The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, November 17, 2002
Lead Article

One-way yatra to success
K. Devgan

Deepti Bhatnagar: Celebrating a decade in showbiz
Deepti Bhatnagar: Celebrating a decade in showbiz

BACK in 1992, when she came to Mumbai to identify a good ad agency to promote her handicrafts factory in Meerut, little did this budding entrepreneur know that destiny had a radically different plan for her.

After she had signed on an ad agency a friend asked her to model for the Roopmilan saris’ press ad. Once the ad was released in newspapers and magazines, her drop-dead Indian looks captivated not just the readers but also the advertising world. In the next 15 days she was in Mumbai, she signed 12 campaigns.

Deepti Bhatnagar’s Indian modelling yatra had begun.

Indian modelling? Yes, Deepti had already had over an year of international exposure before she entered the world of modelling in India. Her first taste of heady success came in 1990, when she won the Eves Weekly Miss India contest and later in the year, participated in the Miss World contest in Taiwan, where she clocked fifth position.

Soon afterwards, she shifted base to Singapore where she did a number of shows around the world for fashion designers.


Her brilliant smile, great Indian looks and long silky hair ensured that she was never going to go back to her handicrafts unit in Meerut.

While her dream inning in modelling continued, Deepti also started flirting with Bollywood, but with rather dismal results. Though she went on to do a dozen Hindi films, she could never really make it.

Dream run

She blames herself for her indifferent innings in Bollywood. She was so busy with her modelling assignments that she just couldn’t devote time to her career in films. So is it goodbye to acting in films? She nods. But it’s not goodbye to acting. Apart from her flourishing modelling career, she is now full-fledged into television production, direction as well as anchoring of programmes.

Her travel show Musafir Hoon Yaroon is a huge success and has been running on prime spot on Star Plus. "I always wanted to do a travel-related show as I love going to new places. So I wrote out a concept note and showed it to Sameer Nair of Star Plus. His matter-of-fact response... ‘Looks great on paper but can you translate it visually prompted me to put my own finances and shoot the pilot in New York."

That clicked not just with Star Plus but also with the audiences. And by now she has covered almost all of the USA and Europe and soon Australia, New Zealand and Fiji would be shown in the forthcoming episodes.

Popular pilgrimages

While the travel show is literally going places, Deepti is also producing, directing and hosting Yatra on Star Plus, a devotional journey through India’s most popular pilgrimages representing a mosaic of religions. It gives viewers a glimpse of the deep-rooted beliefs and faiths in India.

"I am extremely lucky that I managed to shoot inside the Badrinath temple — this the first time someone has been given permission. Till now it was completely off bounds. It took a lot of convincing, but I am happy that I managed it for my viewers."

The making of Yatra, says Deepti, has turned her into a deeply religious person. "At Devprayag, the footprints of Lord Rama left a huge imprint on my mind. When I prayed there I actually felt one with God. Similarly, Om Kareshwar (an island in the shape of Om) and Jagannath Puri too have been amazing experiences."

That she is very upbeat about this new venture is clear from the way her face lights up when she recounts one story after another of the places she has already shot and her future plans. There seems to be no stopping Deepti now. She is already working on two more shows, a family soap and also a reality show.

She has her eyes set on Bollywood too, no, not as an actress, but this time as a producer. Already working on her first script, she is planning a soft, mushy romantic film. And that sums up her own love story with showbiz. Deepti always holds out the promise that something good is on the way — something worth waiting for and believing in. It’s this belief in that’s taken her places in life.

— Newsmen Features