Raveena Tandon

A career that took off with commercial blockbusters like “Laadla”, “Mohra”, “Andaz Apna Apna” and “Dilwale” in 1994 followed by “Dulhe Raja”, “Gharwali Baharwali” in 1998 to the National Award winning film “Daman” in 2001, that dealt with issues of sexual violence and marital rape and then came the critically acclaimed “Maatr” in 2017 – it has indeed been a journey of many journeys for Raveena Tandon. When asked why she feels Maatr is indeed very close to her soul and her heart – her reply is spot on – “My blood boils when I think why our system does not work towards giving harsh sentences or passing or amending laws that were made 70 years ago according to the times we live in today. There has to be change somewhere.Our political set-up does not help either — some political and religious leaders make absurd comments like ‘She is wearing jeans so this was definitely going to happen to her’ or ‘Why was she going at 9:30 pm?’You hear such comments where they shame the victims and you know something needs to be
done. In Maatr, we do not justify taking the law into our hands. That’s not the right thing to do. We are not promoting that.

What we are saying is that until and unless something is not done, there will come a time when this fictional story will become someone’s reality. So let’s wake up and take action. Let our voices make a noise so that it shakes up some people… our law makers… we need to make that difference.”

Making her acting debut opposite Salman Khan in Patthar Ke Phool (1991), Raveena won a Filmfare Award for Lux New Face of the Year for her performance in the film. During the 1990s, she was part of several commercial successes in the decade that followed. Then in the early 2000s she ventured into more serious roles and turned towards art-house and parallel cinema. An actor had emerged from the chrysalis of a star. This journey that took ‘Ravishing Raveena’ to a national award has found force in her intuitive ability to transform herself without letting go of the person that she is. With courage and conviction, Raveena has built a peerless oeuvre that finds no parallel amongst her contemporaries.

Of course, Raveena’s personal priorities have had a huge contribution on how she has evolved as a professional. Adopting two daughters when she was just 21, – to quote her – “I have raised three daughters. Two were adopted. I know what it feels like when a sex assault happens close to home. Unfortunately, when it happens to someone we know, we are in a state of shock.” As she has grown as an individual and of course as an actor through all these years – one of the most sensitive person in the film industry. Raveena, among many Bollywood personalities, has been trolled on social media for her outspoken and forthright comments. Always sensitive to her environment -she has aligned herself with social causes close to her heart – Raveena’s empathy and angst have powered her searing performances on screen. If Raveena Tandon’s last 25 years and more in cinema are anything to go by, the future holds many more exciting promises that this power- house diva is sure to fulfill in projects to come, and Hindi cinema and cine-fans are sure to be the richer for it.