We chat animated music videos with gory deaths, living in Goa and celebrity girl crushes.
How would you describe yourself as a creative?
Confused probably haha! I am still figuring out what it is that I want to do, and still figuring out how I want to tell my stories. I think I am easily excitable as a person, and that often extends to my creative practice (which is also sometimes a difficult thing to deal with because I can take on too much because I am excited by too many things). I feel like I have a long way to go, and a whole bunch of stories to tell, and I am excited to tell them.
What films have been the most inspiring and influential to you and why?
I love too many films to pick one. I think the one which blew my mind cinematically most recently was Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House, because it just pushed everything you could do with film, and was so fun to watch. I loved Juzo Itami’s Supermarket Woman’s colours and frames. While these are the ones coming to my mind right now, I feel like I am constantly inspired by films, because it is a never ending and truly wonderful medium.
Tell us about one project of yours, and the parts of it you liked most and hated most.
The most recent thing which I loved working on was HeartBreak Kid, a music video for The Lightyears Explode, which I worked on with Saket. I had a lot of fun animating gory deaths, and we went absolutely bonkers and had fun with the video, which was amazing. I hated that I took on this video at a time where I was not in the position to give a 100%, and it took a toll on me mentally because by the time I wrapped up the project, I was exhausted. It wasn’t the project’s fault, but how I managed my time, and I need to learn to strike a better balance and take care of myself.
(Below) Character design for The Heartbreak Kid
Describe your style of filmmaking in 3 words.
I guess it would be Quirky, Often Dark and surreal, but also Pink. I have some films in my head however which these describers wouldn’t apply to.
How does where you live influence how and what you make?
I love nature, trees bring me so much joy and peace, and being in Goa has been really good for me. I have tried to understand Goa, its people and its biodiversity better, and have tried to take an active part in creating work to help it. I hope to live here forever, and learn Konkani and give back to the community. I am trying in small ways, like with the #SaveMollem campaign. Recently, my friend Saket and I worked on a film which was inspired by Goan landscapes, and was a horror film set in an Aldona-esque village. I don’t think that film would have been possible without my love for Goa, and I hope more and more of this beautiful land finds its way into my work.
If not film, what would you do with your time?
Sometimes I feel that all I can do is animate and draw. If I weren’t working with animated films, I’d probably be drawing a lot of comics. I intend to work on some memoir comics, and I am hoping that falls into place. I also recently started working with ceramics and I’d love to expand on that. I look at clay as an extension of my illustration practice, and it is so fun to work with.
If I were not in the art field at all, I’d probably want to work in conservation, or someplace where I could read a whole bunch of stories.
(Below) Deepti at her clay station expressing her love for cats
(Below) Deepti thinks of her ceramic creations as an extension of her illustrative work
What are the three common mistakes filmmakers often make?
I wouldn’t know what are the three common mistakes all filmmakers make, so perhaps I will talk about the mistakes I have made in my own practice as a filmmaker.
1) Assuming you can do it alone. Filmmaking takes a community, in my opinion. It’s always so fruitful to collaborate with other people and make films with them.
2) Putting too much pressure on your first film. Filmmaking is an endless practice, and you discover something new with each film, and when one film gets over, there is another one to be made. Expecting each film to be a masterpiece can be paralysing. Your skill and your voice as a filmmaker will get stronger with every film you make.
3) I am horrible at pushing my films out and sometimes not a lot of people see the work I create. Which is a shame because so much of the art is about it being watched. I don’t even want my filmmaking to live in the isolated cell of social media. I am still figuring this out, if anyone has any ideas please talk to me!
4) I am adding a fourth because not making that film you have in your mind is a mistake. Make the film. Tell the story. I need to figure out how to take out more time and make more films of the stories I have in my head.
Of the cameras you own, which is your favourite? Which camera would you like to own?
My wonderful boss Kapil gave me a beautiful toy camera, it’s a Holga, and I love it so much, because it makes me feel less scared of photography. I think I am still intimidated by the medium, and that camera makes it easier for me. I am yet to develop the film. I had clicked a whole bunch of pictures before the lockdown and am excited to see how they turn out. I think I’d love to own a digital Bolex. Stopmotion time.
What makes a film a good film?
So many things. I think if it makes you feel something, it’s done its job. It could be sadness, amusement, anger, joy, amusement, bewilderment. I hope I can make films and tell stories which make people feel things one day. Also sometimes, a “bad” film is also a good film, if you have fun watching it.
What makes a filmmaker a good filmmaker?
A heavy question, but I guess the ability to keep your eyes and mind open? And courage to capture and tell what you see. I am still on my way to become a good filmmaker. Also, to recognise the stories which are your own and which need to be told.
Where do you live?
I live in Aldona, in Goa.
What's your favourite piece of clothing in your closet?
I have a blue sweatshirt which belonged to my mother (most of my cool clothes belonged to my mother). It is so bright and blue and loose and so comfortable, and the sleeves cover up my hands, and makes me feel really cosy and happy whenever I wear it. Here’s a picture of me wearing it, holding my friend Taarini’s beautiful puppy Ori.
If there is any photograph in the world you get to hang over your bed, which one would it be?
I am too scared to commit to one photograph right now. I did have a whole bunch of photographs of me and the people I love next to my bed though, and they made me happy.
Who according to you is the coolest person on the internet right now?
My brain is only thinking about my celebrity crushes haha so I’d have to say King Princess, and Brigette Lundy Paine. I want to be their friend so bad. The internet is full of cool kids though. Oh also, Mabel Ye.
Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate milk. Chocolate ice cream (there is a pattern here)
(below) Deepti possibly sipping on a chocolate milkshake.
Which book would you like to make a film out of one day?
It would probably be something by Murakami, whose words lend themselves so beautifully to surreal visuals in my head.
Your take on Instagram reels?
I am scared of them and I don’t know how they work, and I am too scared to figure out how they work and I feel like an old person. I really like Ethan Field’s Instagram reels though, I wanna be their friend.
If you owned a pig, what would you have named it?
I don’t know why Charlie was the first name that popped into my head.
What film did you watch last? Leave us a review.
The Terminal, with Tom Hanks. I felt so warm after watching it. My review is that Tom Hanks is a treasure who needs to be protected.
Your website where our readers can see your work:
I don’t have one yet, because I haven’t gotten around to making one, but you can find me on Instagram @deep.teee
This interview is a part of Curry Conversations. Curry Conversations is series of interviews where we get up close and personal with the ones to look out for.