By Ojasvee Last Updated:
An ageless beauty inside out, Tabassum Fatima Hashmi, a.k.a., Tabu (her stage name), is one strong lady whom we are all proud of. Born on November 4, 1971, to Jamal Ali Hashmi and Rizwana, niece of the veteran star, Shabana Azmi, Tabu made her first appearance as a child actress in the movie, Hum Naujawan and she hasn't looked back ever since.
What sets Tabu apart is not just her talent but her strong individuality. If you want to know more about this multitalented actress, keep on reading.
When Tabu made her debut as a young starlet with Hum Naujawan in 1985, it was speculated that she will be the next big thing and so she was! She has acted in numerous Bollywood films of different genres. Tabu's critically acclaimed roles have been given to her by brilliant movies like Maachis, Kalapani, Astitva, Chandni Bar, Maqbool, Cheeni Kum, Haider, Drishyam and many more. We have seen her as a headstrong cop, a seductive bar dancer, a caring mother and a strong female, who wouldn't take "no" for an answer.
During the '90s, Tabu became the Pehla Pehla Pyaar of her audience and still continues to hold that place in our hearts. Be it as a Punjabi Veerandra (Veeran), a victim of Sikh insurgency in Maachis, a simple village girl, Gehna in Virasat, a confident wife, Aditi Pandit in Astitva, a bar dancer Mumtaz in Chandni Bar, a don's lonely mistress, Nimmi in Maqbool, the not-so-typical villain Simi in Andhadhun, a lover, Saeeda Bai of A Suitable Boy, who rediscovered romance and passion, forgetting her 'place' in society and the list is endless; Tabu has done justice to every versatile character she has portrayed and being a formidable actor of the Indian cinema, she aced striking a balance between commercial and art-house cinema.
In her career span of four decades, Tabu's every performance spoke for itself and we cannot imagine any actor, who could have done justice to her roles other than her. With her choices of scripts, ranging from dark comedy, satire, family drama, action, romance and any other film genre, Tabu has consistently defied stereotypes and raised the bar really high with her maturity, finesse and a fresh perspective to a lot of issues.
Tabu's magic has been felt down in the South Indian film industry and internationally as well. She has shown her flair for languages by doing films in English, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali language. Her leading role in Mira Nair's drama, The Namesake, was appreciated all over the world. The list of awards given to her is endless.
Just how she isn't a mainstream heroine of Bollywood, Tabu's relationship history also proves that she doesn't believe in stereotypes. Even at the age of 50, Tabu is living a happy single life
(Tabu and Sanjay Kapoor)
Hailing from a prominent Kapoor family of Bollywood, Sanjay Kapoor couldn't make big in the industry but he could easily charm and win everyone's heart with his good looks, even today! And Tabu couldn't escape his charm as she was cast opposite him in his debut film, Prem. Sanjay was the first serious affair of Tabu's life and the two had started dating during the making of their film. Nobody knows what went wrong but the two actors were not on talking terms by the end of the film's shoot. Speaking about their short-lived affair, Sanjay had said in an interview with The Times Of India:
"I was dating Tabu at that time initially, but by the end of it, we were not talking to each other."
(Tabu and Sajid Nadiadwala)
The next man in Tabu's life was director-producer, Sajid Nadiadwala. Tabu was a dear friend of Sajid's wife, Divya Bharti and had no feelings for him when she was alive and after the actress' demise, it wasn't the case that her sympathy had turned into affection. Tabu and Sajid have always been good friends and it was only while working together for the film, Jeet, their relationship had blossomed. Tabu and Sajid sued to spend a lot of time together and she was even seeing a future with him. But Sajid was hesitant to commit to Tabu because he still had feelings for his wife, late Divya. While Tabu had accepted the situation, she wanted clarification from Sajid to let go of his past and focus on their relationship. Meanwhile, Tabu, who was annoyed by Sajid's indecisiveness, developed feelings for the much-married South Indian superstar, Akkineni Nagarjuna, leaving Sajid bitter.
(Tabu and Akkineni Nagarjuna)
The third man in Tabu's life taught her the hardest lesson which not many have the courage to deal with. This was her affair with South's star, Akkineni Nagarjuna. Tabu's affair with him was a very painful one. Nagarjuna was already married when he started dating Tabu. Tabu and Nagarjuna were never vocal about it. After ten long years of being with this man, Tabu realised that he is not going to leave his wife. This convinced Tabu to take the firm step and she broke up with him. Tabu was seeking stability in her relationship but Nagarjuna, who was already married twice, was hesitant to commit for the third time. Eventually, Nagarjuna and Tabu parted ways but his second wife, Amala shares a cordial relationship with her husband's rumoured ex. In an interview with The Times Of India, Nagarjuna had revealed that Tabu will always remain his 'beautiful friend':
"Yes, Tabu is a fantastic friend of mine. our friendship goes way back, since I was 21 or 22 and she was just 16 years old. That's like almost half a lifetime... About our friendship, whatever said is less. I have nothing to hide about her. When you mention her name, my face lights up... (laughs). it is simple as that. Now, when I say things like that, if you want to read into it, then it's your point of view... To me, she is a beautiful person, and a beautiful friend. She always will be."
Even Akkineni Nagarjuna's wife, Amala Akkineni had spoken about the rumours of her husband's relationship with Tabu. Amala had said in an interview with The Times Of India:
"I have 100 per cent faith in my husband Nagarjuna and my best friend Tabu. Nothing will shake this belief. Nobody should bother what happens under my roof. I am happy. And before you ask whether my husband and I have discussed this... No, never! My home is sacred, like a temple. I don't allow anything unpleasant from the film industry to pour in, especially such filthy gossip. I don't encourage such talks. I feel it will contaminate my house."
(Akkineni Nagarjuna and his wife, Amala Akkineni)
Throwing some light on the cordial bond she shares with Tabu, Amala Akkineni had continued:
"I'm sure even she must be hurt, but we never discuss it. Tabu is one of the persons, besides Danny Denzongpa, my Rakhi brother, from Mumbai who I am in touch with. And, yes, she stays with us when she comes here."
Tabu's love life has been more about the downs than ups but this never broke her spirit. She is an independent, strong lady, who wouldn't settle for anything less than what she deserves.
Tabu has never been a party person. She does her work and goes back home. If there is someone in the entertainment industry that she feels connected with, it is Ajay Devgn and Farah Khan. She says that she is the most comfortable at Farah's house.
Tabu shares a very special bond with Ajay Devgn. They grew up together in the same neighbourhood and she blames him for her singlehood as he used to bully any guy, who would talk to her. Remembering the old days, in a 2017 interview with the Mumbai Mirror, Tabu had said:
"Yes, Ajay and I have known each other for 25 years. He was my cousin Sameer Arya’s neighbour and close buddy, a part of my growing up years and that has laid the foundation of our relationship. When I was young, Sameer and Ajay would spy on me, follow me around and threaten to beat up any boys who are caught talking to me. They were the big bullies and if I am single today, it is because of Ajay. I hope he repents and regrets what he did."
Despite keeping her personal life, private and maintaining a safe distance from media, Tabu has often spoken about love, marriage and relationships in her interviews. Tabu believes that 'single' isn't a bad word and accepts that she has learnt her love lessons in a rather hard way. In a throwback interview with the Hindustan Times, Tabu had said:
"I do not think single is a bad word. There may have been a stigma attached to being single in the past, but not anymore. Your happiness comes from many things unconnected with the status of your relationship. On your own, you can deal with your aloneness, but with a wrong partner, what could follow would be worse than any kind of loneliness."
Throwing some light on how willing she is to talk about her own relationships, Tabu had continued:
"A man-woman relationship is a complicated thing. When we are young, we have an idea of love. Then we grow, have new experiences, get independent, and outgrow some things,” she says cryptically. “I was working and wanted to see the world on my own. If I’d have given it all up, it’d have been a disservice to me and my ability. An ideal relationship is when both individuals grow just by being in each other’s lives. Relationships are meant to liberate, not stifle. I know my thinking is a bit different. For instance, I have never thought of men and women as different in a relationship. Does gender matter over the individual people you are?"
It is seen that children, who come from broken marriages, have a hard time putting their trust in the institution of marriage. It is true that Tabu is single at the age of 50, but she firmly believes in marriages. She is open to it but won't do it out of necessities. Tabu's thoughts on having kids are progressive too. She thinks that every woman has the right to be a mother whether she has a husband or not. When asked if the desire of being a mother sometimes override the need to get married, Tabu had said in an interview with the Filmfare:
"If I say no to motherhood, it would be a stupid thing. But fortunately or unfortunately we're part of a system and I don’t wish to fight it and have a baby. Yes, sometimes the desire for motherhood supersedes the desire to get married. But the sensible and rational part in me silences that. I’ve nothing against having a child out of wedlock; I don’t see any wrong in it. No one can stop me if I wish to have a child of wedlock. But I don’t wish to deprive the child of both the parents deliberately, from the word go."
Speaking about her rumours and gossips in the industry, Tabu believes that reacting to the same would only add fuel to the fire and was quoted as saying:
"Well, people have written whatever crap they wanted to, about me, which was false. But I never confronted them. That’s the way I am and that’s how I want to be known as. I’ve always been like this. In school, I never fought. I knew exactly what the aggressive girls were doing, but I just stayed within my own self. It’s just my temperament, I feel. So, when something is off the mark and so untrue, I don't even want to associate myself with it. Sometimes, it's just funny, sometimes amusing, and sometimes really frustrating [too]. At times, you resign [yourself] to the fact that — though I’m not okay with it, I sort of understood — this is the way that people want to do their job, and this is their bread and butter... and too bad that I’m the target."
No one would deny the fact that Tabu is not only a brilliant actress but an individual, who is an inspiration for both men and women. She has seen the good and the bad, but that hasn't created any dent in her lively outlook. We hope that she remains this strong forever and keeps on setting examples for us. Do let us know guys as to what do think about Tabu in the comments section.