90s Reinvented I Tabu is one of the rare leading stars of Hindi cinema who quietly does her work in films and moves on to the next while creating a lasting impression with her performances. Unlike most of her contemporaries and junior, the star has largely stayed away from interviews or sharing much on social media. So in her recent chat with comedian Zakir Khan for Netflix, the first question she was asked was about her disinterest in doing interviews. “I don`t find the questions relevant,” she said. I get tired of giving interviews because it is not an easy thing. You have to speak so much and then there are some questions that really do not matter,” she added.
After appearing in some uncredited roles as a child, Tabu made her first proper debut as a leading actor in the year 1991 with the Telugu film `Coolie No.1` alongside Venkatesh. In December 1987, producer Boney Kapoor launched two major films; Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Prem, in which Tabu was signed opposite Sanjay Kapoor, Boney`s younger brother. Tabu`s first release in Hindi as a leading lady was Pehla Pehla Pyar (1994), which went unnoticed. She rose to prominence with her role in Vijaypath (1994) opposite Ajay Devgn. She went on to feature in several hit films with Devgn who is also a childhood friend of the actor.
In 1996, Tabu had multiple releases with the the political thriller Maachis being the most critically acclaimed. Her role as a Punjabi woman caught in the rise of Sikh insurgency was highly acclaimed; she went on to win her first National Film Award for Best Actress. Around the same time, Tabu also appeared in several hit South Indian films like Kaalapaani (Malayalam), Kadhal Desam (Tamil), Ninne Pelladata (Telugu) and Iruvar (Tamil). She worked with some of the most prominent male actors in South cinema while making a name for herself with brilliant performances.
Tabu gained acclaim for portraying troubled women in Virasat (1997), Hu Tu Tu (1999), Astitva (2000), and Chandni Bar (2001). The 2001 film got her, her second National Film Award. From troubled woman to comedy to negative roles, Tabu has tried her hands at all kinds of roles and has come out with flying colours each time. Whether or not the film performs at the box office, Tabu is sure to leave a lasting impression with her performance and conviction to the character.
Not just a pan-India star, Tabu also expanded to American cinema with `The Namesake` (2006) and `Life of Pi` (2012). The actress continued to shine with age and experience. In the past decade, her biggest commercial successes in India came with Drishyam (2015), Golmaal Again (2017), Andhadhun (2018), De De Pyaar De (2019), Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (2020), Drishyam 2 (2022) and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (2022). Even when the Hindi film industry faced a lull, Tabu`s film fared well at the box office post-pandemic.
Up next, the actress will be fronting a power-packed female-led film The Crew alongside Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kriti Sanon. She also has a film with her friend and frequent collaborator Ajay Devgn in the pipeline titled `Auron Mein Kahan Dum Tha`.