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I won’t share my craft: Tabu

The actress gets candid with Arnab Banerjee on films, life and awards

entertainment Updated: Apr 04, 2007 13:31 IST
Arnab Banerjee
Arnab Banerjee

She is known as any director’s delight, for whom its half the battle own with her in the lead. But to many, she could be their nightmare too. That’s because Tabu seldom gives in to the umpteen chases that some directors give her.

Only to be greeted with a firm ’No’ in return. Those may be filmmakers hounding her for a cause. She can be very indifferent to all the hype that surrounds her. “But if there’s nothing much happening in my life, what am I going to say to you guys?’ is her favorite line to deviate from media glare.

After a long hiatus, the ever-elusive Tabu agrees to share her life in an exclusive chat, as her new released film The Namesake garners rave reviews from around the world.

You have made winning awards a habit?

I don’t know if this is as simple as it sounds to people… But the fact remains that I don’t work towards achieving any awards. If it comes my way, I am happy and if awards don’t happen.. I don’t get unduly worried.. or even think about them. It’ s the media and the public who give certain tags to us and this happens all the time.

But many great people like Shekhar Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan and your aunt Shabana Azmi keep gushing about you?

That’s very sweet of them really. It’s really kind of them to say such nice things about me.

It does make you feel great?

As I said earlier, it doesn’t really make me feel elated or makes me walk on seventh heaven. Of course I am flattered when good things are said about me. Who wouldn’t like praise anyway?

When you signed

The Namesake,

did you know that even the foreign media was waiting to see you on screen?

Is that true? I don’t know for sure. But I did know that Mira (Nair)’s interpretation would be true to the book and I was looking forward to working with her. I had read the book long back and wanted to see how Mira would tell the story.

So you knew your character Ashima inside out. It must have been easy to portray her then?

No.. I had read the novel and knew what it was all about but at the end of the day, it is Mira’s film and her storytelling.

It’s her story too, in many ways.

I believe so. But my character has been etched out by Mira differently from the book. If you remember Ashima is not a classical singer. Then there are a few understated things which are created by the director and we as actors only follow her command.

Was classical singing added to enhance your part since you also take classical music lessons in real life?

No I don’t think so.

Your Bengali accent has come in for criticism.

For me, it was rediscovering another culture, another set-up, another language after my pleasant experience in Gautam Ghosh’s

Abar Aranye

. I did learn the language and it was a major challenge to adapt myself to somewhat alien setting but I think I managed well. But other than that, it is Mira whose keen eye for detail – both creative as well as technical- should be given full credit to.

Like the scene in the kitchen when Ashima and her daughter-in-law are frying


, and Ashima gets to hear her speak something on the phone, Mira asked me to just look up a split second on hearing certain words that this girl speaks on the phone. It was only after I saw the film that I realized what she meant when she instructed me subtly. One twitch of an eyebrow can be so evocative under a competent director.

There are many instances in the film I get to enjoy all the more after I see the film but didn’t realize their significance while I was enacting them

So you don’t give any credit to yourself?
No, it isn’t either this or that theory. All I am trying to tell you is that as an actor one doesn’t do things to get noticed intentionally. By the way, I am not going to share my craft with anyone (laughs).

But to me, the whole process is to internalize any emotion that the story expects me to, which, in consultation with the director or the writer or both, allows me to explore a situation which the character may have faced. In the bargain, I get to experience so much and explore another facet to unfamiliar life. Isn’t that lovely?

Have you read the rave reviews that the foreign press has given you?
No. I am told by Irrfan (Khan) that that they have liked the film. I am going to read up on the net soon.

Any other new film on the cards?
No, so far nothing that I can share with you. There’s Cheeni Kum releasing next month with Amitji for which there’s some dubbing work on at the moment. Other than this, there are offers that are too premature to talk about.

First Published: Apr 03, 2007 17:41 IST