Tabassum Fatima Hashmi (born 4 November 1971), better known by her stage name Tabu, is an Indian actress who primarily works in Hindi films, alongside Telugu and Tamil language films. Regarded as one of the most accomplished actresses in India, Tabu has often played troubled, complicated women in a range of characters, from fictional to literary, in both mainstream and independent cinema, as well as some American productions. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including two National Film Awards for Best Actress and six Filmfare Awards, including a record four awards for Best Actress (Critics). In 2011, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour of the country.
Tabu’s first credited role came as a teenager in Dev Anand’s Hum Naujawan (1985), but her first role as a lead was in the Telugu film Coolie No. 1 (1991). In 1994, she received the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for the Hindi action drama Vijaypath. The year 1996 was key for Tabu, as her performance as a young woman affected by the Punjab insurgency in Gulzar’s Maachis won her the National Film Award for Best Actress. Moreover, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu for the romance Ninne Pelladata and gained commercial success with the comedy film Saajan Chale Sasural. In 1999 she played supporting roles in the top-grossing Bollywood films of the year—the comedy Biwi No.1, and the family drama Hum Saath-Saath Hain. Further acclaim from critics came her way during these years for her roles in Virasat (1997), Hu Tu Tu (1999), Astitva (2000), and Chandni Bar (2001), the former three winning her Filmfare Critics Awards, and the latter earning her a second National Film Award.
Tabu’s literary characters were in films such as Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, as well as a role based on Lady Macbeth in Maqbool (2004), an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Her first international project came in 2006 with Mira Nair’s adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake. For her starring role in Cheeni Kum (2007) she received a record fourth Filmfare Critics Award, and she took on fewer film projects over the next few years. She played a prostitute in the Telugu film Pandurangadu (2008) and appeared briefly in Ang Lee’s adventure film Life of Pi (2012). In 2014, she starred alongside Salman Khan in Jai Ho and garnered critical acclaim for playing the Gertrude character in Haider, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for the latter. Tabu went on to star in the ensemble horror comedy Golmaal Again, and continued to receive praise for playing a police officer in Drishyam (2015) and a murderess in Andhadhun (2018). The latter ranks among the highest-grossing Indian films. She is reluctant to discuss her personal life in the media.
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Early Life and Background
Tabassum Fatima Hashmi was born to Jamal Ali Hashmi and Rizwana in a Hyderabadi Muslim family. Her parents divorced soon after. 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 did her schooling at St. Ann’s High School, Vijayanagar Colony, Hyderabad. Tabu moved to Mumbai in 1983 and studied at St. Xavier’s College for 2 years.
She is the niece of Shabana Azmi, Tanvi Azmi and Baba Azmi and the younger sister of actress Farah Naaz.
Tabu Height Weight Age Bra Size Affairs Family Biography
In 1998, Tabu was charged with poaching two blackbucks on the outskirts of Kankani village in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain along with co-stars Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Neelam Kothari. A lower court charged her with the others under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 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 at Jodhpur which again added Section 149 against her, which had been dropped earlier. 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. Although Tabu was acquitted in the blackbuck poaching case on 5 April 2018, the Rajasthan High Court issued her with a notice, challenging her acquittal on 11 March 2019.
Debut and Breakthrough (1982–1999)
As a child, Tabu had an uncredited appearance in Bazaar (1982), and later in Hum Naujawan (1985) at the age of 14; she played Dev Anand’s daughter in the film. Her first role as an actress was in the Telugu film Coolie No.1 (1991) co-starring with Venkatesh. In December 1987, producer Boney Kapoor launched 2 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 Devgan, for which she received Best Female Debut at Filmfare. In the following year, significant appearances included her role in the box-office success Haqeeqat (1995) and romantic drama film Saajan Ki Baahon Mein (1995) alongside Rishi Kapoor and Raveena Tandon.
In 1996, Tabu had 8 releases. 2 films Saajan Chale Sasural and Jeet were successful at the box office, ranking in the top 5 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 highly 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. She starred in the Telugu blockbuster Ninne Pelladata, opposite Nagarjuna, a film which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu. Anupama Chopra wrote that she was “breathtakingly sensuous” in the part. The critically acclaimed Malayalam period epic film Kaalapani directed by Priyadarshan brought her laurels for her acting from all across South India. She also debuted in Tamil cinema (Kollywood) through the highly successful Tamil film Kadhal Desam, directed by Kathir.
Tabu’s first release of 1997 was Border a war drama about the real-life events surrounding the Battle of Longewala during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. She played the role of Sunny Deol’s wife. Her role was small, but the film went on to be the second-biggest hit of 1997 after Dil To Pagal Hai. That year, she also starred in the critically acclaimed film Virasat. The film was a success at the box office and Tabu won the Filmfare Best Actress (Critics) for her performance in the film. The same year saw her feature in Mani Ratnam’s Tamil political drama Iruvar which had an ensemble cast including Mohanlal, Aishwarya Rai, Prakash Raj and Gautami. She also appeared in Chachi 420 (1998).
In 1999, she starred in 2 successful multi-starters; Biwi No.1 and Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United, which went to become the highest-grossing and the second-highest-grossing films of the year respectively. She also received widespread critical acclaim for Hu Tu Tu, with critics describing her presence as the “most mesmerizing and eloquent”, winning her another Filmfare Best Actress (Critics).
Recent work (2020–present)
In 2020, she made a comeback in Telugu films after a decade by starring in Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, a project of Trivikram Srinivas and Allu Arjun. The film went on to become one of the highest-grossing Indian films of 2020 and Tabu’s portrayal was greatly commended, landing her a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Telugu. She has also starred in a family entertainer titled Jawaani Jaaneman (2020) co-starring Saif Ali Khan with whom she shared screen space after 2 decades. Critics said she “shines” in the small role.
In 2022, she received critical acclaim for portraying a double role in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, a horror comedy by Anees Bazmee, which garnered the highest box office opening amongst Hindi films of 2022. Critics said that Tabu “stole the show”. Later that year, she starred in the sequel to Drishyam, Drishyam 2, directed by Abhishek Pathak. It became a huge critical and commercial success, along with becoming the highest-grossing film of her career.
In 2023, Tabu first portrayed a police officer in Kuttey. Her performance garnered critical acclaim, with critics labeling her as “stunning” and praising her “unblemished performance”. Tabu also appeared alongside Ajay Devgn in the action-adventure film Bholaa, which has proved to be a commercial success after recently entering the 100 crore club.
Tabu will next appear in Auron Mein Kahan Dum Tha alongside Ajay Devgan. She will also appear in Khufiya. Tabu also has The Crew, co-starring Kareena Kapoor and Kriti Sanon in her kitty.
Artistry and media image
Tabu is among the most accomplished actresses in Hindi cinema, known for her work in both mainstream and independent cinema. India Today noted that her “uncontrived freshness” and “mobile face” has become a Bollywood favourite, while her performances speak of “a considerable range”. Filmfare noted, “When you find her name on the credit list of a movie, expectations automatically shoot up.” Forbes noted that Tabu portrayed “strong women-oriented characters” much before such roles started being called “game-changers”. Vogue noted that Tabu has delivered “non-stop stellar and heart-swooning performances.” Eastern Eye termed her a “versatile performer” and said, “Tabu is regularly called upon to add weight to commercial blockbusters.”
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.” In 2019, at the 17th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles she was honored with “Opening Night Tribute”. In 2019, Film Companion ranked Tabu’s performance in Haider and Andhadhun among the 100 Greatest Performances of the Decade.
India Today named her in their “Top Bollywood Actresses” list. She was placed in Filmfare‘s “Top Ten Actresses” of 2003. In Rediff.com‘s “Top Ten Actresses” list, she ranked 9th in 2007. She topped the list in 2014 and 2018. In 1998, Tabu received the Smita Patil Memorial Award for Best Actress, for her contribution to Indian cinema. Forbes India included Tabu in its “50 Showstoppers” list of 2022.
|1991||Coolie No. 1||Ranjani||Telugu|
|1994||Pehla Pehla Pyar||Sapna||Hindi|
|Saajan Ki Baahon Mein||Kavita Verma||Hindi|
|Tu Chor Main Sipahi||Kajal||Hindi|
|Saajan Chale Sasural||Divya Khurana||Hindi|
|1997||Darmiyaan: In Between||Chitra||Hindi|
|Chachi 420||Janki Paswan||Hindi|
|1998||Aavida Maa Aavide||Archana||Telugu|
|2001: Do Hazaar Ek||Billu||Hindi|
|1999||Hu Tu Tu||Parveen “Panna”||Hindi|
|Biwi No.1||Lovely Khurana||Hindi|
|Kohram||ACP Kiran Patkar||Hindi|
|Hum Saath-Saath Hain||Sadhna Sharma Chaturvedi||Hindi|
|2000||Hera Pheri||Anuradha Panikar||Hindi|
|Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar||Kamya Lal||Hindi|
|Cover Story||Jasmine Khan||Malayalam|
|2001||Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya||Roshni Batra||Hindi|
|Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa||Meena||Hindi|
|2002||Maa Tujhhe Salaam||Captain Sonia Khanna||Hindi|
|Zindagi Khoobsoorat Hai||Shalu||Hindi|
|Khanjar: The Knife||Shilpa||Hindi|
|2004||Main Hoon Na||Aparna||Hindi|
|Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities||Meenaxi / Maria Zarkova||Hindi|
|The Namesake||Ashima||English||Indian-American film|
|Rakkilippattu||ACP Gayatri Varma||Malayalam|
|Cheeni Kum||Nina Verma||Hindi|
|Om Shanti Om||Herself||Hindi||Cameo in song “Deewangi Deewangi”|
|2010||Toh Baat Pakki!||Rajeshwari Saxena||Hindi|
|Khuda Kasam||Neetu Singh||Hindi|
|2012||Life of Pi||Gita Patel||English|
|2014||Jai Ho||Geeta Agnihotri Khanna||Hindi|
|Haider||Ghazala Meer||Hindi||Also playback singer for song “Roshe Valle”|
|2015||Drishyam||IG Meera Deshmukh||Hindi|
|2016||Fitoor||Begum Hazrat Jaan||Hindi|
|2017||Golmaal Again||Anna Matthew||Hindi|
|2019||De De Pyaar De||Manju Rao Mehra||Hindi|
|2020||Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo||Yasoda “Yasu”||Telugu|
|2022||Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2||TBA||Hindi|
|Drishyam 2||IG Meera Deshmukh||Hindi||Filming|
|2020||A Suitable Boy||Saaeda Bai||BBC One|