Raveena Tandon turns a talk-show host with Issi Ka Naam Zindagi that celebrates the lives of achievers.
How is your talk-show going to be different from the ones we have seen so far?
Most of the shows have been in the question and answer format. Some have been controversial while some have been sensational. However,Issi Ka Naam Zindagi is about achievers in different fields including films,sports and business. The show is a celebration of their lives. There wont be anything negative. Also,what gives the show an extra edge is discovering the person behind the star. Audiences will get to see how the star is with his/her parents,spouse and among friends. We will go through their highs and lows,their struggle and triumph.
Will you be inviting the celebrity guests near and dear ones on the show?
Yes,there are surprise elements like that.
Isnt it like Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai,which NDTV had produced earlier?
I would not say so.
What prompted you to host a talk-show?
So far,I have only been judging shows,I guess it was time for me to host one! (Laughs). Also,while judging all you have to do is sit pretty,wearing the best outfits and sparkling jewellery,criticise the contestants and get paid for it! Jokes apart,three years ago,Prannoy (Roy of NDTV) and I had discussed the idea of doing a talk show but unfortunately it didnt work out. This time,when the offer came to me I immediately accepted. I like the people-to-people connect on the show. It is challenging to draw the guests out,especially,when they answer in monosyllables.
The fact that you know most of the celebs on the show must be a huge plus.
Thats the good part. I know exactly what the celebs are talking about and they cant get away like they do on other shows. (Laughs)
Of the episodes that you have shot so far,which has been memorable?
We have had fabulous moments on every episode. When Vidyas (Balan) parents came on the show,her father became emotional recalling the struggle his daughter had faced in her professional life before becoming such a big star. It was amazing that a talented actor like her had to face so much rejection in the initial days of her career. We also had a lot of secrets between us which I cannot share with you! As far as Ajay Devgn is concerned,he is usually perceived to be a private,conservative person who keeps to himself. But here he was opening up,joking and laughing with Kajol and his kids. He came across as a warm,fun- loving family man. Then theres Irrfan,who has this image of being a serious,realistic actor. We got him to do a Rajasthani dance for us!
How was the experience of shooting with Madhur Bhandarkar whose film Satta got you the National Award?
Both Madhur and I have kind of grown together. We used to hang out with each other as friends,then we went our ways,got married,and now when we met,it was like long-lost friends. It was nice to meet his family. We all know about his struggle in the industry but not many are aware that when he was a kid of seven years he used to steal his mothers sarees and hang them like a screen. He had a hand-made projector too. He would sell tickets worth 25 paise each to his friends telling them he would show them a film! He was meant to be a director.
Besides this show,you are doing a film Shobhana 7 Nights. Tell us about your role in the film.
Its an absolutely challenging role. I am allergic to cigarettes,but in this film I am smoking throughout. My throat aches and my eyes water – look at what we have to do for the love of acting! The role,however,is fabulous. Its a complex character,neither white nor black. Initially,my character is shown as the victim of domestic violence where you feel sympathetic towards her and later she turns into this monster. With her character,you will be constantly sitting on the fence you will never know when she will be vulnerable and when she will punch you in the face!
There are times when I tell myself,I hope I have made the right choice by playing this role.
Buzz is that your character is based on Shobhaa De.
You will have to ask the director that. As far as I am concerned,the only similarity is that my character is a beautiful and glamourous novelist. The only woman who fits that description is Shobhaa De.
So,this would really be your comeback film though you have been part of Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap too.
That film was done as a favour. I did not want to be a part of it but some friends like David Dhawan and Ram Mukerji persuaded me to do it. It was just a guest appearance.
You are also doing a film called Gin Liya Aasmaan. What is that about?
Its a childrens film with a beautiful mother-son story. Its about a woman who loses her husband but doesnt have the guts to tell her son that because she herself is not ready to accept it.
What is your take on the kind of films being made today?
Its a great change from the time when the heroine used to have five scenes and the rest of the film would comprise maar-dhaad. There would be no head or tail to it. Today the audience has awakened to intelligent cinema. The film is the hero.
Any film that you would have liked to be a part of like say The Dirty Picture?
Not really,though I enjoyed watching The Dirty Picture,Delhi Belly and Agneepath. Incidentally,I was to be a part of The Dirty Picture but the role was chopped so much that I would have had little to do in it!