There are no heroes or villains in AndhaDhun: Tabu gets candid about Sriram Raghavan’s next and more – Tabu loves a good laugh. And that comes as a pleasant surprise for anyone who speaks to her for the first time. After all, the National Award-winning actress is known for her intense performances in movies such as Maachis (1996), Astitva (2000), Chandni Bar (2001), Maqbool (2003) and Drishyam (2015).
During the 20-minute phone conversation, she often breaks out into peals of laughter. Tell her that we expected a much more serious conversation, and she responds, “Main aise hi sabko ullu banati hoon. If I make you laugh, then you won’t ask me any serious questions.”
The powerhouse performer has had a busy last few months, with Golmaal Again, Missing and a cameo in Sanju. Now, she will be seen in Sriram Raghavan’s AndhaDhun along with Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte. The trailer, which released on September 1, has piqued everyone’s interest, but Tabu is guarded when she speaks about her role and the plot. “It’s a film that one really can’t say anything about because saying even one thing will be a spoiler,” she says. Over to the actress…
This is the first time you’re working with director Sriram Raghavan. How was the experience?
He is a fabulous director. You can’t encapsulate the stories of his films and put them in just one line. His movies are about people who are stuck in certain situations and their journeys. What’s unusual is the way he conceives the characters and the material he gives them to do because the characters are as real as they are bizarre.
How important is your role to the plot?
Importance toh I can’t say; I hope it’s very important (laughs). But in all of his films, you cannot pinpoint and say that the story is about these one or two central characters. Every character is crucial to the plot, even if they are there for one scene or from the beginning to the end. All I can say is that Sriram Raghavan has a very interesting take on my role.
Would you classify it as a thriller?
We can’t put AndhaDhun in this genre. I don’t believe in classifying so much. However, movies do get classified, especially with Sriram because he’s a master in that zone. But this film is like a rabbit hole, which goes from here to there and you don’t know where the story is going to go.
A bit like Badlapur, would you say?
Correct. There are no heroes or villains in this movie either. They are just being themselves, carrying out their own desires or aspirations and doing the best in the situation that they are in.
You did a lot of comedy films in the initial years of your career, but it was after a series of serious roles that one saw you in Golmaal Again last year…
Yes, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a really long time. I always wanted to be a part of the Golmaal franchise, even if it was a cameo and told Rohit (Shetty) about it whenever we met. I enjoyed watching those films, especially Tusshar’s character. My role turned out to be quite interesting and intense. And I had so much to do. The other guys have been there for 11 years. I was the new entrant, though I’ve known Ajay (Devgn) and the others for so long. It was a win-win situation for me. I knew them all, it was a fantastic set-up, it was so crazy. You can imagine the fun that we must have had on sets. There was Johnny (Lever) bhai whose side I did not leave during the entire film! I was only sitting with him and laughing all day. It was fantastic to work with Rohit and the movie became such a huge hit. I have a great connection with Golmaal.
You’ve worked with Salman Khan earlier in films such as Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999) and Jai Ho (2014). Now, you’re working with him again in Bharat. However, you have never been cast opposite him…
I’ve never been offered a film opposite Salman. But we have done some great work together and I’m happy with it. When you enjoy working with someone and share a comfort factor, it’s like being with family. For me, the experience is more important than who I’m paired opposite.
You like taking sabbaticals, but now, you have quite a few films back-to-back after a long time…
Yes. A lot of good work, mere matlab ka kaam, has been offered to me (smiles). The type of roles I have done in the past four-five years were the kind I really wanted to do. I don’t think anybody would have said no to those characters, whether it was Life of Pi (2012), Haider (2014), Fitoor (2016), Drishyam (2015) or now, AndhaDhun and Luv Ranjan’s next. For me, it’s always been exciting to play multi-layered characters who have their own strength and personality. I’m so glad that in the past few years, these varied roles have come to me that have so much to contribute to a story. In a film like Golmaal Again, my character was the sutradhar while in Fitoor, I had an intense role that loomed large over the love story of two young people. Vishal (Bhardwaj) has given me the two best roles of my career (Maqbool and Haider) (smiles).
Was your character in Drishyam a tough one, too…
It was so powerful and had so many shades. And yes, it was really difficult to pull it off. It was about knowing how much to let go and how much to hold back. She could easily look like the villain. But if you don’t play on her power and strength, she would look weak and you cannot afford to do that. She needs a powerful mind to combat exactly what the hero is trying to pull iff on her. So, it was a combination of all those traits and was written beautifully. I think it was one of the most well-written characters for female actors.
So will the sabbatical come later?
No ya, I’m busy till March. But I don’t intend to take a sabbatical. Kitne loon yaar (laughs)! I’ll take small breaks instead.
Actually, one gets time in between because everything is so well organised now. The style of working has changed and it allows you to do your own thing as well. Anyway, I like to do my own thing (smiles).