Tabu on De De Pyaar De, working with Ajay Devgn, and being in the most interesting phase of her career
Tabu says it has not been difficult for people to accept her in different kind of roles as she has always been versatile with her film choices.
Tabu is one of those rare actors who have often shattered conventions with their choices. With that, she has also remained relevant in a career spanning nearly three decades. She may be the product of commercial cinema as films like Vijaypath, Saajan Chale Sasural got her recognition initially, but no other actress has straddled the commercial and art space (Maqbool, The Namesake, Haider, Drishyam...) the way she has. And while the actress is still basking in the success of the stupendous success of Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun, she is all set for her next silver screen outing in De De Pyaar De, a romantic comedy in collaboration with her close friend Ajay Devgn.
The actress was drawn towards De De Pyaar De due to its uniqueness. “Complications in relationships, characters that are not commonly seen and, of course, my role attracted me to the film. I play a strong-willed, independent-minded person,” she says. Tabu essays the role of a wife whose ex-husband (Ajay Devgn) is dating a girl (Rakul Preet Singh) over two decades younger than him.
“It's not about two women vying for a man; it’s not just humour and mindless laughter; there is seriousness and maturity. The film is relevant for all age groups because we are speaking to and speaking about people in their 40s, 20s and teens and that’s the beauty of the film." She also gave her nod because her longtime friend Devgn was a part of it. "Ajay has not changed at all. He is the same person he always was and that comfort level of working with him is always a bonus. Every time we work together, our chemistry goes a notch higher,” she says.
As Tabu has often said, she has thrives the most in unpredictability and jumping into the unknown which probably reflects in her versatility and the way she balances her films: “You need that kind of a film that gives people a different perspective of you. I think by chance it’s happened that every film I’ve done, especially in the last decade, has been so different from the previous film that it looks like I am deliberately trying to be different. Not that I did it consciously, or engineered it, but these films came to me and I wanted to be part of these, so things kept happening. Luckily, I have a history of having done different kinds of roles right from the outset of my career. I did Saajan Chale Sasuraal, Astitva to Biwi No 1, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Maachis, Chandni Bar, and then Maqbool, Life Of Pi and some Telugu films. Hence, it has not been so difficult for people to accept me in different kinds of roles. So, I am accepted in comedies as much as in serious and intense roles. I don't have to make any choice, such roles just come to me and I say, 'Okay,'" she says with a chuckle.
So which has been the most interesting phase of her career? “I think starting from Maqbool, Namesake, Cheeni Kum, Haider, Drishyam, Golmaal Again, Hera Pheri, till now...Andhadhun. I am really enjoying this phase because I am getting to do what engages me, inspires me; I am getting to work with fantastic directors. Sriram, Ang Lee, Mira Nair, Vishal Bharadwaj…all these are great minds,” says Tabu, adding, “I just want to retain the quality of my work and better it every time. I hope my work reflects the growth I have experienced in life and if I can apply all the growth and all my experiences in a good way to my work wherever I am at that point in my life, it should reflect how I have grown.”
Did she fear playing a killer in Andhadhun? “No, no I loved it. I enjoyed it. At present, whatever I am doing is without any fear and expectation. And where do you get to play such characters? Whatever I can’t do in real life, I have done all of that in Andhadhun (laughs out loud). I didn’t leave anything. I killed an innocent old woman in the neighbourhood; I slapped the kid, deleted his video...” she says. And with Andhadhun setting new records in China, she says excitedly, “Sriram and I were in Los Angeles when we got the news of its big success in China. It shows that a good film can cross the barriers of language and forma. I am sure not lot of people over there know us.”
Considering that her name brings credibility a project, does that ever pressurise her? “A film has to match my intention to do something good. I cannot work in isolation, so many things have to come together for that spark to come out. It has to be a combination of a lot of factors.”
Tabu isn’t sure about getting into direction but she does enjoy writing, she says. Tell her Rani Mukerji will be soon turning director, and Tabu’s face lights up as she excitedly asks, “Does she want to cast me? I would say 'yes' to her without reading the script,” she signs off.
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