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The Rediff Interview
'Experiments can fail. But what the heck, I'm trying'
Subhash K Jha | February 03, 2003
February is a crucial month for Raveena Tandon. She has two releases -- in the political drama Satta, she pretty much holds centrestage; Stumped is special not only because it combines cricket with war, it is also produced by Raveena.
A fatigued Raveena takes time off for a quick tete-a-tete with Subhash K Jha:
Four heroine-centric films -- Satta, Khushi, Baaz, Kaash... Aap Hamare Hote -- lined up for February 7!
Yes, obviously there has to be a market for heroine-oriented films. Otherwise why would filmmakers risk their money?
I feel it is a healthy trend. It gives us girls a chance to do more than shake a leg and shed a tear.
But yes, when I am the pivotal character I am definitely more tense about how the film will perform. In Daman or Satta, the credit or discredit goes to me.
By the way, Khushi [starring Kareena Kapoor and Fardeen Khan] is not entirely a heroine-oriented film. Baaz too isn't completely Karisma's [Kapoor] film. It has three well-known leading men.
Sattahas no leading man. So it is a bigger challenge for me than the other films are for other leading ladies. Karisma is lucky. She had Hrithik Roshan supporting her pivotal part in Fiza when he was the hottest one going.
How strong is the political statement in Satta?
It shows how an ordinary citizen can fight corruption. Another valid point raised by the film is how many of us really vote. We talk about dacoits and goons becoming our leaders. But we don't exercise our democratic right. That is why we sometimes get corrupt leaders.
We cannot separate Chandni Bar from Tabu. Can we say the same about you and Satta?
I hope so. But no film at this point of my career can make or unmake me. I'm no longer in the race to be No 1. I'm happy with my space. There will be hits and misses, failures, goof-ups.
The gossip magazines say you have stolen Madhur Bhandarkar away from Tabu.
Ha ha, good one. Ours is a strictly professional relationship. He is a friend and director. All these phony linkups don't help a film.
I tease him, calling him a ladies man because he is the kind of director who enhances an actress' performance. That kind of sensitivity in a man is very unusual.
If Satta has to run, it will on its own merits.
How was Atul Kulkarni as a costar?
Atul is a fantastic human being and one of the most brilliant actors I have worked with. He never overdoes it like theatre actors sometimes do. Atul knows where to draw the line.
Then there is newcomer Sameer Dharamadhikari, who plays a politician's son who I marry in the first half.
I also like Raju Singh's songs. When Madhur went to him with Chandni Bar, he said, "Aisa music do ke lage gaane hi gaane hain." For Satta, Madhur's brief to Raju was, "Aisa music do ke picture mein lage nahin ke gaane hain."
Sattawas never meant to be a musical. Given that, Raju has done a good job.
Stumpedis so well-timed.
We pushed its release ahead by two weeks. Satta's producers didn't want Stumped to release on the same day. Honestly, the release during the World Cup is just a coincidence.
When Gaurab Pandey came to us with a script, he wanted to make a quickie. A film like Stumped doesn't need much time. We finished the film in three months.
Actually, Gaurab had come to just sign me as an actress. But when I sounded the idea out to a few friends, we decided to produce this film. My first production is Pehchan, directed by Shrabani Deodhar. Stumped was just completed first.
Are you happy with Stumped?
I'm the kind who is never happy . No matter what it is I always find room for improvement.
How did you get Salman Khan to do a guest appearance?
There is a song in the film that suited him perfectly. It is a song about life and its ironies. To be honest, neither Satta nor Stumped needed songs and music. But when we recorded a good soundtrack album everyone suggested we create credible situations for songs .
I had always heard Salman was a yaaron ka yaar. He proved it. When I asked him to do the song he didn't ask details. He just agreed. Usually when people ask us to do one song, we want to hear it first. He didn't even hear it. We got him for a day and shot the song.
But you had also done a guest appearance in Kahin Pyar No Ho Jaye at Salman's request.
Yes. But how many people remember, let alone return a favour? The song has turned out well. And there is already so much hype about Stumped. We don't need any USPs. But having Salman in Stumped is really cool.
And what do you do in Stumped?
I sing and dance (laughs). The film does revolve around me. I am the armyman's wife waiting for her husband to return from war while the rest of the building is bathed in joy. But Stumped is more about characters than stars. It is set in a middle class milieu, their hopes and dreams and, of course, their love for cricket.
How does the release of Satta and Stumped make you feel?
Very scared . They are experimental. But I'm okay with that. I'm fed up of doing run-of-the-mill stuff.
Every experiment doesn't have to succeed. But what the heck, at least I'm trying.
People will love or hate Satta and Stumped. But they cannot ignore them.