Raveena also spoke about her directors and co-actors (male and female) and yes, we spoke to her about her big honour, the Padma Shri as well.
See the FULL VIDEO BELOW:
Raveena Tandon On: FIGHTS with Salman & Karisma, TORN BETWEEN Sridevi & Mona Kapoor | Padma Shri
Here are the excerpts:
Congratulations on getting the Padma Shri…
Thank you. It’s been a good journey of my professional and personal achievements.
It’s been a long journey as well, wherein many actors/directors/producers contributed to it. Let’s start off by talking about your main 5 directors…
I would start off with E Niwas. Then, Kalpana Lajmi, Rajkumar Santoshi, Prashant Neel, JP Dutta. I owe a lot to them in the moulding of my career.
Talk to us about them in detail…
I can never forget that moment when Anant Balani saw me in a pizza restaurant in Mumbai’s Linking Road and told Viveck Vaswani who was sitting with him that he should go and talk to me. He told Viveck that he had found his Kiran of ‘Patthar Ke Phool’. I was just in FYJC then and Viveck told him ‘tu joote padhvaega’. But Anant was insistent and when Viveck came forward, it was I who wished him ‘Hi’. I told him that he hadn’t recognised me; I was his friend Rajiv Tandon’s sister. Viveck was extremely surprised and he then spoke to GP Sippy saab about me. That’s how ‘Patthar Ke Phool’ happened to me.
Next, I was shooting for JP Dutta’s ‘Kshatriya’ which taught me a lot. Look, I hadn’t done any formal training in acting and dancing, barring a brief internship with Mr Prahlad Kakkar and a few modelling assignments here and there. There were many scenes in ‘Kshatriya’ where I had to loosen up and just let myself go, especially the one scene with Sunny Deol where I got violent with him. Everyone praised me for ‘Kshatriya’. JP Dutta has a big knack of extracting the best from his actors. If you have seen, his actors have always given a notch higher in his films.
As for E Niwas, he gave me the shift that I was looking for. I had done ‘Dulhe Raja’, ‘Anari No 1’, ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ and only commercial films were coming to me all the time. I wanted to break through and E Niwas came to me with ‘Shool’. But when he told the producer Ram Gopal Varma that he was casting me, RGV told him that I wouldn’t suit the serious role in ‘Shool’. But I went for the meeting with Ramu and even Manoj Bajpayee was present. Ramu told me that if he closes his eyes, he can only see me doing ‘Akhiyon Se Goli Mare’. I told him, “That’s exactly what I want to change. I want to be seen in roles which people haven’t seen me doing”. Next, we shot some pictures with Rakesh Shreshtha for ‘Shool’ and Ramu had dropped by. I passed him as he was heading to a washroom and wished him ‘Hello’. He wished back but coldly. Suddenly, while I was giving a test shot, I heard a voice from behind exclaiming, ‘Oh my God. Was that you?’. I turned around to Ramu and nodded. And all along, I was thinking that Ramu won’t give me that film because he had given me such a cold ‘Hello’. You see, he hadn’t recognised me in my new avatar!
Rajkumar Santoshi reminded me of my Dad. He had handled films like ‘Ghatak’, ‘Ghayal’ and ‘Damini’. It was such a pleasure to do the straight-face comedy ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ with him. It was a big learning curve. Mind you, those were the days of sexist remarks and double-meaning songs and dialogues. I had refused many films which had such content. I wanted to stay away from crude stuff. Santoshi explained the film to me as Archies- he said you are Veronica, Aamir Khan is Archie and Salman Khan is Jughead.
Working with Kalpana Lajmi was a joy. She was ahead of the times. While movies were being made with ‘mera pati mera devta hai’ and ‘ye goli pehle mere seene se jayegi’, she came up with a film on marital rape- ‘Daman’. Just yesterday, I read about a man who beheaded his wife because his wife hadn’t served him hot food.
You said you refused many films that had stuff in the double-meaning lanes. Can you name some of those that you said ‘No’ to?
I cannot name those films. But okay, I refused ‘Prem Qaidi’ with Venkatesh. There was a scene in it wherein the zipper came down. I was shocked that I would have to do it on screen. Many of those that I refused became massive hits. Till date, I am asked why didn’t you do more films that had the potential to become box office successes. But after the Nirbhaya incident, I was completely shaken up. So it was very important for me to do a film called ‘Maatr’. Corruption was rampant and so I did ‘Shool’. And then, I did one more film on rape- ‘Jaago’.
For me to do Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Satta’ was important. For me, the web show ‘Aranyak’ was important – a tribute to all the women in uniform.
Did you make the shift because somewhere it was being written that
Or had you yourself started perceiving it like that?
It was like this: I was a commercial actor, whose mindset changed. Let me tell you where my thought-process made the shift. I was shooting with Suniel Shetty and dancing in a song when it suddenly struck me that when will I evolve and grow up as an actor. I started feeling very strongly that things were becoming very monotonous for me. And when things get monotonous, a person gets bored.
Today, I want only challenging stuff, especially that which largely deals with social issues. Public memory is very short and we need to keep relevant issues alive.
You spoke about ‘Andaz Apna Apna’. There are often reports about the second part of ‘AAA’.
Why not? I would like to see young actors in it. I believe if a classic is made, it is made and it is tough to recreate it. But it will be a good challenge to go ahead with a second part/remake. It should be welcomed.
If at all it is made, who would you like to see in your role?
(Thinks hard). Honestly, I would like to see my daughter in my role in the remake of one of my films.
In the ‘AAA’ remake?
Not essentially ‘AAA’ but in any of those that can happen.
Which actors could reprise Aamir and Salman’s roles?
Anyone. That would depend on the producer’s choice. Okay, Ranbir Kapoor for Aamir’s role and Ranveer Singh for Salman’s.
And Karisma Kapoor’s role?
Sara Ali Khan would be damn good for that; she has the zing and spunk that role requires.
Let’s talk about your co-actors. Let’s start with Salman…
As we have grown older, we have bonded. I love and respect him. He may not be with you in your happy times but he’ll always be there with you in your bad times. When we were young, maybe we had our share of classroom fights, classroom politics.
Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) is one of my best friends. You know ‘Ravs, I love you,’ he says.
Suniel Shetty is a dear friend. Ditto for Jackie Shroff; he is such a wonderful human being sending me motivational messages.
Ajay and I did six-seven films. Sunny and I shared a great rapport; we were a hit pair. Just recently too, we have been offered a film together.
Akshay and I are still friends. There’s a journey in everyone’s life. You need to respect it and move on. I think of him very highly. I think he is one of the strongest pillars of our industry.
While Nana Patekar may not have got along with many, he and I loved working with each other. Nasser saab is a great experience. Recently I worked with Mohan Babu and he is believed to be a terror- but he and I just love working with each other.
Naga Chaitanya and I are very good friends. Prabhas says he has a crush on me and my ego gets inflated.
And I loved working with Chi Chi (Govinda) too.
Did Govinda make you wait on the sets?
Of course. But I am a filmmaker’s heroine. And I am a professional actress. I would still arrive for a 9 am shoot on time and wait. If he came late, I would read a book or go to sleep.
But he would never delay the day. He would still finish off all the scenes before time. Nobody can blame him or the filmmakers who signed him; he guaranteed box office success.
Do you regret not doing ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and ‘Dil Se’?
When Karan Johar came to me for ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, unfortunately I was at a time when my career was zero. I was restarting my career after a sabbatical and I was messed up.
I wanted to get back to the days of ‘Mohra’, ‘Imtihan’, ‘Dilwale’ where I was the solo heroine. And here, I was being asked to play the second lead to someone who is my contemporary (Kareena Kapoor). Incidentally, I had done ‘Shaher Ki Ladki’ (in ‘Rakshak’) then and I was getting a lot of offers of such kind. Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala called me to do ‘Dil Se’. But I felt I would stereotype myself. But coming back to Karan, till date, we are trying to work together. We almost started a film but I don’t know what happened; I think it’s either delayed or shelved.
I explained to Karan to understand me and stand by me. I may have done ‘Ziddi’, ‘Dulhe Raja’ etc but after four or five such films, I got into ‘Shool’. That was Raveena 2.0. This is Raveena 3.0.
Now, let’s hear it from you about your female colleagues…
Kajol is a very spontaneous actor, full of life. It’s fun being around her.
Madhuri Dixit and I always got along. We have a mutual friendship and respect for each other. We keep complimenting each other on Insta.
Shilpa Shetty and I have become close friends. There are things that have bonded us together. There are experiences that have bonded us together. Shamita and Shilpa have been close friends of my hubby Anil Thadani. We keep sharing our good times and bad times together.
Manisha Koirala and I used to hang out together a lot in the 90s. After marriage however we got a bit busy with our respective lives. We had a lot of great times together. Manisha is a very down-to-earth person.
Sridevi! The other day, Boney Kapoor called me. A book on Sridevi is being written. I had a fab equation with Sridevi. When we did ‘Laadla’ together, she used to ask me to come and sit in her van (during free time) and we used to chat. The entire unit wondered how I was allowed in her van. Boney wasn’t dating her then.
We often met at Manish Malhotra’s place. When Anil built our home, Boney and Sridevi were our first guests. My Anil, not Boney ji’s Anil, not Sunita’s Anil (laughs). We would talk; she would tell me things. She would trust me; we were close.
I would be in a dilemma. Mona was my dear friend then. Sri became a friend while working with her. For some years, I was torn apart. Unfortunately, they went through that thing.
(In the passing away of Sridevi and Mona), we lost two beautiful souls.
Did you reconcile with Mona Kapoor?
Mona never had a problem. I am not of the type who carries stories.
You said ‘you were torn apart’ (between Mona and Sridevi)…
Torn apart means: I could understand Mona’s issues. I could understand Sri’s issues as well. I was kind of there for both of them. People go through a lot in their personal lives and as a friend, you can be there for them without talking ill about the other person.
Do you remember your last conversation with Sridevi?
Her demise came as a big shock. I had met her on Diwali, which was about 4 months before she passed away. I was travelling, then. She was looking forward to life with Janhvi and Khushi. She was literally living for them; every mother does that.
You don’t seem to have had a problem with anyone. Just Karisma Kapoor maybe…
See, you cannot get along with everyone. Maybe Lolo and I were children and we went through our complexes at that time. But today, our children are friends.
Now, we even socially hang out together. People grow up with time, don’t they?
You mentioned earlier in this interview that you wanted to work with your Dad. Were you’ll planning a film?
I wanted Dad to get involved in some web shows, which I plan to produce. I wanted him to hear the scripts and perhaps direct again. But life had other plans and he passed away.
Talking of web shows reminds me of Salman recently saying that these shows need to be cleaned up, especially of the cuss words they have. What’s your take on that?
There has to be a balance. ‘Aranyak’ was a clean show, wasn’t it? But I would say that web shows are rated and parents have to be on the watch out and need to give their kids a great upbringing about what is right and what is wrong.
Who did you tell about the Padma Shri award FIRST?
I called my mom FIRST and told her to switch on the television. I told my Creator FIRST; she brought me into this world. And, she needed good news.
Were you expecting it, after you knew you were nominated?
My Twitter Feed was saying: Haven’t you already got it? It was long overdue!
Padma Shri is a big high for me. It has come at the right time.
If you recall, you were the FIRST person to write a story in Mumbai Mirror about me housing 30 girls from an orphanage in my bungalow. But I have never wanted too much of these things to come out in the open. I like to keep a low profile; I don’t do things for public effect.
Let’s conclude with your love story with Anil Thadani…
I FIRST saw Anil Thadani at a Valentine’s Nite at Olive (in Mumbai). Manish Malhotra asked me if I knew him and I said ‘No’. Manish was surprised; Anil had distributed ‘Patthar Ke Phool’. He said ‘chalo, I will introduce you’.
I found Anil very cultured; honesty was written all over his face. After a few days, Anil called and said he was interested in distributing my film, ‘Stumped’. I put him onto my ‘cheater partners’ (laughs). Post that he once called and said if I was free to meet him for coffee. I invited him home. When I offered coffee, he said that he would prefer to drink water instead. And, he said he doesn’t drink coffee. (The rest, as they say, is history).