“I’ve always tried to do films which have social relevance”

Actor Raveena Tandon says she has always tried to pick socially relevant stories with strong female characters and the Padma Shri award is a recognition for her body of work in cinema.
The actor, who was recently conferred with the Padma Shri , India’s fourth-highest civilian award, starred in critically-acclaimed movies like “Maatr”, “Satta”, and “Daman” in her over three-decade long career.
Tandon, whose filmography boasts of commercial entertainers as well as off-beat movies in the ’90s and early 2000s, said her endeavour has always been to associate with films that speak of women empowerment.
“I have done films which have a social relevance, and have a message of women empowerment. My choices have always been like that. Whether it is ‘Jaago’, ‘Maatr’, ‘Satta’, ‘Shool’ or ‘Daman’ . All these films have dealt with issues of women that were strong,” the actor told in an interview here.
“The reaction mostly on my Twitter was: ‘this was long overdue’ because there are younger actors, who came after me, like Priyanka (Chopra) and a lot of them, who got awards much before I did. It (award) is an accumulation of my work,” she added.
Tandon most recently starred in Netflix show “Aranyak” and “KGF: Chapter 2”. The actor believes female artists have better opportunities than they had in the ’90s, an era dominated by male stars.
“There was always a struggle. According to me, the 90s was male dominated, whether it was media or movies, what the hero said, happened,” she said, adding that over the years things have changed for the better.
“Today there is a positive change, women are at the forefront, whether as director or producer or as heads of programming in OTT or in the TV industry. I am very positive that things will become better in every way, including pay parity.” Over the years, the actor said, she has realised that acting is a craft that one never stops learning.
“I still don’t think I am a successful actor because acting is something that you are learning every day, you are evolving every day. The day you think, ‘I know it all and I have learnt it all’, I think that it is the beginning of the end.” Tandon, 48, said even now she gets “butterflies” in her stomach before a difficult shot.
“That feeling is good because it makes you give your best.” The actor said receiving the fourth-highest civilian award from President Droupadi Murmu was a moment of pride for her and her family.
“I was just very thankful and grateful. What made my day was receiving (the honour) from the President herself and very sweetly she said, ‘I am so happy to give you this award, I have seen all your work’,” Tandon recalled.
“She was so humble, sweet and kind. I told her ‘I am honoured to receive the award from you’. And the minute I took the award and turned and looked I could see my husband, my son and daughter beaming,” the actor added.
Tandon’s upcoming slate of films include Arbaaz Khan-backed social drama “Patna Shukla” and romantic-comedy “Gudchadhi” with Sanjay Dutt.