|Raveena Tandon - When it rains it pours
|Right now I'm having a blast being single. Work is top priority. I eat, breathe, and sleep films these days.
When it rains it pours. The verdict is out. And people in her orbit can't help but break into huge 'I told you so' smiles. The preview crowd can't stop raving about her powerhouse performance, in 'Shool'. Earlier dismissed off as a 'chitrahaar queen'; a sobriquet she earned all thanks to her penchant for running around the trees in inane action flicks. Raveena Tandon has vowed the critics with 'Shool'. A commercial actress to the core, Ms. Tandon's being touted as the Next Big Thing. She has both the David Dhawan's and the Kalpana Lajmi's of the world chasing her these days. No mean achievement for someone who's survived against all odds for the last seven years. A spate of indifferent films, a nasty prints war with ex-beau Akshay Kumar. Right now she's poised to enter the orbit of serious actresses. Her line up of films include a spiffy Kundan Shah comedy, a much talked about 'Yeh Hai Jalwa' opposite Sunjay Dutt, a romantic comedy with Salman, Rakesh Mehra's untitled next with Amitabh and Manoj Bajpai and hold your breath? Kalpana Lazmi's next. Time to catch up with the 'mast mast' girl on the 'mast mast' happening in her career.
Everybody's talking about your performance in 'Shool'. How did you bag 'Shool'?
"I just can't get over the amount of calls I have been getting for 'Shool'. It's an amazing feeling. And it's all thanks to Nitinji (Manmohan) who was the producer who suggested my name to Ram Gopal Varma. Once I met Ramu and the team of 'Shool', things just started falling into place. The first day at the shooting, I was very nervous but E. Niwas, the Director and the unit put me at ease. And then I get along fabulously with Manoj. So everything worked out fine. Now that the film is releasing, I just hope it does well and is appreciated. Manoj has delivered an award-winning performance."
Talking about Manoj, you have signed a spate of films with the actor.
"Not really. I don't know how these stories started in the first place. After 'Shool', I am just doing Rakesh Mehra's next film with Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj. I was supposed to do 'Ghaat' with him but I don't think that's happening. Since I am already committed to Kundan Shah and Ketan Desai, I don't have dates to spare. So apart from Rakesh Mehra's venture I am not doing any other film with Manoj, as yet. Though I do admit its great working with him because he's a fabulous actor and a nice human being."
Coming back to 'Shool', the general impression is that deglamourised roles adversely affect a heroine's career. Take Tabu's example, for instance. Do you agree?
"This is a serious misconception. I can't speak on behalf of others, but if you ask me, I don't think this theory holds water. I am equally comfortable doing a 'Shool' as well as a David Dhawan film. And since the audience identifies a lot with my glamorous image, I don't think a deglamourised role will affect my career adversely. Come to think of it either ways, with me it's a Catch 22 situation. Earlier when I was doing the regular heroine bit, people would go "Oh she is just doing her two song and two scenes." Now when I am trying to make an effort to do meaningful cinema, I am being asked if it would affect my career adversely. (Laughs). All said and done, I have decided to sign films, which have substance. I am doing a load of commercial projects too, I have Ketan Deasi's 'Yeh Hai Jalwa', Kundan Shah's next, Shyam Bajaj's film with Salman, two films with ChiChi, and Sanjay Gupta's 'Jung.' So you see, I am trying to balance both. But yet, no more 'chitrahaar queen' roles for me, please. Yeh dil maange more !!
What's the status quo with Akshay Kumar? You lambasted him in print and yet you turned up for his father's chautha...
"Akshay and I will always be friends. He was my boyfriend but there is no bitterness. Not any more, at least. Agreed, I lashed out at him in print but that's because he had made some unflattering statements. I just wanted to set the record straight, once and for all, which I did. Now as a rule, I refuse to discuss Akshay Kumar in print. Yes I was there for his father's chautha. In fact, I spent the day at his house. That's because I don't hold grudges against anybody. We were seeing each other at one point, so tomorrow if he needs me as a friend I'll always be there for him. That's the way I am. And when we come face-to-face also we are civil though people expect the contrary. Why I even say 'Hi' to Shilpa when I meet her. Both, Akshay and I are thorough professionals and, of course, it goes without saying that I'll be there for him, as a friend, if he's going through a bad patch."
You've patched up with ex-foe Karisma Kapoor, also haven't you? Also not to mention Sanjay Kapoor, who was miffed with you for turning down Sushmita's role in 'Sirf Tum.'
"Yes, Lotto and I have been in touch. We went on a tour abroad for a show, even Akshay was there and we had a great time. No bad vibes, whatsoever. I guess we have all grown up and buried the past. Looking back, everything seemed so petty. Why recently, when I was shooting at Filmstaan, I dropped in on Lolo's sets. We had a great time chatting and catching up on the latest gossip. As for Sanjay, I knew he was upset with me over 'Sirf Tum.' He knew my reasons for turning down the film, I was at a stage in my career when I was saying no to second leads (I hade had enough of such roles). I explained my predicament to Sanjay, though he did talk about it I print. I was very hurt when he did that, but then we've sorted out the problem since then. All said and done, Sanjay is a friend and he'll always be one."
What about Salman Khan? One hears you've patched up with the superbrat too.
"There was a time when Salman and I couldn't see eye to eye. This was during our 'Pathar ke Phool' days. I guess, we have both matured since then and every thing's back to normal. I am doing films with him. Ketan Desai's 'Yeh Hai Jalwa' with Sanjay and Salman. And Shyam Bajaj's film. Recently, we had a fabulous time when we shot together. He was really sweet; we even sat and rehearsed our scenes for hours on end. I must say, I am glad that I've sorted out my problem with him. Salman is a nice guy, misunderstood, but a nice guy all the same.
What do you have to say about the new set of heroines like Ash, Rani and Preity?
"They are terrific. And no, before you ask me, I am not at all insecure. There was a time when Juhi and Madhuri were ruling the roost and we (Karisma, Manisha and I) were being talked about. So you see it's a cycle. Everybody goes through these phases. Today it is Ash, Preity and Rani. Tomorrow there will be a new set of heroines. So where's the question of being insecure. I am beyond all this. All I want is to do good work and be left alone. Work gives me the greatest high and as long as I have film makers lining up for me with the kind of roles I want to do, I don't really give a thought to any thing else. Right now if you ask me, life is beautiful. And I know it's going to be that way for a long, long time to come."
What more does this single, bright actress have to say about life?
"Live and let live. Right now I'm having a blast being single. Work is top priority. I eat, breathe, and sleep films these days. A broken relationship has not affected my lust for life. I'm still a sucker for sob stories, still the old emotional fool. My friends tell me I'm extra sensitive and that I'm too loyal. Loyalty doesn't pay, they say. But then, big deal, I'm not broke as yet! Ha, ha, ha."
For more, get your copy of Filmfare Magazine today.
Do you have any thoughts on this? Feel free to send us an e-mail @ Feedback.