Raveena Tandon talks about her OTT debut with ‘Aranyak’

Raveena Tandon is known to be quite adept at reinventing herself throughout her 30-year career. Since making her debut in GP Sippy’s “Patthar Ke Phool” in 1991, she has surprised her admirers and critics by making U-turns at regular intervals.

At the peak of her career, while still at the forefront of mainstream commercial cinema with her ultra-glamorous actress image in the late 1990s, she signed “Shool” (1999) to make a simple woman. at the Bihari Home and went on to win the National Award for Best Actress in ‘Daman’ (2001) where she plays the victim of domestic violence and marital rape.

Now, as the 47-year-old actress forays into a new area with her debut in a web series, “Aranyak” on Netflix, Raveena believes that today’s actresses, tall as they are, are reluctant to get out of their comfort zone. She wonders if either of them would make the kind of career choice she made in her prime.

“I see so many actresses who are considered really great today, but they only make movies in their comfort zone,” Raveena told Outlook in an exclusive interview. “They play themselves most of the time in every movie and I don’t know if a majority of them could ever play the kind of roles that I have played.”

She says she wanted to step out of her comfort zone after being called the industry’s “mast-mast girl”. “There was a point where as an actor you did the same kind of movies and similar roles and all of a sudden you start thinking when am I really going to grow up? When will I evolve as an actor? Is this what I’m limited to? When can I start pushing my limits? ” she says. “These questions were constantly on my mind as I made a conscious effort to try and play different roles and the audience accepted me.”

Raveena says she played all kinds of roles, from “Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare” (2002) to portraying a middle-class Bihari housewife in “Shool”, to singing “Kammo Kidhar” in “Ziddi” (1997) to portraying a hardcore politician in ‘Satta’ (2003), from playing a negative glamorous role in ‘Aks’ (2001) to playing a victim of domestic violence and marital rape in ‘Daman’. “Before, I liked to choose different characters,” she says.

Now she’s excited about her role in “Aranyak” and explains why she chose it as her first adventure in the OTT space. “I was offered a lot of web shows before Aranyak came to me, but if you see the kind of scripts I’ve chosen over the years, there’s still a strong, subtle, and mature message in every. character that I have. done so far, ”she said.

In “Aranyak”, Raveena plays a policewoman called Kasturi Dogra, a character she says is dear to her heart. “It hit me when I heard the script. It was a big check mark in the box on the list I made for myself. It was something I expected. The character relates to all women. who dream of achieving the best in their career while facing various constraints and constraints in their personal and professional life, ”she said.

Raveena admits that she could be one of the lucky few who come from a family that has supported her decisions and has always been there to support her emotionally to help her achieve and excel in the career path that she is. chose. “But there are so many Kasturi Dogras in real life who aren’t fortunate enough to have that kind of support,” she says.

Raveena says that despite her different background, she could easily identify with Kasturi Dogra’s ambition, drive and zeal to work hard and be successful and excel in her career. “Believe me, when I heard the script, I felt completely in love with Kasturi Dogra,” she says. “There are so many true Kasturi Dogras out there who need the support of their families to be successful. ”

From the role of a cop’s wife in “Shool” to portraying a cop herself now, Raveena says that the cinema, especially after the advent of OTT platforms, has ushered in many positive changes when it comes to female characters. “It brought world cinema into our homes and also broadened the horizons of viewers who are ready to see experimental stuff,” she says. “A lot of perceptions have also changed and more and more blockbuster female-led shows are airing on platforms like Netflix. It’s not always the male bravado you see on screen. Today, you see different storyteller shows that mean it differently, not the regular formula stuff. ”

Incidentally, Raveena collaborated with the third generation of Sippys of ‘Sholay’ (1975). After starting with GP Sippy’s “Pathar Ke Phool”, she did “Zamana Deewana” (1995) with her director son Ramesh Sippy. Now she is filming “Arayank” with Ramesh’s son, producer Rohan Sippy. When reminded of her, she laughs saying that it makes her feel very old. “Life has come full circle, but honestly I think it was great to learn from such a great production house and also that even Siddharth Roy Kapur (co-producer) joined hands for “Aranyak”, “she said. “It was like working in a family atmosphere with all the co-actors during times of a pandemic.”

When told that “Aranyak” is called the first Raveena 2.O movie, she says that OTT is a different platform from cinema. “Fortunately the word return is not used. I think life has turned a full circle,” she says. “I debuted with“ Patthar Ke Phool ”in 1991 and now of course in 2021, “Aranyak” is my debut on the OTT platform. ”

Raveena, however, says she’s open to more offers in the future. “Everyone knows my background, I take my time choosing movies. I was offered a lot of shows before ‘Aranyak’ but somehow they didn’t make that impression on me. The character of Kasturi Dogra had something that I really wanted to play, ”she says. “If something happens to me that touches my heart again, I certainly won’t say no.”

About Monty S. Maynard

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