Her mother was a school teacher and her maternal grandparents were retired professors who ran a school. In December 1987, Boney Kapoor launched two major films; Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Prem.
Her grandfather, Mohammed Ahsan, was a professor of Mathematics, and her grandmother was a professor of English Literature. In Prem (film)|Prem, Tabu was signed opposite Sanjay Kapoor.
The film was a success at the box office and Tabu won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance.
In 1999, she starred in two successful multi-starrer films; Biwi No.1 and Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United.
She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2011.She starred in the Telugu blockbuster Ninne Pelladata, opposite Nagarjuna, a film which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu.The critically acclaimed Malayalam period epic film Kalapani directed by Priyadarshan with Mohanlal and Prabhu Ganesan in the lead roles, brought her laurels for her acting from all across South India.Critic Taran Adarsh said: "Chandni Bar is Tabu's film all the way and there are no two opinions on that.Her performance deserves the highest marks and of course, all the awards.