Tabassum Fatima Hashmi, popularly known as Tabu, is one of the best film actresses. She has marked her footsteps in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali films. Tabu was born to Jamal Hashmi and Rizwana to a Hyderabadi Muslim family. She attended St. Anns High School in Hyderabad before moving to Mumbai in 1983 to study at St. Xavier's College for two years.
Legendary actor Dev Anand had given her name Tabu when she was working with him as a child artiste. It was for Hum Naujawan, 1985. She appeared in 1980's film Bazaar also for a small role.
Film producer Boney Kapoor signed Tabu opposite Sanjay Kapur in the film Prem. The movie flopped as its filming took a long duration of 8 years. But, her career took off well. As an actress, she debuted with a Telugu film Coolie No.1, along with the south superstar Venkatesh in 1991.
Tabu's first film in Hindi was Pehla Pehla Pyar, but Vijaypath (1994) opposite Ajay Devgn brought her recognition. The actress won the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award for the film. In 1996, her eight films hit the theatres including Saajan Chale Sasural and Jeet which proved super hits. Then released Maachis in which she was starred opposite Chandrachur Singh. The film was critically acclaimed. She won her first National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in this film.
Madhur Bhandarkar directorial Chandni Bar, in which she portrayed the role of a bar dancer, gave her immense praises. She won her second National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance.
The actress also starred in the Telugu blockbuster Ninne Pelladata opposite Nagarjuna. For the film, she won her the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu. In 2000, Tabu and Aishwarya Rai starred in the Tamil film 'Kandukondain Kandukondain'.
Tabu says, "There has been immense growth and progress in my personality through my work. The people I've interacted with, the films I've done...the bandwidth increases. That's the thing of value for me. I don't know how I would define myself minus my acting. People know me because of my work, my career."