12 Lesser Known Facts About Tabu: From Her Real Name, Blackbuck Poaching Case To Her First Affair

Tabu has proved herself to be one versatile actress over the years. However, many chapters of her life are still under the wraps. Here are 12 unknown facts about Tabu!


By Shreya Sharma Last Updated:

12 Lesser Known Facts About Tabu: From Her Real Name, Blackbuck Poaching Case To Her First Affair

Tabu is an ageless beauty inside out and is indeed one strong woman. She is never spotted at parties as she does her work and goes back home. She was born on November 4, 1971, to Jamal Ali Hashmi and Rizwana and her real name is Tabassum Fatima Hashmi. Over the years, we have seen Tabu prove the mettle of her acting with some impressive films like Chandani Bar, Life of Pi, Maqbool and Haider.   

While Tabu’s professional life is always the talk of the town, her love life rarely hits the headlines. Even after being in a relationship with Sanjay Kapoor, Sajid Nadiadwala and Akkineni Nagarjuna, Tabu failed to find her Mr perfect and start married life. We are proud of how more than her love life, it’s her work that makes a sound in the media galleries. Did you know Tabu's first appearance in front of the camera was when she was just ten years old? Here we are to reveal some of the most interesting facts about Tabu’s life, so dive in!

#1. Tabu as a child artist

Tabu as child artist

Tabu was only 10 years old when she had made her first appearance as a child artist. She had a small role in the film, Bazaar. Later, when she had turned 14, she had acted again in Dev Anand’s film, Hum Naujawan and had played the role of his daughter. Her first big break as an actress was in a Telugu movie, Coolie No. 1, opposite the South actor, Venkatesh.

#2. Tabu's Bollywood debut film took eight years to complete

Tabu and Sanjay Kapoor

In 1987, producer, Boney Kapoor had signed Tabu opposite his younger brother, Sanjay Kapoor in the film, Prem. The film took eight years to complete but did not do well at the box office. This was the time when Tabu had started dating Sanjay Kapoor and it was her first serious affair. Nobody knows what went wrong but the two actors were not on talking terms by the end of the film's shoot. Speaking about their short-lived affair, Sanjay had said in an interview with The Times Of India:

"I was dating Tabu at that time initially, but by the end of it, we were not talking to each other."

#3. Tabu's ticket to fame with the film, Vijaypath

Tabu Vijaypath

In 1994, Tabu and Ajay Devgn’s film, Vijaypath went on to become the biggest hit of that year. For the film, Tabu had also won the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. In 1996, Tabu had given a series of hit films like Jeet, Sajan Chale Sasural etc. According to Tabu, one of the most difficult scenes she had worked on is from Virasat where she had to sing on her first night using a unique lip movement for orchestration.

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#4. Tabu's parents' divorce

Tabu Childhood

Tabu was born to Jamal Hashmi and Rizwana on November 4, 1971, in Kolkata. She was just a child when her parents got divorced. Her mother was a school teacher. Tabu did her schooling at St. Anns High School in Hyderabad. In 1983, she had moved to Mumbai and studied at St. Xavier’s College for two years. After that, she had joined Bollywood to pursue her career as an actress.

#5. Tabu is a pure vegetarian


While in the film, Cheeni Kum, Tabu was a hardcore non-veg lover, who loved Chicken Biryani a lot, however, in real life, she is a pure vegetarian. However, Tabu’s mother cooks flawless Biryani, but she prefers to stay vegetarian, no matter what.

#6. Tabu and her hundreds of nicknames


From ‘Tabs’, ‘Tubs’ to ‘Tubby’ and many more, Tabu has more than a hundred nicknames in the film industry. However, the most popular nickname of Tabu remains to be ‘Tobler’ and ‘Toblerone’ and even her email id has one of her nicknames. On the other hand, Tabu’s real name is Tabassum.

#7. Tabu never experiments with her hair


While Tabu and experimental roles sound synonymous, she hates experimenting with her hair. She can be seen performing some unconventional roles and characters, but one can never see her experimenting with her hairstyle in any of her films. She considers them as her biggest asset and continues to keep them long.

#8. Tabu's filmy roots

Tabu Shabana

Tabu belongs to the Hashmi-Azmi family of Bollywood. She is the niece of veteran actress, Shabana Azmi. Her elder sister, Farah Naaz has worked in films like Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri, Begunaah etc. Cinematographer, Baba Azmi is Tabu’s uncle, who is married to actress, Tanvi Azmi. Apart from Hindi and English, Tabu can fluently speak Urdu and Telugu.

#9. Tabu and her national awards


Tabu has won two National Film Awards for Best Actress, one for the film, Maachis and another for the film, Chandni Bar. She was also awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2011 for her contribution to Indian cinema. She also holds the maximum number of Best Actress (critics) wins at Filmfare with four awards in her kitty.

#10. Tabu as philanthropist


Tabu has been a philanthropist, helping her friends, well-wishers and everyone in need around her. She is also associated with Relief Projects India, which is a charitable trust, rescuing abandoned baby girls and working to prevent female infanticide. She has been working with various organisations and trusts, and hands over the earnings she gets by participating in various game shows.  

#11. Tabu and Ajay Devgn are childhood friends

Tabu and Ajay Devgn

Tabu shares a special bond with Ajay Devgn as they grew up together in the same neighbourhood. She blames him for her singlehood as he used to bully any guy, who would talk to her. Remembering their old days, in a 2017 interview with the Mumbai Mirror, Tabu had said:

"Yes, Ajay and I have known each other for 25 years. He was my cousin Sameer Arya’s neighbour and close buddy, a part of my growing up years and that has laid the foundation of our relationship. When I was young, Sameer and Ajay would spy on me, follow me around and threaten to beat up any boys who are caught talking to me. They were the big bullies and if I am single today, it is because of Ajay. I hope he repents and regrets what he did."

#12. Tabu charged with blackbuck poaching case


In 1998, during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain, along with her co-stars, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Neelam Kothari, Tabu was charged with the poaching of two blackbucks on the outskirts of Kankani village in Jodhpur district, Rajasthan. A lower court had charged the actors under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.


Later, she had filed a revision petition before a sessions court, which had discharged her of Section 51 (causing harm to wildlife) of Wildlife Act and both of 147 (punishment of rioting) and 149 (Unlawful assembly of persons) of the IPC. Tabu was acquitted in the case on April 5, 2018, however, the Rajasthan High Court had issued a notice for her, challenging her acquittal on March 11, 2019.

Tabu has seen both good and bad in her life, but this hasn’t impacted her outlook towards life. She is a brilliant actress and a strong individual, inspiring millions and setting examples on how to be brave and happy, no matter what!

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