Raveena Tandon talks about the trend of surrogacy that is sweeping B’wood, her return to showbiz and choosing activism over politics
After being away from the limelight for a long time, ’90s diva Raveena Tandon is gearing for her Maatr. Known for her social activism almost as much as her iconic roles in movies like Paththar Ke Phool and Andaaz Apna Apna, the actress had been on a hiatus after her cameo in Bombay Velvet. However, the theme of her upcoming feature Maatr is such that she felt compelled to take up the film. In a candid interview, she speaks about her film, being a mother to three daughters, the joys of adoption and more. Edited excerpts:
You adopted two daughters when you were not even married. Today, when you see more and more celebrities opting for adoption and surrogacy, how do you look at it?
I advise adoption over surrogacy. I believe that making someone a part of your life through adoption provides a deeper sense of gratification. It might be your own selfish need to find happiness but I feel so proud when I see my girls and what they have made of their lives. Of course, you can go ahead and have biological kids, but to adopt a child is the greatest gift that you can give to any child.
You are married to Anil Thadani, who is a distributor. Your film Maatr is clashing with his film Noor at the box office. How do you keep that from affecting your personal relationship?
My husband and I don’t mix our professional and personal lives, though we definitely value each other’s opinion. He does his thing; I do mine. Reliance is releasing my film and Anil is releasing Noor at the same time. But there was no conflict, as such. He asked me if he should watch my film and I actually asked him not to, since it will leave him too disturbed. He is a very sensitive man so I would rather he didn’t watch it.
More and more actresses are making their comeback with powerful roles. Is there any one specific actress whose work you have enjoyed?
Sridevi has evolved so amazingly. I really loved English Vinglish and now Mom. I have always been a huge fan of hers and I love her work. As far as the comparison of my upcoming film with her film Mom is concerned, I feel there is no comparison.
There was a time when you used to do full-fledged commercial films then you suddenly shifted ad started doing content-driven films. Why this sudden shift?
As an actor and as a person, you start growing and you begin to realise that you want your life to be more than the next hit. One day, I was sitting in a square in Mauritius and it suddenly hit me that I did not want to continue to do only commercially driven films. I wanted to grow and evolve and challenge myself. That is why I attempted films like Shool, Satta and Daman. I am those few lucky ones who have been successful in commercial and in realistic cinema.
Since you have such a strong opinion on various social issues did you ever think of joining politics?
I know that we all think that should try and become the change. There are times when I think that one must become part of the system to bring about change from the inside. Otherwise, the same kind of people will be elected and we will have only ourselves to blame. But then, there is a second voice within me that says I am better as an activist so that I live free and talk free and I am not scared of anyone. I have had offers to join politics many times but I have never said yes.
Why did you say yes to Maatr?
The theme of Maatr is an issue very close to my heart because my blood boils every time I read in the papers about some woman being violated. I met Nirbhaya’s mother she told me that it’s only for a short time that anyone bothers when someone is raped. Then its just back to business until the next horrific rape happens.
You are a mother of three daughters. Is there a constant fear within you when they step out?
I have never told them to be timid. In fact, I have asked them to fight back. I am a complete tiger mom. What kind of a dangerous world are we bringing to our future generations? Are we supposed to walk in this fear all the time? This has to change somewhere so I want to be the noise that makes that change.