Born as Tabassum Fatima Hashmi, the actress is known as Tabu (her pet name) in the Indian film industry. The actress has primarily acted in Hindi films, in addition to English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali language films. Tabu was born to Jamal Hashmi and Rizwana to a Hyderabadi Muslim family. Her parents divorced when she was a child. Her mother was a school teacher and her maternal grandparents were retired professors who ran a school. She went to St. Anns High school in Hyderabad. Tabu moved to Mumbai in 1983 and studied at St. Xavier's College for two years.
When she was working on her first film, as a child artiste in Hum Naujawan, 1985, Dev Anand thought Tabassum's pet name - Tabu - was beautiful too, and that she should adopt it as her screen name. And that just never changed. Nobody has ever called her Tabassum, except for her teachers and school friends. And Tabu came to Bombay right after school.
But before Hum Naujawan, Tabu did a small appearance in the film Bazaar in 1980. Tabu's mother's (pictured here) older brother, Ishaan Arya, was a DoP of Bazaar.
In December 1987, Boney Kapoor launched two major films; Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Prem. In Prem, Tabu was signed opposite Sanjay Kapoor. The film took eight years in the making and it was the biggest flop in Boney Kapoor's production career. Tabu's career took off well after this film, in spite of the long delay.
Very few know the fact that Tabu's first role as an actress was in the Telugu film Coolie No.1, along with the south superstar Venkatesh, which released in 1991.
Tabu's first release in Hindi as a leading lady was Pehla Pehla Pyar, which hit theatres in 1994. Though the film remained unnoticed by a lot of fans, Tabu tasted the success with her role in Vijaypath, (1994) opposite Ajay Devgn. Tabu also bagged the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award for the film. This was followed by many films that did not do well at the box office.
In 1996, Tabu had eight movie releases in her kitty. Among them, two of her - films Saajan Chale Sasural and Jeet went on to be superhits. Both her movies were within the top five films of that year. Her other significant film, Maachis, which also starred Chandrachur Singh, was critically acclaimed. Her role as a Punjabi woman caught in the rise of the Sikh insurgency was acclaimed; she went on to win her first National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance.
It's not just Maachis that helped her to bag the National Award, in 2001, the audience saw her star in Chandni Bar directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. Tabu's portrayal of a bar dancer left her praises all over, and it was for the same role she won her second National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance.
It is not just the Hindi film industry where Tabu has made it big. She starred in the Telugu blockbuster Ninne Pelladata, opposite Nagarjuna, a film which won her the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu. In 2000, Tabu and Aishwarya Rai starred in the Tamil film 'Kandukondain Kandukondain', which also featured Mammootty and Ajith Kumar.
Tabu credits acting for shaping her personality to an extent that she finds it hard to define her life without cinema. "There has been immense growth and progress in my personality through my work. The people I've interacted with, the films I've done...the bandwidth increases. That's the thing of value for me. I don't know how I would define myself minus my acting. People know me because of my work, my career."
Tabu's recent release De De Pyaar De, which hit theatres on May 17, revolves around a 50-year-old single father (Ajay Devgn) who faces disapproval from his family and ex-wife (Tabu) when he falls in love with a 26-year-old woman, played by Rakul Preet Singh.
Here's wishing all the very best to Tabu for the film's success!
Did you know Tabu played the role of Dev Anand's daughter in a film? As the versatile actress Tabu's film De De Pyaar De hit theatres on May 17, we dig up some interesting facts about her Bollywood career. Read more to know the journey of the critically acclaimed actress