'Hot is more of a mindset. If you think you're hot, you are hot!'
Raveena Tandon returns to the spotlight with Netflix's Web series, Aranyak.
The actress plays a cop for the first time in her career, and she tells Subhash K Jha just what makes it so different from the cop roles portrayed before: "Kasturi Dogra is not just a cop. She is also a mother and a wife, and she is struggling to balance her personal and professional life."
You have never played a cop before. What do you think of the way female cops are played in our films and serials, like Shefali Shah in Delhi Crime and Mita Vashisht in Your Honour. How did you approach the part?
The two examples you've given are two brilliant portrayals of female cops on screen and two shows that I've really liked.
Both these women are great actresses and I have enjoyed their performances.
But the thing with the role I play, Kasturi Dogra is not just a cop. She is also a mother and a wife, and she is struggling to balance her personal and professional life.
The job that police women do is commendable.
They effortlessly handle their home and work, the mental and physical, with smiles on their faces.
There is a fundamental difference between the roles you mentioned and the one I play.
What is that?
Unlike Delhi Crime, my cop role in Aranyak is a fictional character so I could add my own flavour to it.
I have always related to strong female characters, who are talented, determined, ambitious and go-getters and Kasturi Dogra is all of that. It was a joy to play her.
What made you say yes to Aranyak?
As I mentioned before, I have a penchant for playing strong, female characters.
If you've seen my previous work, be it Ram Gopal Varma's Shool, Kalpana Lajmi's Daman or Ashtar Sayed's Matr, all of these are stories of extremely strong women, who don't let anything stand in the way of what they want.
Was it a cop's grit that attracted you to the character?
When I read the script of Aranyak and got to know my character Kasturi, I was instantly drawn to her.
Also I must tell you, I really like crime thrillers.
I am guilty of binge-watching crime dramas myself, hence when I was approached with a whodunit crime drama like Aranyak, I knew I had to say yes.
Not many know that you and the producers of Aranyak, the Sippys, go back a long way.
That's right. I made my debut with Sippy Films' Patthar Ke Phool almost 30 years ago.
I also did the film Zamana Deewana with Shah Rukh Khan, which Ramesh Sippy directed.
Aranyak felt just right.
Plus, the amazing team and Netflix was an added bonus.
How did you prepare for your character?
Kasturi is this pahadi cop, who's dealing with a crisis at hand. Hence, there's this sense of urgency in the (dialogue) delivery. Very little makeup has more to do with the character than with the acting style.
So yes, these were a part of my preparation in playing Kasturi Dogra.
My preparation also included getting the feel and the pahadi accent right.
Do you think the future of our cinema is the OTT? How different was it shooting for this as compared with feature films?
I don't know if it is the future but it is definitely the present.
With OTT, a lot more avenues for content, talent and actors have opened up, so it's definitely revolutionizing the industry in a positive way.
I think streaming platforms have also created opportunities for newer stories and roles. They also take the content to audiences globally.
You will be seen in KGF 2 soon. Are you looking forward to that? Do you see a shift in the way female heroes are projected in our films?
I'm obviously looking forward to KGF 2 and would love to see the audiences' reaction to that as well.
And yes, there definitely is a shift.
There is women-led content.
Women are not just romantic interests in stories, they have their own journeys, struggles and arcs.
The industry has seen a lot of positive change in the last decade, which is great, and I am certain it will only get better.
In Aranyak, audiences will meet the ambitious pahadi cop, Kasturi, witness her challenges and her journey.
So yes, there's still a good distance to go, but change is definitely happening, especially when global platforms like Netflix come up with more and more women-led content.
How do you manage to squeeze in movie assignments while looking after a home and two children?
That's the thing about us women; balance is key for us.
Also, I am lucky to have an extremely supportive family.
My husband and children have always supported and pushed me forward to achieve my dreams.
So with a little planning, balancing out work and a lot of love from my family and audience, I do what I do and hopefully do it well.
At this juncture in your career, what is the criteria to accept a film?
The story has to make sense.
It has to be engaging, something I'd be willing to watch.
Secondly, it has to align with my beliefs.
Apart from that, I'm open to all opportunities.
And now, the question everyone wants to ask: How do you manage to look so hot after so many years?
Firstly, Thank you! That's very kind.
Secondly, hot is more of a mindset. If you think you're hot, you are hot!
So just love yourself, be proud of who you are and take care of yourself.
That's the ultimate secret.