Deepa debuted in the film industry in 2011 with the Kannada movie Saarathi
. She was cast as the female lead character Rukmini opposite actor Darshan
, an auto-rickshaw driver in the film who falls in love with Rukmini. The actress was highly appreciated for her performance and gained popularity with her first film itself. The movie won her the Suvarna Award for Best Female Debut and The Bangalore Times Film Award for Most Promising Actress, along with a nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Kannada. Deepa signed another Kannada movie in the year, the rom-com Paramathma
, in which she starred in the lead role opposite Puneeth Rajkumar
. This Yogaraj Bhat
direction received mixed to positive reviews from film critics, and Deepa was once again appreciated for her performance.