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"I did not want to do things the way they are usually done in Hindi cinema," that is the mantra Tabu says she has followed all throughout her career.
While 80s and 90s era of Bollywood was dominated by action and romantic-comedy films, the 2000s saw a mix of everything from off-beat cinema to commercial masala entertainers, but Tabu says she never followed the rule book.
In the 90s she was seen playing a Punjabi woman caught in the rise of Sikh insurgency in Maachis, a prostitute in Jeet, a family-oriented woman in Hum Saath Saath Hai and a suicide bomber in Hu Tu Tu.
In 2000s she played a bar dancer in Chandni Bar, a negative part in Maqbool, mother to Shahid Kapoor in Haider and a cop in Drishyam.
"I did not want to do things just because everyone else was doing it in the film industry. If I am comfortable doing work in a certain way, then I will do it my way with conviction. I want to act, perform in my own way.
"I had the conviction that my way will work... I followed my own self and individuality so much that it automatically made me a game changer or set me apart from others. I did not think it was necessary to do things the way others are doing it," Tabu says in an interview with PTI.
The actor insists she has never tried to prove a point and is glad that she could show her calibre through her work.
She says she has followed her own style irrespective of whether somebody liked it or not.
"You can like somebody, but you can't be somebody, you can only be you. I was not following any reference point or that 'I want to be like him or her or replace or be like anyone,' I never had that thing in me.
"I wanted to do my work in my own way and I was focused about it. I was not interested in being anybody or following anybody."
She may have done mostly intense roles in the past few years, but Tabu says she has always been open to doing other stuff as well.
"I have not consciously gone out of my way and done different stuff, with the intention to show that I am doing something hate work. My personality is such that I keep changing and evolving.
"I am always looking for new experiences. Work wise, it has always been a mixed thing for me. The point to be noted by others is that I have always been considered and chosen and wanted for all kind of genre of cinema, I feel that is my achievement in the film industry," she says.