Tabassum Hashmi is an Indian film actress. She has mainly acted in Hindi films, though she has also starred in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali language films, as well as one American film. She has won the National Film Award for Best Actress twice, and she holds the record for the most wins of Filmfare's Critics Award for Best Female Performer, with four.
Despite a few exceptions, Tabu is best-known for acting in artistic, low-budget films that go on to garner more critical appreciation than substantial box office figures. Her appearances in commercially successful films were few, and her parts in these films were small, such as Border (1997), Saajan Chale Sasural (1996), Biwi No.1 and Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United (1999). Her most notable performances include Maachis (1996), Virasat (1997), Hu Tu Tu (1999), Astitva (2000), Chandni Bar (2001), Maqbool (2003) and Cheeni Kum (2007).
Her leading role in Mira Nair's American film The Namesake also drew major praise. Known to be selective about her film roles, she has said, "I do films which move me and most of all, the unit and the director should appeal to me.Tabassum "Tabu" Hashmi did a small appearance in the film "Bazaar" in 1980, and later in the film Hum Naujawan (1985) at the age of fifteen; she played Dev Anand's daughter in the film. Her first role as an actress was in the Telugu film Coolie No. 1. In December 1987, Boney Kapoor launched two Big Films, Roop Ki Rani Choro Raja and Prem. In Prem, Tabu was signed opposite Sanjay Kapoor. The film took eight years in making.
Her first release in Hindi as a leading lady was Pehla Pehla Pyar which went un-noticed. She came into prominence with her role in Vijaypath (1994) opposite Ajay Devgan for which she received the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. This was followed by many films that did not do well at the box office.