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Deeya Maskey: On a road less traveled

Anushka Nepal

Anushka Nepal

Deeya Maskey: On a road less traveled

Stumbling into acting by accident, Deeya Maskey has a different yardstick of success—quantity is not what she is after

Most of the younger generation got to know her as the bold and feisty judge of the reality show, Himalayan Roadies, but Deeya Maskey is an accomplished dancer and a critically acclaimed actor.

She has time and again proved her acting chops on TV, theater and big screen. Now she is returning to acting with the film ‘Prakash’, a social drama set in western Nepal.  

In an acting career that goes as far back as 15 years, Maskey has acted in only a smattering of movies, which is odd given the talent she possesses. 

But Maskey’s yardstick of success is different; quantity is not what she is after.  She wants to do memorable films and play memorable roles. “I personally do not have a certain preference or role I would like to play,” she says. “But I have to find the right script, or rather the script finds me.” 

Maskey stumbled into acting by accident. Her aim in life was to become a dancer. She entered showbiz as a music video model. Her first modeling job was for the song ‘Bhijyo Sirani’ by Manila Sotang while she was studying dance. “I had gone against my parents’ wish by deciding to become a professional dancer and I needed to support myself financially.”

Maskey had never imagined that modeling for a music video would open the doors for her to other exciting opportunities. Her first acting gig was in the TV series ‘Dalan’ about the life of Dalit community set in the 90s. The show’s director Nabin Subba had asked Maskey to audition for a role after seeing her in the music video.   

“That seems like forever ago,” says Maskey. “I am so bad at remembering dates.”

What Maskey remembers, though, is that playing the role of Kali in the show gave her the acting bug. To prepare for the role, she visited several parts of Nepal and attended several acting workshops. It was both fascinating and educating for her to discover the many aspects of acting, the research and work that went goes into creating a character. 

“All the traveling and research I did for my role and the acting workshops I attended stoked my passion for acting,” says Maskey. 

She made her film debut in the critically acclaimed ‘Kagbeni’ in 2008 and went on to play in other memorable movies like ‘Soongava: Dance of the Orchids’ and ‘Saanghuro’. A pattern emerges if one were to judge Maskey’s filmography. Her movies generally fall in the indie genre and have some kind of social commentary; they are not catered to mainstream crowds.

While Maskey acknowledges that most of her films are unconventional, she says there is nothing intentional about it.

“Maybe because I started out with a TV show with a social message, most of the movies I am offered are in the similar vein,” she says. “As for not doing many mainstream films, I don’t consider myself the right fit.”

Maskey is more of a character actor who revels in playing unconventional roles and we all are better off for that. Her kind is rare in Nepali film industry.