‘There’s no template for a Hindi film heroine anymore’

Woman on top: Financial compensation comes last in Tabu’s list of priorities.

Woman on top: Financial compensation comes last in Tabu’s list of priorities.  

Tabu on her making choices, long-term collaborations and the changes she sees in the film industry

Clearly basking in the success of Andhadhun, Tabu is all praise for the film’s successful run at the box office. “[I’m] so proud and my heart is filled with the joy I’ve gotten out of it. I can say that it is completely well-deserved,” says the actor in a freewheeling chat with The Hindu at the end of a long day of promotions for her next release, Luv Ranjan’s De De Pyaar De. The comedy slated for release today, also stars Ajay Devgn and Rakulpreet Singh in the lead.

Tabu is one of the few actresses whose filmography ranges from critically acclaimed films like Maachis (1999) and The Namesake (2006) to masala potboilers like Jai Ho (2014) and Golmaal Again (2017). When asked what makes her greenlight a film she says, “I need to like the project, the director, the character. What role does that character play and how they affect the story? What is their contribution and significance in the film? Will I be able to add or lend anything substantial to the film? Is this experience adding to my experience? How does it pan out? Do I trust these people? Will it have a good release? How am I being compensated; financial compensation comes last in the list of my priorities!”

Partners in creativity

Her illustrious career is fraught with collaborations with industry stalwarts like Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj and Irrfan Khan. “Every association has a unique place in your life so with Gulzar saab — he is like a father figure. He has influenced my thought, my way of living, my work. He’s influenced the fact that I should continue growing in my creative self expression — whether it’s music or dancing that I started learning a few years back, singing or my writing,” she says, with warm affection. “With Vishal and Irrfan, it’s the most beautiful association, because the work that comes out of our collaboration has a quality of its own. I cannot separate it from my life and say that this is a good professional relationship. It’s a huge part of me and my personality that gets expressed in a unique way. They are the important cornerstones in the journey of my life. I’m so blessed to have found [them],” explains the actor.

With her portrayals of strong women in films like Astitva (2000), Chandni Bar (2001), Cheeni Kum (2007), Haider (2014) and Drishyam (2015), she recognises the changes that have come into the characterisation of women on-screen. “There is no template for a Hindi film heroine anymore. For many years things didn’t change and then suddenly in the last few years, there has been a lot of change. The characterisation for a heroine is not the same anymore; anything and everything goes. Different is the new norm. Nothing is sensational anymore,” she says. The actor feels, it depends on the filmmaker and their desire to change the status quo. “As an industry, we are all living by example. People are looking at each other and growing — most of them. Some are born to create; they are the ones who fit this standard. Some people have it in them to establish new boundaries.” The actor also noted another welcome change in the last few years. “Apart from the lead actors, the characters in a film are being given a lot of importance,” she asserts. “They’re getting a space of their own and it’s commendable that we have work and significance for actors of all ages. It’s always great to see a rainbow of characters in a film [that] make the film far more interesting.”

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 6:13:47 PM |

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