Prerna SM Jain

Raveena Tandon is an actor who requires no introduction. One recognises her all too well for her role in the ’90s comedy classic Andaz Apna Apna.
She made her acting debut in the film Patthar Ke Phool and is the daughter of film director Ravi Tandon. She played lead roles in some of the highest grossing films of their time. She has been part of memorable films, notably, Mohra, Laadla, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Ziddi, Ghulam-E-Mustafa, Shool, Daman, Satta and more recently, Maatr. Tandon has also been a part of the television series Sahib Biwi Gulam. She has been a talent judge on various reality dance shows and has hosted talk shows Isi Ka Naam Zindagi and Simply Baatien With Raveena. Her upcoming film is Prashanth Neel’s KGF: Chapter 2, co-starring Yash and Sanjay Dutt.
Apart from being an accomplished actor, Tandon has also set an example with her outlook towards motherhood and through her inspiring acts of compassion. She had adopted two girls when she was just 21 years old – all by herself. Today, her adopted daughters, Pooja and Chhaya, are doing well for themselves. Tandon married the film distributor Anil Thadani, and Pooja and Chhaya were a part of the celebrations. She then had two biological children with Thadani (Rasha and Ranbirvardhan). She is a member of PETA and has worked with several NGOs.
In an interview with the gorgeous actor, Prerna SM Jain asked her about the current Covid-19 lockdown and how she and her family were coping with it.

How did your tryst with films begin?
Many don’t believe this, but I never wanted to become an actor initially. But when destiny wants something to happen it eventually happens. After finishing my Class 10th exams, I did an internship with Prahlad Kakkar and had some modelling projects before that. I remember during my internship, people used to ask me what was I doing behind the cameras, and why was I not acting in front of them.

What were the major obstacles and how did you overcome them?
Obstacles and ups & downs are in every career. It’s never a joyride or a bed of roses. So, one has to be tough and fight it out. One has to keep the head above the water, literally. When a child learns to walk, he or she falls many a time, but he [eventually] learns to walk. So that should be the philosophy: there will be many ups and downs but we have to be mentally strong to overcome them.

Which role was the closest to you?
It has to be in the film Daman. It’s a film very close to my heart and I even bagged the National Award for the same. It was truly wonderful.

You have set an example with your family structure; would you like to tell us what a wonderful experience that has been, especially during the lockdown?
As a mother, despite the tragedies that are unfolding around us, and it is almost like doom settling in, somewhere we have to look for positivity. As a mother you have to be positive, you’ve to look at the silver lining, because those are exactly the vibes you will pass down to your children. You need to give them hope and encouragement and that aura radiates. The silver lining for the children is that they don’t have to wake up early in the morning and go to school. They’re very happy to be at home but their screen time has increased, which is a sad thing. We are having our meals together, working out together, playing games and spending time together. I’m getting all the time in the world to teach them simpler things of life like cooking, making your own beds, washing some of their own clothes, how to help in the kitchen, how to peel the vegetables. This is a wholesome education which I feel we have got a chance to do with home schooling.

How has the Covid- 19 lockdown impacted the film industry?
I think shoots and sets were majorly affected, but thanks to OTT platforms we are able to release films which initially had a theatrical release planned. I think there’s a positive to every negative situation. Every artist thrives on appreciation and recognition, so the fans, well-wishers and people are what make us. The society gives everything, be it name, fame, or the kind of privileges we have. It’s all given to us by the people, so it’s something all of us under lockdown are missing. I tell people, this too shall pass, and we will all bounce back stronger and more resilient. Till the time people can’t go to the theatres, the magic of cinema will be missing for a while. But yes, this too shall pass.

How have you been utilising your time during this lockdown?
We try to find innovative things to do, like my daughter has started painting again, so we get canvases and she paints. My son is in into robotics, so he has been making interesting things and doing coding. I, too, am enjoying these things as earlier we wouldn’t get time to do all this. But now we all sit together. We have been playing Pictionary, Articulate, and it’s been a great bonding time. There’s a silver lining to this all, this valuable time we have with our families. I don’t think it’s ever going to come back again. I’m also spending a lot of time with my pets, so everything keeps me busy.

Any suggestions for any books/ films for our readers?
I have been reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies in this lockdown. I have just started reading a new book by Amish Tripathi that is called Suheldev. I have also read Room by Emma Donoghue, which was also very interesting. Though the movie on the book is out, I like the book better. Then there are my favorite reads which I keep going back to. I reread them in case I’m bored. I am trying to catch up with movies which are now releasing on OTT platforms. But a movie that I really like, that has really touched me, and was an eye-opener, was a docudrama called ‘The Cave’. It’s about this young female doctor who is working in an underground hospital in Syria and she is treating the children who are injured, through the bomb blasts, through chemical warfare that is happening to the innocent citizens of Syria. I felt a sense of anguish to think that how could anyone do this to their own people. So that was really an amazing film to watch, especially the young female doctor, she in a misogynistic society and against all odds trying to save and work for these little children, putting her own life in danger. It was an amazing watch.

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