Raveena Tandon (born 26 October 1972) is an Indian actress known for her work in Hindi films. She is a recipient of several awards, including a National Film Award, two Filmfare Awards and a Filmfare OTT Award. In 2023, she was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian honour.
The daughter of director Ravi Tandon, she made her acting debut in the 1991 action film Patthar Ke Phool, which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Tandon established herself by playing the leading lady in the commercially successful action films Dilwale (1994), Mohra (1994), Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), and Ziddi (1997). She earned a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1994 drama Laadla and in the late 1990s, she collaborated with Govinda in several successful comedies, including Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998), Dulhe Raja (1998) and Anari No.1 (1999). She also played against type in the crime dramas Ghulam-E-Mustafa (1997) and Shool (1999).
In the 2000s, Tandon ventured into arthouse cinema with roles in the 2001 films Daman and Aks, both of which garnered her critical acclaim, winning the National Film Award for Best Actress for the former and a Filmfare Special Performance Award for the latter. Post her marriage with film distributor Anil Thadani, Tandon took a break from films. She intermittently appeared on television with shows like the Sahara One drama Sahib Biwi Gulam (2004), the dance reality show Chak De Bachche (2008) and talk shows Isi Ka Naam Zindagi (2012) and Simply Baatien With Raveena (2014). After several years of hiatus, Tandon starred in the thriller Maatr (2017) and received praise for her leading role in the Netflix crime thriller series Aranyak (2021), winning a Filmfare OTT Award for Best Actress. Tandon had a supporting role in her highest-grossing release, K.G.F: Chapter 2 (2022).
Tandon is also an environmentalist and has worked with PETA since 2002. Tandon has four children, two adopted and two with her husband.
Tandon was born on 26 October 1972 in Bombay (present-day Mumbai) to filmmaker Ravi Tandon and Veena Tandon. Tandon is a niece of character actor Mac Mohan and thus a cousin of Manjari Makijany, his daughter. She has a brother Rajiv Tandon, who was married to actress Rakhee Tandon. She is also a cousin of actress Kiran Rathod.
Tandon received her education at Jamnabai Narsee School in Juhu and attended Mithibai College in Mumbai. Tandon started her career as a model, but during her internship at Genesis PR, she got her first film offer. In an interview with Rediff Tandon stated,
Tandon debuted with the film Patthar Ke Phool (1991) which was a hit; she received the Filmfare Award for Lux New Face of the Year for her performance. The film resulted in a breakthrough in her film career, and predominantly established her as an overnight star.
In 1992, she starred opposite Sanjay Dutt in Jeena Marna Tere Sang. The film was her only release of the year, and proved a moderate success. In 1993, Tandon had seven film releases. Dramas like Kshatriya and Divya Shakti were moderate successes. That year, she also starred in her Telugu cinema debut Bangaru Bullodu, which was recorded as a hit at the box office.
In 1994, Tandon had success by appearing in ten features: out of which most of them were successful and four films were the amongst one of the highest grossing productions of the year and they were: Mohra, Dilwale, Aatish, and Laadla. She was nicknamed "Mast Mast Girl" after her performance in song "Tu cheez badi hai mast mast" in film Mohra. Laadla also earned her a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her other releases of that year included the thriller Imtihaan with Sunny Deol in lead and Saif Ali Khan and the cult comedy Andaz Apna Apna, the lattermost was a semi hit at the box office upon its release, and was not a major commercial success but has attained a cult status since years. Her Tamil debut Sadhu, was also a critical and commercial success. Her another release of the year: Zamane Se Kya Darna was profitable at the ticket window and emerged as a moderate success.
In 1995, she starred with Shah Rukh Khan for the first time in Zamaana Deewana; the film failed to do well. Her career was back on track with hit films such as Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996) and Ziddi (1997) opposite Sunny Deol, become the blockbuster hit of that year and Salaakhen (1998). She also received praise for her performance in Ghulam-E-Mustafa, another hit of the year 1997.
In 1998, Tandon reinforced her status as a leading lady by appearing in two critically and commercially successful productions: Dulhe Raja and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, and both of them proved to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year. Her last release of that year, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, co-starring Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda turned out to be the second biggest hit of the year. Tandon was offered the second lead in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which went on to be the biggest hit of 1998, but she turned it down. Her other releases of that year were Gharwali Baharwali, Vinashak: The Destroyer, Pardesi Babu and Aunty No. 1, some of which were moderate critical and commercial successes.
In 1999, Tandon starred opposite Upendra in his self-titled Kannada psychological thriller film, Upendra, a box office success. She also starred in Anari No.1, which was a critical and commercial success. She also received praise from critics for her performance in Shool.
In the 2000s, Tandon ventured into art house productions, to learn a realistic way of acting, and rejected several mainstream film offers. Tandon worked in films such as Bulandi (2000) and Aks (2001), which won her critical acclaim. She won several awards as well as the Filmfare Special Performance Award for her performance in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Aks.
Her years in the industry paid off when she won the coveted National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in Kalpana Lajmi's Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence (2001), where she played a battered wife to an abusive husband. She surprised critics and audiences with her performance in the film and received appreciation for her work. Critic Taran Adarsh said: "Raveena Tandon lends credibility to the role of a battered wife and walks away with the honours. The pathos she conveys through her expressions makes you realise that she's a performer of substance".
Since then, she has starred in a number of critically acclaimed films, such as Satta (2003) and Dobara (2004), but has not had much box office success. Her role as a middle-class woman thrust into the world of politics in the former was praised. Critic Taran Adarsh wrote: "Raveena Tandon delivers a bravura performance. The actress takes giant strides as a performer, giving the right touches to her character. Here's a performance that's bound to be noticed". Her role as a schizophrenic in Dobara was also praised with one critic saying: "Raveena is in sync with her character, playing her part with elaan". Tandon also worked in the Sahara One television series Sahib Biwi Gulam, based on the 1953 Bengali novel Saheb Bibi Golam by Bimal Mitra.
Her only release in 2006 was Sandwich which opened to poor reviews and reception. After doing several films, she took a break from actively appearing in films.
In 2014, she judged season 1 of CEO's Got Talent on CNBC TV18 with Mahesh Bhatt and Raj Nayak. In 2015, she made a comeback to Bollywood in longtime friend Anurag Kashyap's magnum opus Bombay Velvet. Playing a sultry jazz singer, her brief performance was highly praised by critics.
In 2017, she was seen in the thriller movie Maatr in which she plays a mother who seeks revenge for her daughter's rape. Her performance was lauded and she gained critical acclaim for her performance. Her next release of the year was Onir's Shab, where she plays a socialite.
In 2021, Tandon made her OTT debut with the Netflix crime thriller web series Aranyak, and received positive reviews for her performance. In 2022, Tandon appeared in a pivotal role in K.G.F: Chapter 2 which became third highest-grossing Indian film of all time. Tandon will appear alongside Sanjay Dutt in the romantic comedy film Ghudchadi by Binoy Gandhi, slated for a September 2023 release.
Tandon was the chairperson of the Children's Film Society of India from 2003, but from 2004 the actress began to get complaints that she did not attend the organisation's meetings and that she was not involved with the activities set up by the society. In September 2005, Tandon resigned from her post citing personal reasons.
In November 2005, Tandon sued the websites, Shaadi.com and Shaaditimes.com, claiming that they were using unauthorised images of her to promote the site. She also sued the owner of Satyanet Solutions, as they claimed that Tandon and her husband had met through the website.
In November 2002, Tandon sang to support People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. She has posed in many advertisement campaigns joining the likes of John Abraham, Shilpa Shetty and Amisha Patel. On the issue of cows being slaughtered for their skin, she said "Their abuse at the hands of corrupt skin and meat traders must be stopped".
In 2023, Tandon became the first person from the entertainment industry, chosen to be a delegate at W20, the Women's empowerment engagement wing at G20 New Delhi summit.
Tandon adopted two girls, Pooja and Chhaya, as a single mother in 1995 when they were 11 and 8-years-old, respectively. During late 90s, Tandon was dating actor Akshay Kumar and had announced him as her boyfriend. Although they were engaged, they later parted ways.
Tandon began dating film distributor Anil Thadani, during the making of her film Stumped (2003). Their engagement was announced in November 2003. She married Thadani on 22 February 2004 in Jag Mandir Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan according to Punjabi Khatri and Sindhi traditions. Tandon gave birth to her daughter Rasha, in March 2005. In July 2008, she gave birth to her son Ranbirvardhan.
Tandon has often been regarded as one of the most popular actresses of the 1990s. Devesh Sharma of Filmfare stated, "Tandon was one of the most vivacious actresses to have graced the silver screen." Rediff.com noted, "Ravishing and Raveena are synonymous with each other." Outlook India noted, "Tandon's filmography boasts of commercial entertainers as well as offbeat movies." Times Now termed the actress "ravishing and rebellious".
Throughout her career, Tandon was widely known for her dance numbers. Praising her dance, Filmfare noted, "A natural dancer who radiated oomph by the bucket, Raveena literally set the silver screen on fire with her moves." Tandon termed her performance in Shool and Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence, as the ones that changed the perception of the audience. She added,
In 2023, the Government of India honoured Tandon with the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award, for her contribution to Indian cinema. Tandon appeared on Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list of 2019, ranking 89th, with an estimated annual income of ₹ 24 million (US$300,000). She appeared on Box Office India's list of three "Top Actresses" of 1994. Rediff.com placed Tandon in their "Top Bollywood Actresses" list, where she ranked 1st in 2002 and 5th in 2021. Tandon is a celebrity endorser for brands including iAir, Lux, 7 Up and Emami. In 2016, Rapper Badshah used Tandon's name in his song "Kar Gayi Chull", from the film Kapoor & Sons.