Raveena Tandon, the only actor this year to receive the fourth highest Civilian award — Padma Shri 2023 for her contribution in the field of Art. Raveena is a personality to reckon with both in the world of cinema and society at large. She is also known for her social activities, especially working towards the betterment of children and girl child. She wishes to make this country a better place to live in for the next generation. Being the former Chairperson for Children’s’ Film Society, the KGF 2 star continues her efforts towards children’s welfare. During this conversation, she also shares her experiences of being a mother at an early age and legally adopting children, how has she evolved as an individual, her various social activities, films and much more. Excerpts:
Congratulations for the Padma Shri award. What would you like to say?
I feel truly honoured; this year has been excellent for me. However, in the past having performed in films like Satta, Aks, Daman and Shool, I have won the National Award as well. Alongside I have also been lucky to have won accolades for festival films as well. This was possible only because I was lucky to have been associated with meaningful films. It’s truly an honour being in this industry for so many years. My work has been appreciated and recognised this year with winning awards for KGF and Aranyak. It feels great. Both my commercial films as well art films have found their place. It feels satisfying to note that my performances have been recognised in these films. I feel maybe my body of work is coming full circle. Till date people remember all my songs and remember my contribution to cinema and my performances.
You also made a film titled Maatr? What was going on in your mind then?
During my Nirbhaya activities, I was very disturbed. I wanted the victim to get justice through a fast track session. I am always concerned about the safety of girls and it is then I decided to make that film Maatr which won the National Award.
You are known to talk your heart our but you have never been rubbed the wrong way, how do you strike a balance?
I love my country and I am like any other citizen who has children. I am always looking forward to making our country a better place to live in, especially for the coming generation. I am as concerned as any other mother out there who wants to leave behind a beautiful and peaceful country, for her children. I am proud to be the citizen of this country. I tell people to try to be the change that you want to see in this Country. I unhesitatingly pour my heart and walk the talk whenever there is a need to do so. It’s not that I am just saying, I would like to participate and bring about that change for our coming generation.
You became a mother at a very young age with two adopted daughters. How has been this journey as a mother?
Well! I think I was the first to become a single mother at the age of 21. Legally it wasn’t allowed but I literally became the legal guardian and then I turned 21. I think it’s been the most gratifying experience to be a mother. It was an interesting and learning experience for me to shape and mould them as the responsible citizens of this country.
You were the Chairperson of the Children's Film Society of India for a short while and resigned in 2003. Do you still continue to encourage filmmakers to make Children’s films as an individual?
It was an honour to be the youngest chairperson of CFSI (Children’s’ Film Society). I wanted to do something in order to bring recognition to children’s films. I did it as it was quiet on the forefront. We did really well then. I remember, I started a festival, showing films which were already made under CFSI. My husband is a distributor and exhibitor so he booked theatres for us. I remember how we had travelled to different orphanages and municipal schools taking children to these theatres and screen films for them. That was the most gratifying and satisfying experience for me. Right now, I am not in CFSI. But on and off I keep doing something or the other for children. Unfortunately, I don’t know what activities CFSI is doing for them.
You have done regional films as well and have received recognition for them, what do you have to say?
I love to be working down South. I always had this ambition from my early career days that I will at least do one film in every language of our country. I have managed to do Bangla, Telugu, Tamil and Marathi films. Right now, I have not got anything to do in regional cinema. I am open to do anything good that comes my way.
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