Tabu Reflects on Her Trailblazing Journey and Box Office Triumph with ‘Crew’

The Hindi film industry was set ablaze with the unexpected success of the heist comedy ‘Crew’, which shattered the ₹100 crore benchmark at the box office, challenging the prevailing belief that only male-led action dramas could prosper in the post-pandemic cinematic landscape.

Anchoring this triumph is the versatile Tabu, who shared the cinematic canvas with fellow powerhouses Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kriti Sanon in the movie helmed by director Rajesh Krishnan, under the aegis of producers Rhea Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, and Anil Kapoor. “The film encapsulated several elements that resonated with the audience and I was confident about its potential success,” Tabu proclaimed.

Residing at the twilight of her 50s, Tabu has navigated a series of box office hits that include ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ and ‘Drishyam 2’, as well as pivotal roles in ‘Kuttey’, ‘Bholaa’, and the Netflix original ‘Khufiya’. Her career trajectory emphatically showcases a female actor’s ability to defy age and generational gaps and still dictate the dynamics of cinema.

When reminded of industry observations that place her alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor as one of the few actors with multiple post-pandemic hits, Tabu jests with a laugh, “So I have now become a hero?” Then, on a more reflective note, she adds, “This chapter in my career is indeed gratifying; the contentment comes from audiences flocking to theaters, embracing the films I am a part of. A successful film is the sum of its parts—not solely the script, direction, or acting. Present something fresh and the audience will embrace it across any genre and language.”

The past decade has been marked by Tabu’s remarkable evolution. Following her stellar performance in Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Haider’, mainstream ventures such as ‘Drishyam’ and ‘Andhadhun’ further cemented her box office appeal.

Reflecting on the industry’s anxiety during lockdowns, Tabu recounts how assumptions proliferated about the death of cinema in favor of digital platforms—a notion she never shared. She suggested patience until post-pandemic normalcy, and as theaters began buzzing again, she wryly reminded her colleagues, “What did I tell you?” The contemporary narrative has shifted, she notes, from the digital platform’s dominance to the revival of cinema.

Regarding ‘Crew’, the film resonated with female audiences who relished the camaraderie and locker room banters of the three leads, pulling off an improbable heist. Tabu credits producer Rhea Kapoor for her acumen in casting, asserting that only certain scripts can come alive with the right ensemble.

The film, penned by Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri, landed many memorable one-liners, some of which were spontaneously cultivated on the set. Tabu played Geeta Sethi, a character with depth, humor, and complex shades—a former beauty queen with an iron resolve masked beneath her vulnerability.

Her repertoire isn’t devoid of comedies; she flourished in films like ‘Saajan Chale Sasural’ and ‘Biwi No.1’. Tabu remains unswayed by the modern penchant for script reads and workshops, relying instead on her extensive experience—comprising nearly a century of film credits—to capture the essence of her characters.

In lighter roles of recent years, Tabu has delivered complexity with an entertaining bent but ensures that her professional dedication remains unwavering. She acknowledges the seismic shifts in the film industry, from the frantic multitasking of the 1990s to the more introspective and selective pace of current times.

With nearly four decades under her belt, Tabu remains relevant and engaged with an ever-evolving audience. She steadfastly maintains that staying connected with the younger generation is pivotal but confesses she don’t meticulously study trends; she prefers to assimilate information organically, letting intuition guide her towards what might resonate with viewers.

Looking forward, Tabu eagerly anticipates the release of ‘Auron Mein Dum Tha’, a romantic tale helmed by director Neeraj Pandey with Ajay Devgn. In pondering the breadth of roles now available to actors across age spectrums, she asserts that the film industry has always housed opportunities—shaped by societal changes and audience preferences. For Tabu, what ultimately matters is the power of storytelling and how an actor fits into the narrative’s mosaic.

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