A Tête-à-Tête With The Super Talented Tabu

The powerhouse performer gets candid about life, travel, and all her myriad passions.



What’s Life Without a Good Laugh?
I admire people with a sense of humour. I grew up in a family that loves a good joke, and I subconsciously compare others to my uncles and cousins who have a crazy sense of humour. And I also love watching movies that make me laugh! Angoor, the Amol Palekar-starrer Gol Maal, and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro are still my go-to films. Anees Bazmee’s Welcome is one of my all-time favourite comedies. When it comes to my filmography, I enjoyed working in comedies like Saajan Chale Sasural, Golmaal Again, Hera Pheri, and Biwi No. 1. Working with David Dhawan and Govinda—one of the most fun actors ever—was a dream!

A Homely Affair
I like my space to be very accessible and real. My windows are open most of the time because I like a lot of natural light coming into the house. Luckily, I can see the sunrise and sunset from where I live. And my house is filled with flowers all the time—mogra, rajnigandha, lilies, and more. Even my balcony has many plants; maybe that’s why a lot of birds and butterflies visit me!

I’m not a fan of having different décor themes for various rooms; it disorients me. I like the house to have a uniform feel. And since I don’t have a television in my bedroom, the TV room is my favourite place to unwind. I read and write there. Also, I love colouring books for grownups— they are time-consuming, but so relaxing and I really swear by them to melt away all that stress!

Creative Bonds
The strongest professional associations I’ve had in my career are with Vishal Bhardwaj (Maqbool and Haider) and Gulzar sir (Maachis). We’re on the same wavelength where cinema and creativity are concerned. They have given me the maximum creative freedom when it comes to interpreting my characters and the way I perform them. There is mutual respect for each other, which helps us create work that people enjoy and look forward to

Travel Diaries
One of the best advantages my profession has given me is the luxury to travel all over India and the world. It was my dream to become a flight attendant—which I fulfilled in a way by playing the part in my film Crew. And there are so many places I hold close to my heart. I love Rajasthan for its exquisite beauty. I got to explore Siliguri and its tea estates when I was shooting for a Bengali film in the region. I’d visited Kashmir as a child and I went back to shoot Haider; but I’m keen to explore the interiors of this pretty state, too. Abroad, I was captivated by Egypt and Seychelles. I’ve explored Koh Samui (and the rest of Thailand), Switzerland, Budapest, Turkey, and Venice, as well. The USA, however, is my favourite vacation destination! I’ve been going there every year since I was six because I have family there.


Come Fly With Me
As you can see, I’m quite the frequent flier! And because of that, I have pretty specific preferences. For instance, I enjoy sitting on the aisle seat since it’s easier to get up and go out without jumping over a sleeping passenger. But I prefer the window seat when I fly to Kashmir because it’s the most beautiful landing amid snow-capped mountains and lush valleys.

I also do a lot of reading and writing on my flights. What I love about ‘leaving on a jet plane’ is that one is disconnected from the world for at least a couple of hours. Also, when you’re in an aircraft, you feel like you’re a part of this big community or a family travelling together. As I mentioned, I recently played the role of a cabin crew personnel and I really want to acknowledge the kind of work they do and the erratic hours they put in, all with a smile. Hats off to all of them!

Foodie’s Delight
To be honest, I’m not a typical foodie, but I certainly enjoy a good meal, especially Thai and Persian cuisine, Kerala fare, and the desserts from my native Hyderabad. And I still remember the meals I had at this Vietnamese restaurant called Saigon 48, opposite my apartment in New York City. I made lifelong friends in the Big Apple when I was there to film The Namesake and we went to almost every restaurant in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen.

Clothes Call!
I believe a person’s taste in clothes says a lot about them. Maybe that’s why I spend a lot of money and time on planning my clothes and wardrobe. My brief to my stylist is to not get me things that the whole world is wearing. I am not a fan of mass-produced and homogenised fashion. Generally speaking, I’m most comfortable in jeans and I simply love the blue denims-white shirt-denim jacket combo.

Up Next
My romantic thriller with Ajay Devgn, titled Auron Mein Kahan Dum Tha, will hit theatres on 5 July. It’s directed by Neeraj Pandey and I am very excited about it. I am also thrilled to be a part of the global franchise, Dune: Prophecy, and to be working with some of the most brilliant creators, actors, and crew in the industry. Tonnes of exciting things coming up!

A book you’re currently reading?
The Alchemist—I’m reading it again
after 20 years!
All-time favourite Hindi film?
A destination on your bucket list?
South America.
OTT shows you enjoyed watching?
The White Lotus and Jamtara –
Sabka Number Ayega.
Ice cream or moong dal halwa?
Moong dal halwa.
A sport you enjoy.
I love swimming.
A lesser-known trait of yours?
I can sleep in any condition!

Related: Kriti Sanon Gets Candid About Her Stardom and Life Off-Screen