Actor Raveena Tandon says she is elated that through Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the country, her work in both mainstream and independent cinema has been recognized. The actor, whose name was announced among the Padma awardees on the eve of the Republic Day, said 2023 has begun on a good note.
“It has been a year of awards for KGF 2 and Aranyak. But this (Padma Shri) was the best of all because this encapsulated my entire body of work. It encapsulates everything, the commercial successes, the songs that are so eternal that people remember,” Raveena told PTI.
The actor, who ruled the 90s cinema with hits such as Mohra, Dilwale and Dulhe Raja while also making a mark in off-beat movies such as Daman, Satta and Shool, made her successful streaming debut with Netflix series Aranyak in 2021. She also played an important role in KGF: Chapter 2. “It feels good that there are people watching and appreciating you. I thank everyone who has been with me on this journey and supported me throughout,” the actor she said.
The popularity of mainstream entertainers usually dominate an actor’s filmography, but Raveena feels “lucky” that her performance-oriented roles in Satta, Shool and Daman, for which she won the National Award for Best Actress, did not go unnoticed. “Huge commercial successes sometimes overshadow the body of work that you have done in realistic cinema because of the hit songs and films that people remember. I am so happy that an award like Padma Shri gives credit to the fact that I have done films like Satta, Daman, Matr and Shool.”
The actor said it was a struggle to fight stereotypes back and recalled how she had to convince Ram Gopal Varma to cast her in 1999 film Shool.
Raveena, who eventually played a Bihari housewife to Manoj Bajpayee’s character in the film, recalls Varma saying, “when I close my eyes, I can see you doing Aankhiyon Se Goli Maare”. “In the 90s, it was easy to get stereotyped. It was a conscious decision to start challenging myself as an actor. I was getting stuck in that stereotype, I had to break away from it. It was a conscious decision to stop signing glamorous roles.” Workwise, 2023 has many interesting projects in the pipeline for the actor.
She will be seen in Arbaaz Khan-backed social drama Patna Shukla, a romantic-comedy Gudchadhi with Sanjay Dutt and a show with Disney Hotstar.
“Gudchadhi is a sweet romantic-comedy, Patna Shukla, which is topical and relevant to the problems that we face in our society. Then I have a show that I am doing for Hotstar, which is a thriller, on Aranyak, I think the writing work is going on and soon we will be looking forward to KGF 3,” Raveena said.