Chapter 5: Deepa
“Agar main itni hi achhi hoon toh mujhe Akash kyun nahi mil sakta.“
Apart from Sid, if there is one character from Dil Chahta Hai whom I adore, it is Deepa. Not many would recall, but Deepa, played by Samantha Tremayne, was the girl who used to keep running after Akash, funnily calling him Aakaaashh. She was madly in love with him, but he avoided her altogether. He would change his path on seeing her, hide behind plants to not show his face to her, and even jump in the middle of the sea as soon as he heard Deepa calling his name. He would never miss an opportunity to make fun of her. And yet, despite his behavior, she still loved him. She knew, in her heart, that Akash does not like her, but she chose to ignore his constant ridicule. When Akash avoids her, she tells him, “Tumhari mazaak karne ki aadat abhi tak nahi gayi,” pretending that he was only joking when instead, he was unambiguously finding reasons to get away from her.
In an interview with the Times of India, Farhan Akhtar talked about the inspiration behind Deepa, where he said, “There was a character in Wayne’s World who was totally infatuated by Wayne though he couldn’t bear to be around him. That must have remained in my mind when I did a similar character Deepa in Dil Chahta Hai.” Directed by Penelope Spheeris, and inspired by a sketch of Saturday Night Live, Wayne’s World (1992) told the story of the adventures of two friends, Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey). The character whom Farhan mentioned was the inspiration for Deepa was Stacy. Played by Lara Flynn Boyle, Stacy was the ex-girlfriend of Wayne. She does not understand that Wayne broke up with her and still treated him like her boyfriend. In a scene in the film, Wayne and his friends meet in a restaurant and pretend not to see her. A similar scene was created in Dil Chahta Hai when Akash and his friends went clubbing, and Deepa met them.
Sid is the only character in the film who tries to understand Deepa for at least some moments. In the lovely sunset scene in Goa, he asks a dejected Deepa why she loves Akash despite knowing that he doesn’t love her back. He tells her that she is a beautiful and intelligent girl and can easily find someone who truly loves her. Deepa replies that she does not know why she loves Akash; she simply does. And, if she is that good of a person, why can’t she get to be with Akash. Agar main itni hi achhi hoon toh mujhe Akash kyun nahi mil sakta. Sid does not have an answer but comforts her by saying that if at any point in her life, she gets into some problem, Akash will do his best to help her. He, then, gives her a beautiful life lesson using the metaphor of the sand. Jitni koshish karo isse zyada pakadne ki, utni hi ungliyon ke beech se nikal jaati hai. The more we try to tighten our grip with sand in our hand, the more it flows out. The more intensely we hold on to our desires, the more disappointments we will face if they are not fulfilled. Expectations are the root of all heartache.
Life turns around when Sid ends up in a position as Deepa’s when he falls in love with Tara. Sid had wondered why Deepa loves Akash, even when he doesn’t love her back. He would understand more about the helplessness of falling in love when he could not help but fall in love with a woman much older than him who probably does not love him back. Like Deepa loves Akash without hoping her love would be requited, Sid loves Tara without any expectations and regrets. And he will continue to love and not feel sorry about it. While Sid teaches letting go, Deepa teaches having the courage to love fearlessly.
There is a brief moment in the sunset scene when Sid looks longingly at Deepa. At first, I thought maybe Sid would start liking Deepa. Even during the ending, when Sid sees the pretty girl at the fort, I felt that she was Deepa. But she completely disappears after this. I sometimes wonder if Deepa and Sid became a couple spending their life together.
At a later stage in the film, when Shalini asks Akash about the one person he loves and for whom he can die a thousand deaths, we see all the important people in Akash’s life. After his parents, Sid, and Sameer, Akash sees Deepa briefly before he moves onto Shalini. I wish Deepa got to know that there is a part of her in his memory. Maybe that would bring her some happiness.
I remember a training session I attended when I was in my first job where the presenter asked us to reveal the one movie character with whom we entirely identify. After feeling shy about whether I should say it or not, I took Deepa’s name. I received many frowns as people did not remember her. Some people even called her silly. But I said that Deepa was a lot smarter than the people around her gave her credit for. It was only her love for Akash that made her do silly things. It takes tremendous courage to maintain the same feelings for someone, even when you know that the person you love completely ignores you. She admits to Sid that she knows that Akash does not love her, but she still chooses to love him. She never loses her heart. She does not become a violent stalker girl. She is only in love. Sid called her ‘deewani‘, a perfect description of her. She was one of the strongest characters in the film, even stronger than Akash, who does not even say once to Shalini that he loves her. He only does so on the day of engagement after her uncle helps him realize the real reason for Shalini marrying Rohit. Deepa’s story was of hope, courage, and determination. She taught me many things about life. To be not afraid of rejection, to speak your heart out, and to love without fear. Unfortunately, we do not get to see a closure to her story, but I hope that she got all the happiness in life and, wherever she went, she found her inner peace.