In her career of over three decades, she is versatile taboo has put on many clothes on celluloid. She was a conventional housewife, the ’90s lover, the ruthless killer with a dark sense of humor, and a bar dancer. And she did it all as only she can – with a lot of talent, unmistakable charisma and grace. The actress has been part of the commercial space, dancing with her “heroes,” and of course she’s the mainstay of realistic cinema, having starred in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (2012) and Mira Nair’s The Namesake (2006).
Ask Taboo if she even cares about the tags, and sometimes it annoys her to be known as an “intense actress,” and her answer on multiple occasions has been no, she doesn’t care much about the tags. But just like the rest of the world, she also likes to shake things up and have fun; Be light-footed, don’t prepare too much, or worry too much all the time. Just have fun with the sets. So it’s no wonder that Tabu did it too. Here’s a quick look at five of their characters who embody the definition of fun.
In this Hindi remake of the 1989 Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking, filmmaker Priyadarshan cast Tabu as the simple girl from a lower-middle-class household, Anuradha Shivshankar Panikar, who only wants to make ends meet to support herself and her ailing mother . She needs a job and she is willing to fight the hard fight to get it. But things take a funny turn when she meets the unsettling trio of Babu Rao (Paresh Rawal), Raju (Akshay Kumar) and Shyam (Suniel Shetty). Her interactions with Shyam, who she works romantically with in the film, are simultaneously cute and awkwardly funny, and who can forget a taboo with pigtails dancing the streets to “Main Ladki Pom Pom”?
Nina (Taboo) is a 34-year-old in London who one day rejects a Desi chef’s (Amitabh Bachchan) recipe for Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulao. She insists there is something wrong with it and that her mother would have known how to perfect it. An outraged Bachchan is angered by this kind of humiliation and takes it upon himself to walk over to Nina’s table and demand an explanation of what went wrong, all in his sardonic, scathing tone. And so begins their unconventional love story.
taboo is calmer here and often lets her sideways glances and smiles do the work. But as she opens her mouth, she manages to showcase Bachchan’s character while making us chuckle with her and cheer on her happy ending.
In this 2018 thriller film directed by Sriram Raghavan, Tabu is a murderess who committed multiple murders to cover up her first crime. Written by Raghavan, Hemanth M. Rao, Pooja Ladha Surti, Arijit Biswas and Yogesh Chandekar, the dialogue and screenplay are top notch and do Taboo’s undeniable skills a great service. You loathe taboo scheming Simi, but it’s difficult to keep a straight face when she’s on screen given how dispassionate, matter-of-fact, and unpredictable her character is.
“I’ve heard that some people fear me after seeing the film (Andhadhun) and so do the children in my building,” the actor lightheartedly told the Mumbai Mirror in a previous interview. Only an actor of Tabu’s caliber can evoke the parallel feelings of joy and fear in the viewer while watching the same film.
Taboo was a delight in this half-baked Saif Ali Khan and Alaya F film. She was Ananya; the hash-smoking, yoga-loving “hippie” mother of Alaya’s character in this 2020 release. Check out her opening sequence in the Nitin Kakkar direction, her first question to her pregnant daughter is – “Kiska ghar hai you eat ghar ki energy thik nahi hai (Whose house is this? The energy of this place isn’t quite right)’, and then expressing quiet surprise after learning of her long-lost partner – ‘mi gay? Kaun hai? (Oh, you found him! Who is he)?” And nothing can top that memorable line: “Meditation on hashish ke beech I had found inner peace(Somewhere between practicing meditation and smoking hash I discovered inner peace). Though only a cameo, Tabu proved once again why it only takes her five minutes to steal the show.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2
Given the massive box office success of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 helmed by Kartik Aaryan, I just assume that most of you reading this have already seen it. I wasn’t a fan of the film, but it’s really hard not to be a fan of Tabu’s work, even if it’s set in the goofy, gossipy world of Anees Bazmee. Tabu stars the dual role of Anjulika and Manjulika Chatterjee in which she will be a vamp, a jealous other woman, a scorned lover and a ghost, all in one horror comedy. Needless to say, Taboo was sensational.
More of this taboo, please.