own clothes and I would not even think twice about using my stuff because ultimately it is me who is to come on screen. Its so disheartening especially if you have put in so much and you don't get the results back not even the respect. And I didn't want to work like that. Everyone wants to work with sincerity and dignity. And if you loose that out everything's gone. And that's what happened to that film. It was one of my favorite films and I hope its come out well. I had really worked hard on the film. I haven't seen the film and I have heard that it is ready for release now and I really out of touch and so I don't know when .I would like to wish all of them a very good luck all the team.

Do you feel that you have learnt a lot from this film?
Yes! Definitely especially from this film. Its very important to work with A grade directors or stars.

What do you mean by this?
By that I mean people who have been making films for a long time. Like I did 'Mann' even if it was a small role. I was satisfied as I did the film under a director and producer who were making a big banner film. You are sure that people will see the film. Now I feel that even if it is a small role I should work with good people. With 'Dulhan Banoo Mein Teri' I did all the hard work and finally the people didn't even pay me. Then someone else did the dubbing and someone did the duplicates. These things are not a problem with A grade producers and directors. It never happened to me before. I have now done 13 films and this is the only film I had a problem with. I have forgotten them now and I am planning to start with a clean slate.

So what are you looking for in a script now?
Well you can't really ask for a lot of things in this industry. The competition is too much. I have made sure that I will do a good film. I won't waste myself in doing films where people won't buy the ticket. I'd rather do something where people appreciate me. That will give me a lot of satisfaction. I don't want to be in a film where I am restricted to being behind the hero and running around trees. I have one or two art films coming my way and they are very small budget films, I might do one of those films.

What would be your preference - comedy or serious ones? I'd say not comedy but homely kind of roles is my forte. I think I am good in such roles. I would like to do all kind of roles like I the one I did in 'Mann' where I played a kinky bimbo. This is what Aamir told me once. He said Deepti you should try out everything. He said that I would love to do your role. That's become my motto now and I try to do different roles.

What lengths have you gone to while performing a role?
I did this film called 'Uljhan' where I played a psychic girl. In a scene I had a gun in my hand and I am driving a car and I was driving towards the top of the hill and the whole unit was backing me saying Deepti you have to get into your character and get an award for this role. I got into the role so much that I didn't realize that I was driving at a speed of 100 and at the top of the mountain and when the dialogue got over and I tried to put on the breaks of my car and the breaks failed and I was going right down the cliff. Suddenly the breaks worked and the car skidded right into the mountain and the cameraman and some unit members almost died in the crash. My face rammed in to the windscreen and I was bleeding profusely. Everyone thought I was dead. This was how I just forgot myself and I went on with my acting oblivious to my environment.

Your favorite costars?
My favorites are Aamir and Govinda. I would like to work with Aamir because he is such a wonderful actor. I did 'Mann' with him and it was a great experience. He is such an intense actor, so committed and that is the best part. I would also like to act with Govinda because he is a complete actor, an entertainer.

Forthcoming films?
I have 'Dulhan Banoo Mein Teri' which is ready for release and 'Saamna' this completes my backlog. Saamna is directed by Guru (chief in Mahesh Bhatt's unit) where I play a lawyer who is the daughter of a prominent lawyer. The difference in this film is that I get to learn a lot especially about the different aspects of acting. Like I learnt to cry without the use of glycerine and I could be as natural as possible. I am starring in a film with Sunny Deol and Tabu. It is called 'Sikandar'. There is also this untitled film about 4 guys and girls and all models are acting in that film. Right now its called Fear.

Your favorite commercials?
Of my favorite commercials, the whole series of ads for Siyaram's would rank at the top. I had not done their ad for the last two years and then they got me back for their latest one. Now people identify me with that and it has given me immense popularity. That's very close to my heart.

Any thing special that you are working on now?

Ya! Actually working on an album now and it is a pop album.

Yes! Singing.

Have you had any professional training?
Yes, I am a classical singer. I had vocal music as one of subjects in school and college. I learnt music for nine years and I took 'Visharad' in music. I have been in touch with singing through my film shows. I have also done some playback singing for one of my films. I had done a film with Rahul Rawail, which is shelved now. I sang for that film.

I believe that you have also directed a music video. How did that come about?
I like to experiment a lot. A Sri Lankan group based in Germany approached me for starring in their music video. And when they contacted me for this video, I enquired about the director of the video and they said that they were looking out for someone. So I told them I was interested in doing it. And that's how I came to doing that video. Basically, I have a penchant for doing different and new things that interest me.

Any more music videos on the floors?

No. I have been offered many. But since I am going into singing. I feel I have to concentrate on it. Thank you very much for speaking to us Deepti. We wish you all the best.

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