At 52, Tabu is the pinnacle of her power as an actor. She knows exactly which button to press in her histrionic toolbox to get the correct emotions.This level of selfcertainty poses the looming of problem for the actress as the great performances may no longer come from a place of complete honesty and transparency.
This would be a pity. Tabu is a national treasure who perhaps needs to be protected from herself.She is superior to 90 percent of the performing fraternity and she knows it.
Tabu happens to be one of my favourite artistes.Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to establish a comfort level with Tabu. Ironic, because I’ve known her aunt Shabana Azmi for years and we are close friends.
As Tabu turns a year older, her proud aunt Shabana says, “She is havng the most glorious chapter of her career and I am very proud of her . She has held onto her own and created a niche for herself . I wish her a happy and challenging year ahead.”
Tabu the actress, has the passion to romance the nuances and portray people as fragile and transparently emotional. Even in a film like Bholaa, she created a character in a role devoid of challenge and appeal.
I can’t understand Tabu’s craving to be recognised as a cover girl. Her strange obsession of competing with Jennifer Lopez and Shilpa Shetty in the slim-and-svelte department is unfathomable.Sure, Tabu can look as svelte as J Lo if she (and her trainer) set her heart on it. But can J Lo act like Tabu in Maachis, Astitva, Chandni Bar, The Namesake and Andhadhun?
Once, during the shooting of Hu Tu Tu in Pune, Tabu burst into tears while emoting for one of the songs. When I told Lataji (Lata Mangeshkar, who had playbacked the songs), she laughed, “Did she cry because my singing was so bad?”
Tabu cried because all beautiful things — human beings, incidents and experiences — move her.
For me, Tabu has two faces: The pouty pinup girl , and the generous, thoughtful poetess, who responds to subtle stimuli. It is also hard to believe the girl who appears in the gossip columns is the same one who snuggles as close to Gulzar Saab as his own daughter Meghna.
But what I do know is Tabu is at peace with both aspects of her personality.
I remember Tabu’s one (and only) interview with me when she was fasting during Ramzan. She could barely open her mouth or eyes. But she bravely answered all my questions.She felt betrayed later, when I inadvertently quoted an off-the-record statement in her interview. For those who don’t know Tabu, every gesture in life indicates a moral message. Her emotions cannot be tarnished by tackiness, her feelings must not be smothered by sleaze. She’s upright and, therefore, not easy to please.
Tabu does not forgive or forget easily, but she does not let human betrayals colour her better judgement. It is almost as if she gleans her celluloid supremacy from the betrayals of life. The pain that she projected as Mumtaz in Chandni Bar or Aditi in Astitva comes from within her, making its way from her to the character until the person and persona become one.
Tabu doesn’t act. She reacts. I don’t think Tabu connects with this world of ceaseless deceptions and betrayals. That she thinks I belong to that world is rather shameful for me. As I look back, I wonder how many levels one has to go through to ‘prove’ oneself to a star before being considered a friend.And, at the end of that trial, you wonder if stars are capable of forming true friendships.