Even as Tabu awaits the release of Mira Nair’s The Namesake — which will have a global release in March, first in the US and then in India — and Cheeni Kum, where she is paired with Amitabh Bachchan, the actor says that when it comes to regional cinema it is the Telugu and Bengali film industry that appeal to her.
“The Telugu and Bengali film industry have given me so many friends that now I feel at home,” says Tabu, who was in the city for a preview of The Namesake on Tuesday evening.
Though The Namesake is not a Bengali film, Tabu does play a Bengali in it. Which is why our words “Your Bengali accent was perfect” brings a smile to her face.
“It was a tense moment for me just after the screening was over. After all, when it’s a film from a particular region, the verdict of the people of that place matters most,” says the actor who plays Ashima Ganguli, a traditional Bengali girl who migrates to New York after marriage.
<b1>How did the actor pick up the accent? Tabu says that doing Goutam Ghose’s Abar Aranye helped. “While shooting for The Namesake I made endless calls to Chaiti (Ghoshal) and she never got tired of training me over phone,” says Tabu, who befriended the actor during her stay in Kolkata for Ghose’s film a couple of years ago.
The two-time National Award-winning actor (she won for Maachis and Chandni Bar) admits that playing Ashima was not easy as she got only two weeks to prepare. “I accepted the role because I admire Mira and her work and I was dead sure that whatever she was going to come up with would be brilliant,” says Tabu.
Though she hadn’t read the book earlier, Nair made her comfortable on the sets through extensive reading sessions. “I was nervous because we were briefed that the character would have to go as close as possible to what Jhumpa described,” says Tabu.
On Cheeni Kum, Tabu says she was elated to work with Bachchan in the comedy. “He was very satisfied with my work. I am waiting for the release,” says Tabu, who will also be seen in Bombay High opposite Madhavan.