Raveena Tandon's film career has been nothing short of a fairy tale. While she has been in the industry for over 26 years, it feels like yesterday when she made her debut with the 1991 G.P. Sippy film 'Patthar Ke Phool' starring opposite Salman Khan. The film is best known for the song Kabhi Tu Chhaliya Lagta Hai which pays homage to classic Bollywood films. That year, Raveena went on to win the Filmfare Award for Lux New Face of the Year. After that, she had to wait for a couple of years before Mohra (1994) and Dilwale (1994) took the box-office by storm. The songs Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast and Tip Tip Barsa Pani from Mohra are popular even today. Raveena earned a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for Laadla which was also released in 1994. The same year, she also starred in Andaz Apna Apna, alongside Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, which went on to become a cult classic.
In 1996, Raveena delivered a major hit, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, starring opposite Akshay Kumar. The song Itna Mujhe Pata Hai, along with a couple of other songs from the film, went on to become a chartbuster. She delivered another hit, Ziddi, starring opposite Sunny Deol in 1997. The movie's highlight was the song Hum Tumse Na Kuch Keh Paye. Her 1998 blockbuster, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, was the second biggest hit of the year. The film also had Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda, and the song Kisi Disco Mein Jaaye remains a popular party number till date. The same year she starred opposite Govinda in another hit film, titled Dulhe Raja, best known for its peppy number, Ankhiyon Se Goli Mare.
Around the late-1990s and early 2000s, Raveena shifted her attention to more serious roles, proving her worth as an actress who could handle weighty subjects.
Around the late-1990s and early 2000s, Raveena shifted her attention to more serious roles, proving her worth as an actress who could handle weighty subjects. The transition was marked by the film National Award winning film Shool (1999) in which she starred opposite Manoj Bajpayee. Her performances in Bulandi (2000) and Aks(2001) won her great critical acclaim. The songs Yeh Raat and Aaja Gufaaon Mein Aa from Aks helped her reinvent her 'dancing diva' image. For Aks, Raveena also won the Filmfare Special Performance Award. But, it was her poignant performance as a woman subjected to domestic violence by an abusive husband in Kalpana Lajmi's Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence (2001) that won her the esteemed National Film Award for Best Actress. She went on to star in a number of critically acclaimed films such as Satta (2003) and Dobara (2004).
After her marriage to film distributor Anil Thandani in 2004, Raveena took a 10 year hiatus which ended with a cameo appearance in Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet (2015). Although the film was a box-office failure, Raveena received unqualified praise for her portrayal of a jazz singer. The song Mohabbat Buri Bimari became an instant hit. This was followed by Ashtar Sayed's Maatr wherein she played a rape victim. Her performance in the movie was widely praised by critics.
Raveena took a 10 year hiatus which ended with a cameo appearance in Anurag Kashyap's 'Bombay Velvet' (2015). She received unqualified praise for her portrayal of a jazz singer.
Raveena's forthcoming film is Shab, directed by the maverick filmmaker Onir, which is slated to release on 30 June. It is modern tale of romance revolving around four individuals thrown together by destiny, who must choose between love and ambition. In Shab, Raveena plays a fashion diva, married to a powerful industrialist. Dissatisfied with her marriage, she has an extramarital affair with a young model. The film's steamy number Musafir, featuring Raveena and Ashish Bisht, is already creating a buzz all around, having garnered over 1.6 million views on YouTube. The chemistry between the two actors is absolutely electrifying with Raveena looking sensuous as ever. She certainly has come a long way from Patthar Ke Phool's Kabhi Tu Chaliya Lagta Hai but her silver screen magic remains intact.
A version of this article was first published in A Potpourri of Vestiges.