After making her Bollywood debut with Patthar Ke Phool in 1991, Raveena went on to act in films like Dilwale, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Aks, Satta and won a National Award for Kalpana Lajmi’s Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence.
National Award-winning actress Raveena Tandon says she faced many difficulties in her professional life for speaking the truth and that it is hard to survive in the entertainment industry if a person is transparent and honest. Arundhuti Banerjee talks to Raveena Tandon for an interview. Edited excerpts:
Apart from your craft, Raveena you are known for your outspoken nature. Did you ever paid any price for it?
Yes, I think at times it is challenging and hard to survive in the entertainment industry if you are honest. I faced a lot of trouble for that, where I have been thrown out of films. I have been called a liar and I have been treated badly.
Then how did you manage the things to sustain your career in the B-town?
I stuck to being honest and treated people with respect… something that I have learnt from my upbringing. All I knew is that time will unveil the reality. Today, I live with a clear heart and sleep in the night with a clear conscience. So I have no regrets.
You are soon going to be seen in Maatr. Any specific reason for choosing this character in this flick?
I believe that all women have a loving and caring nature that the world celebrates, but forgets about the inner strength that they possess. So in my opinion, perhaps that is why the outer world thinks women are weaker — which is untrue. And I want to prove that by portraying this character in Maatr and was the sole reason for choosing this film.
Since childhood, you have been caring for wounded crows, stray dogs and cats. Does this nature help you embracing your character in Maatr?
But, this nature created some mess too. I knew that cats eat fish and fish live in the water tank… that I saw in our house. Now, as a three-year-old kid, how would I know that like those fish, a cat does not swim? I put the kitten inside the tank and messed up everything. Quickly my mom came and rescued the kitten from the fish tank. I was really small to understand things.
Please let our readers know about your upcoming film Maatr?
Maatr is set for release on May 21st. This is a very strong message film that we believe in. We are hoping that the censors will be kind to us because it is high time we stopped sugarcoating things and giving it out to the public because people will remain indifferent if the message doesn’t reach across so in every way we are trying to give the message so that it actually makes the change, people should see the horror and brutality of the crime that is violence against women.
Our laws will remain to be like this, criminals will remain to be brazen if we remain indifferent, if our leaders and lawmakers remain indifferent, We will remain the way we are, nothing’s going to change. If I was disturbed while shooting for the film, imagine what the real victims and their families go through. Their lives are almost over while the criminals walk free. That is the saddest part.
What kind of role you are portraying in this film?
I am portraying a mother who sets out to avenge her daughter’s death.
How this film is different from Sridevi’s Mom?
I don’t know the story of Mom, the makers of Maatr don’t know the story of Mom so there’s no comparison but on the plus side, I think it is fantastic that such films are being made because women actors standing up and giving out such messages that we strongly believe in this cause. At least film like this (Maatr) should come once a month because that’s only how it is going to change. How is it going to change otherwise?
We will make noise for three-four days and it will be back to business for everyone, because everyone’s forgotten. So, I think a message like this concerning women, made by women are very strong and they can reach out and make our audience aware because that’s how we can do it. We are actors, Sri ji, myself, Taapsee… All the girls who have worked in films which are on choices or on violence against women, this is the way we can make people aware.
But, the film is facing some legal hassle?
It has been sorted out. Also, I think its great publicity everyone has been telling me this. So, I am like okay, nowadays negative publicity also works. So, I honestly have no idea on that front. You will have to ask the producers. But according to me everything’s still on track.
Apart from actor, you are mother too. Does the lifestyle of parents and working mothers who don’t get enough time to spend with their children are causative factors?
No, I don’t think so. Statistics say that most of the children who are bullying any weaker living creatures like stoning a bird, breaking or throwing little puppies from rooftop at a very young age end up becoming criminals because they start taking pleasure in the pain of a weaker person or animal