4 November 1971
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Tabu (born Tabassum Hashmi; 4 November 1971) is an Indian film actress. She has mainly acted in Hindi films, though she has also starred in numerous Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali language films, as well as Hollywood films. She has won the National Film Award for Best Actress twice, and holds the record for the most Best Actress (Critics) wins at Filmfare, with four.
Tabu is best known for acting in artistic, independent films that go on to garner more critical appreciation than substantial box office figures. Her most critically acclaimed performances were in the films Kaalapani (1995), Maachis (1996), Virasat (1997), Hu Tu Tu (1999), Astitva (2000), Chandni Bar (2001), Maqbool (2003) and Cheeni Kum (2007). She has also played leading and supporting roles in several commercially successful films, including Saajan Chale Sasural (1996), Border (1997), Biwi No.1 (1999), Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United (1999), Fanaa (2006) and Jai Ho (2014). Her leading role in Mira Nair's American film The Namesake also drew major praise. She also co-starred in Ang Lee's film Life of Pi (2012), a major international success.
Regarded as one of the most talented Indian female actors of her generation, Tabu is known to be selective about her film roles and has once said, "I do films which move me and most of all, the unit and the director should appeal to me." She was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, in 2011 by the Government of India for her contributions towards the arts.
Tabu was born in Hyderabad to Jamal Hashmi and Rizwana. Soon after, her parents divorced. Her mother was a school teacher and her maternal grandparents were retired professors who ran a school. Her grandfather, Mohammed Ahsan, was a professor of Mathematics, and her grandmother was a professor of English Literature. 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.
Tabassum "Tabu" Hashmi did a small appearance in the film "Bazaar" in 1980, and later in the film Hum Naujawan (1985) at the age of fourteen; she played Dev Anand's daughter in the film. Her first role as an actress was in the Telugu film Coolie No.1 co-starred with Venkatesh. In December 1987, Boney Kapoor launch two Big Films, Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Prem. In Prem, Tabu was signed opposite Sanjay Kapoor. The film took eight years in making and it was a biggest flop in Boney Kapoor's production career. Fortunately Tabu's career took off well after this film in spite of the long delay.
Tabu's first release in Hindi as a leading lady was Pehla Pehla Pyar which went un-noticed. She came into prominence with her role in Vijaypath (1994) opposite Ajay Devgan for which she received the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. This was followed by many films that did not do well at the box office.
In 1996, Tabu had eight releases. Two films Saajan Chale Sasural and Jeet went on to be hits; both were within the top five films of that year. Her other significant film, Maachis, was critically acclaimed. Her role as a Punjabi woman caught in the rise of Sikh insurgency was acclaimed; she went on to win her first National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance. The same year saw her major blockbuster films down south. Critically acclaimed Malayalam patriotic film Kalapani directed by Priyadarshan with Mohan Lal and Prabhu Ganesan in the lead roles, brought her laurels for her acting from all across South India. She also debuted in Kollywood through the highly successful Tamil film Kadhal Desam directed by Kathir with Abbas and Vineeth.
Tabu's first release of 1997 was Border. The movie was about the real life events surrounding the Battle of Longewala during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. She played the role of Sunny Deol's wife. Her role was small but the film went on to be the biggest hit of 1997. That year, she also starred in the critically acclaimed film Virasat. The film was a success at the box office; Tabu won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance.
In 2000, the actress starred in Hera Pheri and Astitva. The former was a box office success whilst the latter was critically acclaimed. Hindustan Times critic Arnab Banerjee wrote of her performance, "Tabu is brilliant and once again proves her mettle as an actress. The mind-blowing range of emotions she displays, her exquisite face and her subtle quiet dignity with which she handles her character, will take her far in her film career." She received her third Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance for Astitva. Down south, Tabu had two releases in Tamil, namely, Kandukondain Kandukondain, a multi-starrer blockbuster film directed by Rajeev Menon and Snegithiye directed by Priyadarshan,along with a Malayalam release Cover Story. Original Malayalam version of Snegithiye which is Raakilipattu was later released in 2007.
2001 saw her star in Chandni Bar directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. Her portrayal of a bar dancer met with unanimous praise, and she won her second National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance. Critic, Taran Adarsh said, "Chandni Bar is Tabu's film all the way and there are no two opinions on that. Her performance deserves the highest marks and of course, all the awards. Her work is flawless and the impact her character makes on the minds of the viewer is also due to a tailor-made role". Another critic mentioned, "if there is one actress who can carry a film on her shoulders, it is Tabu. As usual, she sparkles".
She has acted in a number of Telugu movies, many of them very successful, such as Coolie No. 1 and Ninne Pelladutha, the latter being one of her most famous and popular movies. She further continued to star in films such as Chennakeshava Reddy and Pandurangadu with Nandamuri Balakrishna, Andarivadu with Chiranjeevi and Aavida Maa Aavide with Akkineni Nagarjuna. Tabu made a reentry into Telugu movies after a long hiatus with the film Pandurangudu in 2008. At this time, she was 38 years old. Her roles in Telugu movies largely focused on glamorous roles.
In 2003, Tabu starred in an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The actress played Nimmi based on the character Lady Macbeth. The film titled Maqbool was directed by Vishal Bhardwaj and premiered at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival. Maqbool was a box office failure but was met with huge acclaim. Tabu's performance opened to much appreciation; critic Ron Ahluwalia said, "Tabu shines in a dark role. The most versatile actress in Bollywood takes to villainy like a second nature. She is menacing and seductive, but keeps an innocent look on her face, making her even viler. The way Tabu delivers her taunts simply perfect. Her gradual insanity is heart-wrenching and her final outburst is easily the highlight of the film." Another critic said, "Tabu is fantastic in a complex role. Her performance in the film is worthy of awards. After Chandni Bar, this is another role that will be remembered for a long, long time."
In 2007, Tabu starred in her first Hollywood film, The Namesake, directed by Mira Nair. The film was a big hit overseas. She also starred in Cheeni Kum in which she played a 34-year-old woman who falls in love with a 64-year-old played by Amitabh Bachchan. Critics were generally positive towards the film; Taran Adarsh said, "Tabu stands on her feet despite a formidable co-star's domineering presence. She's excellent." Though the film did not do as well domestically, it performed well overseas, especially in UK and US.
She started off 2009 by being featured on the cover of Vogue India's January 2009 issue.
In 2010, Tabu portrayed the lead role in the romantic comedy film Toh Baat Pakki!, which earned huge publicity as it marked Tabu's return to Bollywood after three years. However, the film was a commercial failure. Her next release of the year was Khuda Kasam opposite Sunny Deol. Her other film Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai directed by B. R. Chopra got indefinitely shelved owing to the plagiarism issues. She made a comeback to Malayalam cinema in 2011 with her brief song appearance in the multi starrer film, Urumi, directed by Santosh Sivan. The song "Aaranne Aaranne" featuring Tabu alongside Prabhu Deva and Prithviraj Sukumaran was declared a chartbuster of the year.
In 2012, she featured in her second Hollywood film, Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee. She played a supporting role as the mother of the protagonist. Her forthcoming projects include David, a Tamil – Hindi bilingual film, starring Vikram in the lead and directed by Bejoy Nambiar. She has also signed for a Prakash Raj's trilingual (Hindi, Tamil and Telugu) film, Un Samayal Arayil (Tamil) and Ulavacharu Biryani (Telugu) which is based on the Malayalam film Salt N' Pepper.
She is a life member of International Club of Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida.
In 1998, Tabu was charged with poaching two blackbucks in Kankani during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain along with co-stars Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Karishma Kapoor, Sonali Bendre and Neelam Kothari.  A lower court charged her with the others under the Wildlife Act and the IPC. She had filed a revision petition before a sessions court which discharged her of Section 51 (causing harm to wildlife) of Wildlife Act and both of 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly of persons) of the Indian Penal Code.  The Rajasthan state government then filed a revision petition before the Rajasthan high court which again added Section 149 against her, which it had dropped. In December 2012, the Jodhpur court summoned her along with all the accused for commencement of the trial with the revised charges on 4 February 2013. 
Awards and nominations
Tabu has worked in films of several languages like Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Bengali, but most of her work has been in Hindi. All the films listed below are Hindi films.
|1994||Vijaypath||Mohini (Mona)||Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut|
|1996||Maachis||Virender "Veeran" Kaur||National Film Award for Best Actress|
|1997||Virasat||Gehna||Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress|
|1999||Hu Tu Tu||Panna||Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress|
|2000||Astitva||Aditi Pandit||Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress|
|2001||Chandni Bar||Mumtaz Ali Ansari||National Film Award for Best Actress|
|2007||Cheeni Kum||Nina Verma||Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress|
|2014||Jai Ho (film)||Geeta Agnihotri (Jai's Sister)|
|2014||Haider (film)||Haider's Mother|
- Bose, Derek (19 July 2009). "Cut above the rest". The Tribune. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- Banerjee, Arnab (5 June 2007). "Tabu: making understatement an art". hindustantimes.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Pillai, Sreedhar (28 February 2008). "Tabu sizzles". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- Padma Awards Announced
- Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema. Encyclopaedia Britannica (India), Popular Prakashan. p. 634. ISBN 81-7991-066-0.
- Martyris, Nina (26 April 2003). "When dosa was a luxury". Times of India. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Bhatt, Rajeev (9 March 2007). "Tabu: As she likes it!". Hinduonnet.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Dhawan, M.L. (15 April 2001). "She wows with her acting prowess". rediff.com. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
- "Box Office Results 1996". BoxOfficeIndia.Com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Box Office Results 1997". BoxOfficeIndia.Com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Box Office Results 1999". BoxOfficeIndia.Com. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Astitva review. go4i.com
- "Box Office Results 2000". BoxOfficeIndia.Com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Filmfare Awards 2000". Filmfare. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Rediff Entertainment Bureau (26 July 2002). "Tabu, Shobhana share National Award for Best Actress". rediff.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Adarsh, Taran (25 September 2001). "Chandni Bar review from indiafm.com". Indiafm.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Kumar, Salil (27 September 2001). "Chandni Bar review from rediff.com". rediff.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Yuva Samrat's First Silver Jubilee Hit Ninne Pelladatha". cinegoer.com. 31 March 2001. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Maqbool premieres at Toronto International Film Festival". Videovision.Com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.[dead link]
- Ahluwalia, Ron (30 January 2004). "Tabu: She is menacing and seductive". planetbollywood.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Adrash, Taran (30 January 2004). "Review of Maqbool from indiafm.com". Indiafm.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Box Office Results 2006". BoxOfficeIndia.Com. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Tuteja, Joginder (23 March 2007). "The Namesake earns third 1 crore plus week". glamsham.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Adarsh, Taran (25 May 2007). "Cheeni Kum review from indiafm.com". Indiafm.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Adarsh, Taran (30 May 2007). "Overseas box office report: 30 May 2007". Indiafm.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Special Correspondent (25 August 2007). "Blackbuck case: Tabu, Salman, Saif charged with poaching". hindi.com. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- Pillai, Pai (1 September 2007). "Salman Khan expresses faith in judiciary". news.sawf.org. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Jodhpur court summons Salman, Saif in February for poaching case". Press Trust of India. 10 December 2012.
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