People who grew up in the 1990s will remember the advertisements for Maggi Hot and Sweet Sauce starring Jaaved Jaaferi and Pankaj Kapur. One of which featured this very entertaining line about the joys of having a colour TV: “Channel One — London, Channel Do — Raveena Tandon.”
I’m smiling at the memory of it as I sit before Raveena Tandon now, in 2019, as we talk of her 28-year film career and what it meant to be an actress in the ’90s. She is strikingly beautiful, disarmingly candid, naming names, airing opinions and girlishly voluble, but with an uncommon ability to pay attention to questions and really think about them before responding.
“Although I came from a film family, I guess we were very non-filmi. My mother sent me to school with oil in my hair for years, and people would mock me, calling me ‘vernie’ (vernacular) or ‘behenji’ (dork) or be like, ‘Your dad works in Hindi films? Eww!’” We laugh because as part of a certain generation, we remember acutely a time when any Bollywood love you had, had to remain firmly in the closet, and public life and coolness was all about acting as if you only liked ‘English’ movies and ‘English’ music.
“Acting wasn’t really in my plans as such. I was studying and thinking of doing the IPS exam, or becoming a pilot. But I was in the middle of an internship with