Bollywood's 'Mast Mast' girl Raveena Tandon made her acting debut opposite Salman Khan in the 1991 film Patthar Ke Phool. Daughter of producer-director Ravi Tandon, the actress dabbled with different genres ranging from comedy to social issues, and was one of the most-sought after heroines in the 90s.
A National Film Award recipient, Raveena completes three decades in the film industry this year. In an interview with Hindustan Times, the Mohra actress opened up about her thirty-year journey and how she has managed to stay relevant over the years.
Raveena told the leading daily that she never aspired to become an actress as she was always conscious of people looking at her. The actress was quoted as saying, "I am in this industry by default, I never wanted to be an actress. I was a little plump, reserved kid who bit her nails, was always conscious of people looking at her. Even in the class, I was that, so I sat on the back bench. Fortunately for me, even in school I got lead roles, annual functions, the play we performed. It always worked for me strangely, I used to do it though I would be nervous."
Raveena revealed that initially, she wanted to venture into direction, but destiny had some other plans in store for her. She said that she started getting film offers when she joined to assist ad guru Prhlad Kakkar, howoever she turned them down as she wanted to complete her education.
"I think the metamorphism happened then. I joined Prahlad Kakkar (ad guru), he always told me I need to be on screen, I used to say no. I started getting offers, but I refused, keen to finish my education first. I got seven-eight offers before Patthar Ke Phool, like Jungle and Heer Ranjha. It's not that they weren't great films to be associated with, but I hadn't made up my mind. It was destiny that the makers spotted me in my first year of college. It wasn't that my dad (Ravi Tandon) influenced someone to take me into films, or pushed me. There's this nepotism debate today, which I think is ridiculous, things happened on their own for me. If I didn't have the face for it, I wouldn't have been discovered or got offers."
Speaking about how she landed her debut film, Raveena said that it was the makers of Patthar Ke Phool who approached her father to let her act in their film.
"The makers asked my father and said 'ghar ki bacchi hai, don't worry, everything will be taken care of'. The next day I went to college and told my friends 'guess what? I am doing a film with Salman Khan' All of them begged me 'say yes, just do it for us. We will come on set, take pictures, after that if you don't want to act in films, don't'! I did that exactly, and the rest is history," Raveena told the tabloid.
In the same interview, the actress also spoke about how journey in the film industry and said, "I feel there is a lot more in me yet to be tapped. In terms of my filmography,I was the only heroine who had a Dulhe Raja (1998) releasing at the same time as a Shool (1999), Aks at the same time as Daman (both 2001). Ghulam-e-Mustafa (1997), Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998) alongside. I think I managed to do some varied stuff and got accepted. I have no clue how I stayed relevant. I actually started experimenting pretty early. I started getting bored myself of what I was doing, and needed something that challenged myself as an actor. You need to grow, evolve, and that is what I always tried."
Raveena Tandon is currently awaiting the release of her upcoming film, Yash-starrer KGF Chapter 2. The film marks the diva's return to Kannada cinema after 21 years.