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Tabu: I never dreamt of becoming an actress

Last updated on: February 5, 2010 20:10 IST

'I never dreamt of becoming an actress'

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Patcy N in Mumbai

Tabu is such an elusive actress that pinning her for an interview is next to impossible.

But thanks to her upcoming movie, Toh Baat Paki, where she plays a conniving woman eager to marry off her sister to the best suitor, Patcy N got a chance to quiz the actress.

Read on as Tabu sheds light on her comeback film, her views on today's women and what she does in her spare time.

We're seeing you after a long time. What have you been upto?

I caught up on my sleep, met friends, travelled, read and wrote a lot, and fiddled with photography. I also did a Telugu film.

Why don't we see more of you in movies?

A lot of requirements need to be met for me to say yes to a movie -- the role, story, cast and producer should be good. I never compromise on these things.

Okay, you're choosy. So what made you choose Toh Baat Paki?

I was longing to do a comedy for a long time and was waiting for someone to offer me a good script. Toh Baat Paki has everything that I wanted in a comedy -- a good story and comical situations. It is not a senseless comedy. It deals with the issue of marriage in a very entertaining manner.

I play an elder sister, who wants to marry off her younger sister to a rich boy. She finds the boy but decides to dump him in favour of a richer suitor.

So is comedy the only criteria for selecting Toh Baat Paki?

The character is also important. I was doing something that I had not done in a long time. My character is a little loud, quite different from the subtle roles I have done in the past. So it was exciting for me.

The rest of the cast was good too. I was told that Sharman Joshi is a nice guy. I like his work.

The director's [Kedar Shinde] background was good too. He knows his job. He is very flexible. If you tell him that the character in a certain scene should not react in a certain manner, he immediately finds a solution. He is open to suggestions. Plus, he comes from a theatre background. I never found him inexperienced. He has great timing and understands the actors.


Image: Tanushree Punwani/Reuters

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What message does the film send?

There is no deliberate message in Toh Baat Paki though we are tackling issues like dowry, love marriage, and other matters related to marriage. It also deals with the fact that people tend to overlook a person's character in favour of his wealth.

You said that you've always wanted to do comedy. But you come across as a very serious person. Even your films are serious.

I have established my identity by doing such roles. I love doing such roles. But I love comedy too. Just because I act in serious roles, people think I'm serious too. Yes, I am serious about things like work, education and responsibilities. But I can laugh too and when I start, no one can stop me. Once this happened when I was on a shoot. I laughed so much, the shoot had to be stopped.

Do you laugh at yourself?

I mostly laugh at my own embarrassing slip ups like when I say my dialogues wrong or when I fall. I don't mind people laughing at me.

So how do you define yourself?

I can't. My definition of me keeps changing. Sometimes I feel that all is well and at other times I get angry or upset. But most of the time I am happy.


Image: A scene from Toh Baat Paki

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'I am proud of all my films'

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Coming back to your roles, when did you start getting them according to your tastes?

I always did films that I liked and wanted to do. I never planned to make a career out of films. I refused to do films at the beginning because I wanted to study and it was after a lot of persuasion that I agreed to do a film. Prem was my decision too. I never dreamt of being an actress and I think this is the reason why I could do films that I wanted to do.

Did you face any problems in the industry?

No. I do wait for good things to happen and it takes time. But I have never been afraid during those times. I am confident that whatever happens is for the good. I was never insecure.

Of all the films you have done, which are the ones you are most proud of and which are the ones you regret doing?

I am proud of all my films. I am where I am because of all the decisions that I have taken.

Do you ever think of direction?

Yes, but I am very lazy. I am scared of the responsibility that comes with the job. I think I am not capable of managing so many people. I'm not ready right now. Maybe later.

You have been in the industry for so long. Have you changed in any way?

I don't feel that I have been in this industry for that long. There are many roles that I still want to do.

Like what?

The role of a warrior or a waitress.


Image: A scene from Toh Baat Paki

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'The way people look at a woman who chose to be single troubles me'

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You have portrayed women of all stratas with their own set of problems. What would you say about a woman of today? When do you feel proud about being a woman?

I feel proud of being a woman every time I do something without anyone's help or support. A woman should live life to the fullest without fear of what people are thinking. I think women have never been able to explore and express themselves. Women all over the world understand sense of responsibility better.

The way people look at a woman who chose to be single troubles me. We are independent and strong and in a position to do anything but I don't think it is easy for any woman. But it is necessary to break all the chains and move forward. I don't want to sound like a feminist but these are real issues. I am sure every woman must have come across this problem -- that she has to fight for her right.

What about the times when you're not proud about being a woman?

I hate exploitation of women. We have been told right from our birth that we are the weaker sex. That plays on our psychology and we start thinking that till the time we don't have a man in our lives, we are not safe. I feel women themselves are responsible for this. Change will come when there is progress on an individual level.

Do you think that in films too women don't get good roles?

It's a vicious cycle. We show what the audience likes to watch. Films are part of the society. But there are directors who have gone ahead and made women oriented films and I appreciate their efforts.

You were not approached for Paa even though you were in R Balki's first film Cheeni Kum?

Balki told me from the beginning itself that he couldn't cast me in Paa because I had played Amitabh Bachchan's love interest in Cheeni Kum. I couldn't play his mother in Paa, obviously.


Image: A scene from Toh Baat Paki

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'I joined computers classes once but ran away'

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What do you like to do in your free time?

Like I said, I love photography and writing my thoughts. I am learning to dance too.

Are you Internet savvy?

Yes. I joined computers classes once but ran away because I am scared of difficult subjects like mathematics. My grandfather Mohamed Eshaan, a great mathematician in Usmania University Hyderabad, was embarrassed because I would always fail in maths. But I do know how to operate a computer.

What are your forthcoming films?

I have Ravi Chopra's Banda Yeh Bindass Hai, Chandraprakash Diwedi's historical film Legend of Kunal based on the life of son of Emperor Ashoka, and Vicky Chopra's Seasons Greetings.


Image: A scene from Toh Baat Paki

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