Those days Dev Anand the one- man brigade who went looking for fresh talent was looking for a new pretty female face. A source told the parents of two girls who belonged to a lower middle class family in Hyderabad about Dev’s requirement. They had two daughters, Farah Naaz and a little girl called Baby Tabassum. They did not give a second thought to the idea. To add to the temptation, Dev asked the family to ”come over” to Mumbai. He would pay their travelling fare and even arrange accommodation for the family. Three days later the family reached Bombay and landed at Dev’s pent house office and Dev was very happy with Farah and told her mother that he had decided to cast her as the heroine of his next film. The family was naturally very thrilled. In the meanwhile, Dev’s friend, Yash Chopra was also looking for a new female face to cast in his new film, Faasle. He had heard about this new discovery of Dev and requested Dev to let him have Farah as the girl he needed for his film was just like what Farah looked like. Dev, the large- hearted man did not hesitate and gave Yash the permission to cast Farah.
But, Dev had not forgotten the little girl who had accompanied Farah when the family first met him and instantly an idea for a film flashed across his mind. He went away to his favourite room at the Fredricks Hotel in Mahabaleshwar and began working on a script with the speed only he could. At the end of three days Dev was ready with a rough draft of the script he wanted to make into a film. And what was surprising was that he had written the script revolving round the character of the twelve- year old Baby Tabassum. He took the family into confidence and told them that he was making a bold film in which Tabu (her pet name) would have to do some bold, daring and revealing scenes. They had no objection, they had no way out, they could not say no to Dev who was doing so much to help them. The film Dev was planning was to be called Hum Naujawan and was about three young ruffians from families placed in high places who rape the twelve year old girl and how Dev as the investigator into the heinous crime tracks down the criminals. The film was shot in strict secrecy and was completed within a month. However, it was one of Dev’s strings of flops and Dev went his way and Tabu continued studying and taking private tuitions at home. A few years later, Tabu was eighteen and Boney Kapoor who had already seen Farah many times had his first look at Tabu and decided to cast her as the heroine of his younger brother Sanjay Kapoor with whom he was planning a very ambitious film called Prem. It was first to be directed by Shekhar Kapur who left it half way and handed over the film to his chief assistant, Satish Kaushik. The film had all the rich production values and was shot on various locations including Colombo, the Capital of Sri Lanka. But the ambitions of the producer and the director delayed the film endlessly. It was supposed to be completed in six months but it shockingly took more than four years to complete. It did a lot of harm to Boney as the producer and his brother as the hero, but the one who suffered the most because of the delay was Tabu and she could not do anything about it because she had signed a contract with Boney that she would not sign any new film till Prem was completed and released. It was the most depressing time of Tabu’s life and at one time she even thought of giving up her ambition to be an actress.
But she had to change her mind when several offers came her way and she was wasted as an actress in inconsequential films till she worked with Gulzar in Maachis, won the National Award and is a leading actress known both Nationally and Internationally. She is that rare actress who keeps away from the limelight and gives people in the industry all the reasons to believe that she has turned into a loner and a recluse which is not a very good thing to do for an actress who can be compared to the best anywhere they make good and great films and need an actress like Tabu.