Tabu is an Indian actress who has been in the film business for the past 25 years. During her three-day stay in Thimphu, for the recent Mountain Echoes literary festival, she learnt the art of Mandala painting at Dechenphodrang monastery. She spoke with Kuensel’s Thinley Zangmo. 

Why the interest in Mountain Echoes?

We have grown up with books starting from comics, storybooks and fiction. My grandparents were educationists and books always surrounded me. I always wanted to come to Bhutan for the longest time as well and I’m glad I could come to Bhutan for this occasion where I could combine my work, vacation and connect with so many people with different minds.

It was the first time for me to be a part of a literary festival and it has been a wonderful experience. I think I’m spoiled now because I will expect similar experience from all the literary festivals if I ever go. The place and the people are the best environment for the festival because people really seem to appreciate life, the nuances, subtleties and the peace and quiet that you get here is the best anyone would ever get to experience. I’m happy that I was in Bhutan.

What are some of the challenges that you still face as a female actress in the Indian film industry today?

Shooting in really hard weather conditions is a challenge for actors even today because actors cannot be covered in warm clothes when it’s cold and they have to also brave the heat and still smile.

The film industry is always going to be a reflection of the society. There has been a huge change today. Female actors are charging more money now and getting to play stronger roles. Of course there is a long way to go for the whole society.

Any advice to aspiring and young Bhutanese actors? 

From my experience, looking back, now I can understand that I didn’t work in a way to create a certain image for myself or create a particular kind of career. I just did what felt right to me, what was satisfying to me and what characters resembled me. If you keep doing what you love to do and what you are good at, automatically that will form the image or brand but you have to do it from the heart.

Did you enjoy your time here?

I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation than being in Thimphu, I could feel the happiness around me. It struck me that Bhutan is different from any cosmopolitan city because there is no traffic, rush or pollution. I want to keep coming back to Bhutan. While I’m here I want to go shopping and wherever my team takes me.