"It's not been instant and immense fame, but I am a very satisfied person today"

The Parveen Babi look-alike Deepshikha is on a high right now - enjoying marriage, motherhood (she has a baby nearly three years old) and a career. Be it television or films, she has seen it all. As of now, she wants to persist with both avenues. "It's not been instant and immense fame, but I am a very satisfied person today," she tells Vickey Lalwani, running her hand through her silken tresses.

Excerpts from a Q & A session on the sets of Kittie Party:


Was getting into the glamour world your ambition?

I know why you are asking this. Isn't it because I am from a filmi background? In fact, I did not want to enter the glamour world. My 'nanaji' Vithaldas Panchotia gave a break to Ashok Kumar and Mehmood. My 'mamaji' was a cameraman, he did Teesri Manzil. My mom Shraddha was a heroine in Gujarati films. My dad Ashwin Kumar was a director in Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Hindi films. Since both my parents were very busy, my sister and I used to be all alone at home. The solitude was terrible. But my sister was keen to do something on the big screen. It so happened that my 'nanaji' took her to Dev Anand with whom he had worked in Gangster. I happened to accompany them. But Dev Anand selected me!


Did you tell him that you were focussing on some other sphere?

I did. He replied, "Do this role. If you don't intend carrying on further, just push off later." And then you know how it is. One film led to another. Then I did Barssat Ki Raat. Then, Dannyji called me for his serial Ajnabee. I refused. I did Raja Bundela's serial Scandal. Dannyji called me again. I complied. After that, I did several serials. Cliched as it may sound, it just happened. I hadn't planned my career. A few months later, I heard that Rakesh Roshan was hunting for a female for a role in Koyla. At that time, I was doing Tito Tony's film Tiger. After Koyla, I was flooded with films like Badshah, Dillagi, and Rishtey. Now, I am doing Dukaan with Rati Agnihotri. The film dwells on the subject of flesh trade.

And of course, I am managing serials as well- Kittie Party, Son Pari and Doli Leke Aayi Hai Dulhaniya. Now, I am also a part of Karishma- Miracles Of Destiny.


What is your role in 'Karishma-...'?

I play Ayub Khan's mistress, settled in Dubai. He has married me on the sly, without telling his wife Resham Tipnis, settled in India. He and Resham have two kids. I discover he has cheated me. I fly down to India and demand my rights. I enter the serial after three months. After that, I'll be there throughout.


Did your parents forbid you from entering this line?

Never. In fact, I was the one who was sceptical. My parents would say: 'If you carry yourself well, nobody can dare take you for a ride'.


How did 'Kittie Party' happen?

I know Manish Goswami very well. I had done Mr Mintu (Zee) and Abhimaan (DD) for him. I was shooting for Son Pari when he called me. When I heard him out, I immediately realized that this was the role which would bring me in the public eye. I was looking for the limelight which had thus far evaded me. I thanked Shobhaa De in advance. Obviously, she must have had some say in the casting. The role is so close to my actual self that I asked De what made her think of me for this role. She just smiled. I have done one other serial for Manish Goswami Productions. It's titled Lekin. It will be on air on Star Plus, shortly. It's the story of two brothers and one sister. I play the sister.


What is so close about the 'Kittie Party' character to your actual self?

Like Kuku, Deepshikha is an extremely frank and fearless person who goes out of the way to help others, but at the end of the day, gets kicked in the back. To tell you the truth, I was fed up of doing negative roles. I was screaming from the roof-tops that I could do positive stuff, but no one had heard me.


Isn't there any scope to perform and evolve in negative roles?

I agree, but anything you do repeatedly gets monotonous and boring. That way, I had Son Pari in which I play a stupid girl who never realizes that she is being misguided by her brother and mom. And I am still enjoying doing that one. Still, I could sense that Kittie Party was going to be a big thing. It was just a gut feeling. Presently, I have the best of both worlds- Son Pari is giving me what I can never be, Kittie Party is giving me what I am. And then of course, there's the biggie for Sahara (smiles triumphantly).

How did 'Sonpari' happen?

Neena Gupta wanted me in Palcchin. But I could not make it as I was leaving for London. She thought that I could fit in Son Pari too. The first thing I asked her was - 'Is it a negative role?'. She said 'No, your mother and brother are negative'. I signed on the dotted line. You would be surprised to know that the co-producer of the show, Anupam, had called me earlier for the same role and said that they had a negative role for me. I had refused point-blank. Neena realized via him that he had sent a wrong message, she called again to explain it in detail.
Which have been the difficult scenes in 'Kittie Party' and 'Son Pari'?

In Son Pari, I hated playing 'Medussa'- the witch. I don't know why I was made a witch for some time. It was terribly irritating. I want to do different things, but please, I don't want to become a witch. That garish make-up, eeks! Then, they made me Kaalipari, which was sicker than 'Medussa'. Let me scream: I am playing Ruby in Sonpari, please let me be Ruby. As for Kittie Party, there hasn't been any difficult scene. Being close to my actual self, I am cruising through the role.
"There have been cases where I have had dumb directors in my career. In such cases, I have to put in extra effort. If the artiste is drained, the output has no colour"

How important is the director to you?

I don't know about me, but if the director does not know his job, he has no business to don the director's hat. There have been cases where I have had dumb directors in my career. In such cases, I have to put in extra effort.

If the artiste is drained, the output has no colour. Like I remember once I did a scene where I was weeping. Hold your breath! The director asked the cameraman to take a long shot and the cameraman did exactly what was told to him! What sensitivity!


You said you yearn for positive stuff. Would you like to play a goody-goody 'bahu'?

I would love to. But I don't think that someone would cast me as such.


Because there's a general feeling that I don't look like an obedient girl. But tell me, who has it written on his face that he is obedient or disobedient? Actually, I had a good bahu's role in a serial called Aurat. We shot four episodes and everything had been settled for telecast on Sony. Suddenly, the producer shifted his loyalty to DD Metro, saying that he would get more money. Eventually, the DD Metro deal did not happen and the show was stuck.
How concerned are you about your look?

I am, but in Kittie Party at least, we are given flexible options. We have to look upmarket, that's all. So just take a good top and a pant, keep changing your hairstyle and lenses, that's enough. I have done mythological serials like Ramayan, there I was very particular about fine details. If you are playing a princess, you ought to look like one in all respects and from all angles.
"I consider TV like a newspaper, it has no repeat value. And I consider films like a magazine; you can read it more than once."
How do you differentiate films and TV serials?

I like doing both. Hmmm... a few extra inches for films. I consider TV like a newspaper, it has no repeat value. And I consider films like a magazine; you can read it more than once. But there is one thing about films which bugs me no end. One full day is consumed doing just one or two scenes. And there is one thing I like about films (pauses)
Go on. What's that?

Films make you famous with your own name, TV makes you famous with the character's name. Today, people recognize me as Deepshikha. Kittie Party and other serials have played a substantial role in this. That's simply because people know me to some extent because of the films I have done. I wouldn't like it if I was known as Kuku or Ruby. My name is my identity.
But you did have some identity crisis when people mistook you for Parveen Babi?

(laughs) Initially, I used to get angry. I almost got my hair permed so that I would start looking different. But slowly, I began to enjoy it. Parveen Babi is special. She was a real star. So, no probs on that count.
You are still doing films. How do you adjust the schedules between the two media?

I tell my film-producer and director that I won't be shooting on certain dates due to my TV commitments. All these guys are pretty cool. At least, I haven't come across one who cribbed. They adjust without any hitch.

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