Raveena Tandon, one of the leading actresses from the 90s, returns to films after a hiatus. The stylish and self-assured actress who was last seen in a cameo in Anurag Kashyap’s flick ‘Bombay Velvet’ makes a comeback with a gritty tale of revenge titled ‘Maatr’ In a freewheeling chat with IBNS-TWF correspondent Mohnish Singh, the actress opens up about her character in the film and lots more.
How did this film happen?
I have been offered many films and roles in the past. But I didn’t come across anything as challenging or interesting as ‘Maatr’. One is always in search of challenging roles. I wanted to do films which had the subject I believed in, make a difference and touch me somewhere in my heart. While I heard Maatr’s’ script, I started crying during the narration itself. I felt that it’s high time a film like it should come. So, I took up this role. The film talks about what is not right with our society. We are equally to be blamed for our lawmakers not taking action. Either we succumb to such situations (rapes) happening around us or raise our voice against it.
Nowadays, almost every second celebrity is coming up with their autobiographies. You yourself have lived a very eventful life like most of the top stars. So, don’t you ever think of writing down your autobiography?
I have been approached to pen down my autobiography. But I have this problem of telling the truth (laughs). If I write my autobiography, many people would run and hide somewhere.
You took a very bold step in your life when you adopted two daughters at 21yrs of age. What was the motivation behind taking that decision?
There were many people who came and questioned me about my decision. They asked who would marry me now. But that question never came to my mind. Adopting those two girls was a no-brainer. When we brought the girls, who were my cousin’s children, they were part of the family. From then they are my family and my parents took care of them. My mom has also been a strong factor in my life.
There was a time in 90’s where you would do 30 films at a stretch. How did you manage to mouth the dialogues?
I actually could do it with ease.
It has been learnt that you were very disturbed while you were shooting for Maatr…
The worst part is that after doing the scene I had to dub it too. One can’t imagine the pain the victim’s families go through after the horrendous incident. So definitely it was very difficult for me to dub and enact the scene. We felt it for the time being, but it is a lifelong punishment for the victims and the families as they have to live this everyday as it has happened in reality.
How according to you should the rapist be punished?
Firstly, I will change the laws which are 70yrs old. We are living in a very dangerous world. The culprits are roaming around like free birds. It’s only in our country that 18-years-old is considered minor, while in other countries they have decreased the age to 14 to 15 yrs. Laws have changed but the intensity is nowhere to be seen. There should be degrees of murder according to the brutality of the crime.
The parliament speaker and many other powerful women are members of parliament. Do you think it will turn out to be beneficial if the film is shown to them?
Yes, it has to be shown to them. I strongly believe Maneka Gandhiji is a very strong woman. I still believe there is a lot of work to be done to improve the condition of women in our society, in our country. We cannot blame the government solely and it’s also our responsibility. Only celebrities’ problems are addressed but what about the other people who are just ignored by us?
How much do you take back from the character you portray on-screen?
I think, as an actor in my forties, life has taught me a lot. I identify with the character that I play because my daughter herself is 12 yrs old. I fear for her and my adopted daughters as well. Why are you helping create this dangerous world? You need to be the change yourselves. One cannot live in constant fear. As a woman I feel we can experience varied emotions.