People speculated about Nag & me: Tabu

MUMBAI: She lives life on her own terms and doesn’t believe in talking about her relationships unless necessary.

That’s Hyderabad’s very own Tabassum Hashmi for you (better known as Tabu). Winner of two National Awards, seven Filmfares and with 20-odd years in the film industry to her credit, Tabu has an uncanny habit of picking up unconventional roles and essaying them with effortless ease. “I’ve always been selective. No matter what people say, if I am convinced about a role, I pick it up,” she says, adding that this “philosophy extends to her life and relationships” too.

After her critically acclaimed Cheeni Kum everyone raved about her sizzling screen chemistry with Amitabh Bachchan. Tabu says the chemistry was really all about sharing a “human bond that goes beyond work”. She’s “eagerly waiting” for the Legend of Kunal to take off, so that she can work with Big B again. If in Cheeni Kum she fell for a man who’s older than her dad, in Legend of Kunal she’s going to seduce Arjun Rampal, a younger man who’s her stepson. And in Toh Baat Pakki she plays an elder sister with a fiercely protective streak. It’s also a role that has been inspired by Tabu’s own experiences and her rapport with her sister Farah who “was fiercely protective about me throughout. She was ready to fight my battles. When I was doing this film I understood what it’s like to be in her shoes.”

Besides doing arthouse films, Tabu is equally at ease in her glam avatar. In Season’s Greetings she plays a rich single woman and had Gaviin Miguel design her outfits long gowns and dresses with plunging necklines. In Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai, a remake of the Oscar winning Hollywood comedy, My Cousin Vinny, Tabu’s role as a lawyer is a “special appearance” for “good friend” Ravi Chopra.

What’s her take on the growing number of remakes in the Hindi film industry? “It’s always better to be original. But the effect of globalisation is undeniable it has touched our day-to-day life.”

Talking of global and regional crossovers, how easy was it for her to act in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and even an English movie? “Acting in an alien language has its disadvantages. You can’t improvise on the dialogues and have to stick to the dialogue sheet. Acting in Telugu was easy as I am fluent in it. I studied in Hyderabad and had learnt the language. After I went to Mumbai, my connection with the city was severed but it was re-established through the Telugu film industry.”

So, when’s her next Telugu film hitting the screens? “I’d love to do a film with Nag (Nagarjuna) again. Working with him is like a picnic. I am waiting for a really good script, I would not want to waste our pairing on something that’s not outstanding.”

Didn’t Nag announce in a TV chat show that Tabu was precious to him? And also is there more to the peck on the cheek at the recent Filmfare Awards? “For the past few years people have been speculating about us. I’m not getting into details. What you see is what you get,” she laughs as she signs off.