Interview Hindi

Tabu: I am a superstar for my dog, he doesn't care if my film was a hit


The versatile actress gets talking about Golmaal Again, the reason why she loves being with people who constantly make her laugh, and why she blames Ajay Devgn for her single status.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Keyur Seta

Tabu is one of the finest actresses in Hindi cinema. But she hasn’t been seen regularly on the silver screen in the past few years. In other words, she has proved that she won’t do films just to lengthen her filmography. After doing what we call typical commercial Hindi films, Tabu shifted gears and started taking up unconventional roles with films like Maachis (1996), Iruvar (1997), Virasat (1997), Hu Tu Tu (1999) and, most importantly, Chandni Bar (2001).

After doing an array of serious roles, an artiste tends to get the image of a serious individual. But this is where Tabu took us by surprise when she showed her comic side during an interview for her upcoming madcap entertainer, Golmaal Again, the fourth film in the Golmaal series. 

Tabu got talking on how she agreed to do the Rohit Shetty film, why she always likes to be with people who are humorous and why she blames first co-star and long-time friend Ajay Devgn for her single status. Excerpts:

How were you convinced to do Golmaal Again?

I really thought it would be great to be part of this franchise. I always thought that. When I heard the subject and the narration, [I felt] the role was apt for me. It’s a lovely role. It fits in beautifully in this big franchise. I was very happy and excited because everything just fit perfectly. 

Barring a few actresses like Sridevi, do you think the comedy genre is mostly aimed at males?

Yes, it is not common to see comic parts being written for women. This holds true for any era of films both nationally or internationally. It’s not the norm to see women in comic characters. 

The film is a horror comedy. Do you believe in ghosts?

I used to till a certain age. Then the myth got busted and I had my own understanding about ghosts. But apart from ghosts, this whole realm of the occult really interests me. I don’t know how much I believe in it. I have my own understanding of it. But I get attracted and excited by anything anybody says about these things. I love all this mumbo-jumbo.

You had recently said your family has an amazing sense of humour and you like being with people who make you laugh. Was that one of the reasons why you signed this film?

Absolutely! I am somebody who cannot stay without laughing. In fact, Irrfan [Khan] keeps saying, ‘If your future husband doesn’t have a sense of humour, you would die.’ So, people know that about me. But it’s not that I am always laughing. See, I have grown up with mamas [uncles] who have a killer sense of humour. They can make a joke of anything and everything. So, we have come to understand that people are like this and everybody should be saying something funny and sarcastic and making wisecracks all the time. Hence, if someone doesn’t do it, I feel very strange. But luckily I have found friends and got attracted to people with a sense of humour. 

You acted with Ajay Devgn way back in Vijaypath (1994) and Haqeeqat (1995), more than 20 years ago. Then you worked with him recently in Drishyam (2015) and now in Golmaal Again. What changes have you noticed in him as an actor and a person?

There has been no change in him or in me, I think (laughs). We are the same as we were before. Our relationship is also the same, which is good. I don’t think he has changed at all. I think this happens very rarely and it’s very good. This means that your basic core is very strong. If your core doesn’t change, it means you are a very grounded person. 

Ajay Devgn recently said that during college days, whenever a guy used to chase you, he and other friends used to beat him up.

That’s the reason I am still single (laughs). I am still suffering due to it.

You are starring again with Devgn in Luv Ranjan’s next. The film is a romantic comedy. Are you exploring more light-hearted roles now?

See, I am doing whatever is being offered to me. I am making a selection from there. But yes, it’s a lovely genre to be part of and the script is very interesting.

Most of the roles you have played have been prominent and substantial. Has this been a criterion for you to choose films?

No, that’s not the only criterion. It so happened that these roles, characters and films came to me and I found them interesting. There was no intention that I will do female-centric or women-oriented cinema. They just came, I felt good and I did them. There wasn’t any plan. It all fell into place. It’s very good to see that I am identified with important roles, characters or cinema. 

You have played a wide range of characters in your career. Has there been any specific character that has stayed with you for long?

I think Hu Tu Tu’s character was one of the few because it was really poles apart from what I am. It was quite dark. It was grey and then it becomes totally dark. Maqbool (2003) was one such. Characters that are so larger than life that they will shake your equilibrium and ask something more from you. Even Haider (2014) and The Namesake (2007). Cheeni Kum (2007) I related to a lot. Astitva (2000) also. It was very close to me internally. Chandni Bar (2001) affected me a lot when I read the script. It’s about how you react when you are reading these characters. 

What is your way of unwinding?

Listening to music, but not all the time. Sometimes music doesn’t help me unwind at all. I like spending time with my mother, speaking to my friends and spending time with my dog, who doesn’t know anything about cinema (laughs). He doesn’t care how my interview went, how I am looking, whether my film was a hit or whether it received good reviews. I go home and I am the biggest superstar for him. I am happy in that attention.

Even when you do an ensemble cast film, people have this mindset that if Tabu is there then the film has to be good in content.

Arre baap re! I feel I should start charging extra for this (laughs). This much amount for acting, this much for promotions, and some more for the trust of the audience. 

Any role you haven’t played which you would like to play?

Actually I have never played the role of a doctor. It’s strange, na? Every actor has done this role with that coat on and [the dialogue], 'Yeh davaiyaan le aaiye [Get these medicines].' I also would like to play a pilot. That will be good. 

You are active on Instagram but not on Twitter or Facebook where one can voice one's opinion.

I have no interest in voicing my opinion. I am very happy with my life (laughs). Putting my pictures on Instagram is enough for me because I like photographs. I like the fact that through one picture you can say so much. And I am not the kind of person who constantly wants to give an opinion. I am like this even in my relationships. I need my space. 

Any recent film that you have liked?

I have not seen any yaar. I am so busy with Golmaal Again actually in the past 6-7 months that I haven’t had the time to watch anything.