"When you are younger, you want different things in life. I was 16 when I started in the industry. At that time, you don't know anything. You are just going with the flow. You are doing what everybody else is doing and just want to have fun. You are looking for chances to do whatever everyone else is doing. You like the fame, the attention and the dressing up," Tabu told in an interview.
"With age and experience, your ambitions evolve. Some of them are fulfilled while you drop some. Then, you go to the next stage. Your priorities and things of significance change. What you want to stand for becomes clearer," added the 47-year-old.
She says she has been on a journey to find the pieces of the puzzle.
"My struggle and my journey with myself in the past 10 years, has been to understand, 'what do I stand for?', 'who I am?', and 'how I want to live in the world?'. There has been a huge growth of what I want in life and what my expectations are. Some of my expectations can never be the way you want them to be, but you get a (clarity) about who you are and how you want to take yourself (ahead)," she said.
So what does she stand for?
"It is very difficult (to say) because there are many things that I stand for. What I definitely want to push myself (for) is to connect with the world in a much larger and deeper way because that is what makes me feel alive. Whether it is through my films, work or anything else I do, it is important for me to maintain that connect with the world outside of my work also," said the actress.
Tabu's affair with glitz and glamour started playing Dev Anand's teenage daughter in the 1985 film, "Hum Naujawan". Since then, she has donned several avatars a simple Sikh girl turning to militancy in "Maachis", a woman having an extramarital affair in "Astitva", a jilted widow in "Haider", a bar dancer in "Chandni Bar", a tough cop and helpless mother in "Drishyam", a dejected former wife of a police officer in "Talvar" and an anti-terrorist bureau agent in "Fanaa". And who can forget the gems like "The Namesake", "Life of Pi" and "Cheeni Kum".
It's not all about the serious stuff.
The talented actress, whose real name is Tabassum Fatima Hashmi, has also been associated with commercial projects such as "Hera Pheri", "Chachi 420", "Biwi No. 1", "Hum Saath-Saath Hain", "Golmaal Again", "De De Pyaar De", "Bharat" and "Andhadhun".
All the roles, Tabu says, have shaped her as a person.
"I am made out of my work. The characters I have played (have given me) tremendous belief in myself as an actor, and shaped me to be a creative person with the influences I carry. The directors I have worked with have altered my world view. They have introduced me to things I didn't know about culture, Kashmir, Shakespeare, relationships, deceit and also illicit relationship. My understanding of the world has increased," she said.
The actress will next be seen in the coming-of-age story "Jawaani Jaaneman" along with Saif Ali Khan. She is also preparing for a comeback in Telugu films after a decade, with Allu Arjun's yet-untitled upcoming project.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@.in)
( With inputs from IANS )