Interview By: Drishti Pandey

She made an ideal debut with ‘Vicky Donor’ and after that Yami Gautam has come a long way in her acting career. With ‘Kaabil’ she was critically acclaimed for playing the role of a visually impaired girl and had impressed the audience too.  This immensely talented and a new generation diva spoke to us about her role in her upcoming film Batti Gul Meter Chalu, her choice of roles and what she has learnt from the industry so far. 

What was the most you liked about your role and ‘Batti Gul Metre Chalu’? 

Firstly, of course the script because at personal level I connect with it because I was born in Himachal, raised in Chandigarh. So I know the small town problems that they face, that was the very personal touch I had and knowing that Shree sir is going to adapt it really well because we have seen his previous film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, he has done it brilliantly.  At the same time it’s going to fun, it’s going to be quirky; it’s going to be humorous also and not just an intense social drama. And professionally I am playing lawyer for the first time, my character’s name is Gulnaz, somebody who is strong, and somebody who is independent. Somebody who is defending someone who in her opinion is right and going head strong against Shahid, so yeah quite interesting things.

The glimpse of the court drama we saw in the trailer was so entertaining itself, how was your experience being a lawyer and a bit research that went from your end?

 It was really fun playing this role, everyone else had already started working and they were all warmed up to each other and I was joining them later on, so it was a lot of fun and it was fun also because when you know your work and the camaraderie that Shahid and I need to have, who are trying to be one up to the other so that was very interesting and Shahid is a very good actor so that was something which I was like wow! (Laughs) so, it kept me on my toes and I’d also prepared in my own way by going to the Bombay high court and attended a session there to see how it actually happens and I asked the lawyers a few questions , and they were kind enough to be patient and answer them.  And the courtroom scene you talk about, the dark and trick humor, is part of the session and I’d asked a few lawyers and they agreed to it.  Plus Shahid’s character SK is a bit like that, he is typical local guy, who has slang in his lingo and you can totally expect him to talk like that.

 Also how do you choose your roles in terms of what do you seek in it, having a sense of reliability or a sense of belief that comes from within or you get convinced by the directors?

It could be a mix of both. There could be times when I feel I should not be part of something because I just don’t believe but again it’s a creative space! I actually go by my instinct mostly because I normally feel that your first instinct is never wrong. I may have taken decisions which probably may have not turned well and probably I knew certain things would work and there would be some reason to pick up something it won’t be just random.  And once I believe in something I am director’s actor, I absolutely listen to my directors. And in terms of choosing my roles, more than relate I would use the word excite, as an actor.  Because reliability most of the times does happen like even in ‘Sarkar 3’ was a grey character who wants to avenge her fathers’ death.  So all of us have a grey side to us, we are not always good, we don’t always do the right things in life, and we all have the flip sides, so that way most of the emotions and most of the things that the  characters go through,  we do already have it in us.  I think it’s about what excites me as an actor, as a script, like I want to be part of the script; I want to do this role. Like ‘Batti Gul Metre Chalu’ I knew it’s a story of three friends but finally it lands down to the courtroom drama, that’s where the relevance and importance of the characters comes. ‘Uri’, again I play an intelligence officer and I really wanted to be part of it because I thought it’s a very special film and which is true, which has happened and we must know. And people must know what happens in the surgical strike and what is it to be them. So, most importantly something should excite you as an actor and as a person.

 What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt from the industry in all these years?

Never cease to learn and never be caged under any kind of inhibitions created by you or influenced by anything or anyone. Just be free, be yourself, just be out there, the person that you are. If you really don’t believe in something, don’t do it. But if you have the fear or some inhibitions because of 100 things, be fearless.  

How important do you think a film is when it talks about social issues, for the audience to be aware and also an actor to be part of such content?

I think films are a very powerful medium and it’s the best way to reach out to people especially when it’s so relevant. An as an actor if I am getting to be part of a film, the core of which is a social drama, yet it’s entertaining and engaging , it’s not boring. I’m not saying being intensive boring; there could be some social drama film which could be hard hitting, which are intense and brilliant films. But Batti Gul Meter Chalu was always meant to be in the zone where it’s social drama, but there’s humor, there’s comedy, there’s songs also.  So it’s much easier to convey your message and also entertain the audience. So as an actor I’ve got the opportunity in the past and I’ve got it again, I am quite happy. (Smiles)

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