For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

On Tabu’s Birthday, Her On-Screen Fashion From Maachis To A Suitable Boy Decoded


Tabu is one of the most versatile movie actresses and be it any movie, her on-screen presence leaves us all awe-inspired. She is gorgeous and commands attention whenever she is in the frame with her striking personality and spectacular performances. She is simply a class apart and someone, who has created space for herself - a beautiful balance in the industry driven by parallel and commercial. She is somewhere between both the extremes of cinema and relevant too. However, she has not only given us brilliant acting performances but given us unforgettable characters too with distinctive fashion sense. Born on 4 November 1970, today on Tabu's birthday, we are going to decode her fashion from some of the movies out of a number of movies that she has done. So, let's decode her movie fashion right from Maachis (1996) to A Suitable Boy (2020).

Source: Filmibeat

Tabu's Wardrobe In Maachis

Directed by Gulzar and with music by Vishal Bhardwaj, Maachis (1996) went on to become one of the most treasured films in the Indian cinema. Set against a backdrop of violent insurgency, Operation Blue Star, and the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Maachis is a romantic account. The movie has Tabu portraying the role of Veeran, who is a sprightly Punjabi village girl, who later transforms into one of the most intense characters. Keeping in tune with the sensibilities, her wardrobe in the movie mostly consisted of Patiala suits splashed in the bright shades like orange in the first half and muted tones in the second half. In the second half, she wore a sweater and dark-hued shawls, which suited her powerful role in the movie. In the movie, the muted wardrobe brought out her other side, which was about letting go of those vibrant days in the face of darker times.

Source: Filmibeat

Tabu's Wardrobe In Chandni Bar

Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, Chandni Bar (2001) revolves around the story of a young woman, Mumtaz, who is forced to become a bar dancer because of her circumstances. The movie also shows the doings of the gangster world but mostly, Chandni Bar highlights the issues of bar dancers. Between understated salwar suits with humble dupattas and risqué traditional wear, Chandni Bar can also studied from a fashion lens. Her blazing red traditional outfit with a dupatta and red lip shade became the poster look of the film. The costume designer incorporated bright hues like rani pink as well for showing Tabu's bar dancer character. While bar dancers outfits' are mostly characterised by vibrant hues but it also showed how bright can hide the dark world and Tabu's performance in the movie earned her a lot of critical appreciation.

Source: Tabu's Instagram

Tabu's Wardrobe In The Namesake

Based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri and directed by Mira Nair, Tabu earned the attention of international filmmakers too with The Namesake (2006). The movie, which also starred late Irrfan Khan, depicted the lives of first-generation immigrants. Tabu played the role of Bengali woman and a mother in this movie, who stays rooted in traditions despite moving to New York. She flaunted gorgeous and traditional Bengali sarees in the movie. Her sarees were accentuated by patterns, colour-blocks, and classy hues. In a few of the scenes, she even teamed her sarees with sweaters and long tan-hued coats. And one of our favourite scenes fashion-wise was the one in which she was seen trying sports shoes with sarees. Her brick red saree and pearl neckpiece pairing also gave us one of the prettiest moments. The movie absolutely made us fall in love with traditional Bengali sarees.

Source: Filmibeat

Tabu's Wardrobe In Haider

Haider (2014) is one of the most critically-acclaimed films in Tabu's career so far. The actress played the role of a Kashmiri woman in the movie. She plays the character of Shahid Kapoor's mother and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, this movie is based on Shakespeare's play Hamlet but with a backdrop of conflict and issues in Kashmir valley. This was one of the most powerful performances of Tabu, where she delicately showed a range of emotions with her character. In the movie, the seasoned actress wore traditional Kashmiri costumes consisting of dark pherans and richly-hued warm shawls covering her head. In one of the scenes, she also caught our attention with a bright red pheran adorned with intricate gold-toned embroidery. Just like Maachis or The Namesake, Tabu's outfits in Haider are also rooted in traditions.

Source: UTV Motion Pictures

Tabu's Wardrobe In Fitoor

Fitoor (2016), which also had Katrina Kaif in the lead, was also a movie where Tabu played the Kashmiri woman and the movie was directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The movie was based on Charles Dicken's novel, Great Expectations and this time, Tabu played the role of Miss Havisham but with poetic Kashmir as the backdrop. So, Tabu since the first frame was adorned with riches and luxury in her Pashmina shawls, jewel-toned traditional wear, embellished bordered ensembles, luxurious gowns, and strings of pearls and expensive jewellery. Even if the movie did average, Tabu's performance earned her appreciation and she looked every inch, Miss Havisham. The nose pin and red tresses accentuated her look. Tabu's wardrobe in Fitoor inspired designers, stylists, and fashionistas alike. From a fashion perspective too, this movie with Tabu is highly significant.

Source: Viacom18 Motion Pictures/PixMaker Studios/PictureMaker Studios

Tabu's Wardrobe In Andhadhun

Andhadhun (2018) was directed by Sriram Raghavan and it was certainly a dark comedy where Tabu was the anti-heroine of the Indian cinema. Dressed in western outfits right from black gowns to tops with printed shrugs and denims, Tabu portrayed the role of a modern mother with western sensibilities. However, we noticed that most of her costumes in the movie are highlighted by dark hues unlike the peppy numbers of Radhika Apte, whose role is as light as Tabu's dark. Even in the scene, which showed the murder of her husband in the bathroom, Tabu's choice of nightgown is black with a dab of muted floral accents. Her outfits in the movie might appear usual but suited her character's personality.

Source: Tabu's Instagram

Tabu's Wardrobe In Jawaani Jaaneman

The early 2020 film, Jawaani Jaaneman was directed by Nitin Kakkar and her also she wore western outfits but flaunted a bohemian style. Tabu's wardrobe in Jawaani Jaaneman is meticulous in its own way. She is the stylish mother in the movie, who is influenced by trends but a departure from the norms of the world. With patterned cloth hairbands, flared dresses, denims, tassel shrugs, and stone-inspired neckpiece, Tabu totally won us. Her colourful big side bags, golden frames, and softly-curled long tresses added to her look and with this, she gave us a refreshing look.

Source: BBC One

Tabu's Wardrobe In A Suitable Boy

Directed by Mira Nair and based on the novel by Vikram Seth, Tabu nails the role of a courtesan in the miniseries, A Suitable Boy (2020). She plays Ishaan Khatter's lover in the series and is seen as an eloquent singer with a dignified presence. Based on the fact that it was a period drama, the characters mostly exuded vintage vibes but Tabu's wardrobe is largely inspired by Mughal sensibilities. So, her outfits are rich with elaborate patterns. She wore ghagra-cholis in mustards and greens but she also sported deep reds with heavy makeup when required. We also witnessed that she draped elaborate shawls in the series but also went understated and simple in a few of the scenes.

So, as far as fashion is concerned, which role of Tabu did you like the most? Let us know that.

Happy Birthday, Tabu!

Cover Image Courtesy: Tabu's Instagram