TV to films, Yami journey

From Vicky Donor to Kaabil and now Batti Gul Meter Chalu, actress explores diverse genres to portray today’s woman

By Bharati K. Dubey
  • Published 13.01.18
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There is a long way to go, so much more to do and higher heights to reach

Starting her career with TV, Yami Gautam made her mark on the big screen with Vicky Donor. She has not looked back since. Yami talks to The Woods on her next film Batti Gul Meter Chalu where she plays a lawyer and has Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor as co-stars

You play a lawyer in Batti Gul Meter Chalu…

Being able to play a lawyer in Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a great opportunity for me for I was a law student and therefore have a personal connect with the role. It would be great if my character could serve, in any minimal way, as a source of inspiration for young girls to pursue legal studies and come out as strong lawyers. When we speak of women’s empowerment, it should start with good education.

How do you look at your five years in the film industry?

I have completed five years in the film industry and I still feel maybe it’s too early to look back at my journey. There is a long way to go and so much more to do, roles to explore, higher heights to reach. I have evolved strongly with the way I perceive my own self. I want to explore as many genres and roles and work with directors who trust me and help me discover the diversity in me. I want to be as versatile as I can. 

Shahid actually welcomed you on board through social media…

That was a very endearing gesture on his part. I am absolutely excited working with Shahid! He is a fantastic actor and the experience and journey of working with him and his team is something I am really looking forward to.

There have been very few success stories from TV to films and you are among those rare actors who have been able to make a mark for yourself in films.

That is kind of you to say... I feel quite blessed to have reached here on my own. Although no one is an exception to hard work and your own destiny but coming all the way from a different city and knowing no one here and starting the journey from scratch with your head high is very challenging but gives you a certain high. I will always be that small town girl at heart.

Any plans to do more south Indian films?

As of now I am focusing on Mumbai. But if there is a fantastic script and a good role, I would love to do some films there too.

Do you have friends in the film industry?

I haven’t made friends as of now but these are things that you can’t predict. But most of the people I have worked with have been very friendly.

Producer Prernaa Arora has been choosing important subjects such as toilet, sanitary napkins and now it’s about electricity…

Prernaa is a very brave producer! I love the concepts and films she believes in! The subjects are topical, yet entertaining. We knew each other before signing Batti Gul Meter Chalu and in fact, Prernaa, Shree Narayan Singh and  I bonded instantly over the script. In a very short time, Prernaa has made a strong impact through her films! I love the fact she is focused and headstrong.

How is it working with Shraddha Kapoor?

We have had our chats only on flights till now and she is extremely lovely and super cool!

How much has cinema changed in the past five years?

I feel this change came with Vicky Donor. The definition of a successful film has been evolving a lot since then and that’s also because the audience wants to see something different. They want entertaining yet innovative movies. I feel it’s a great phase where creativity and success are not bound by fear of not being accepted.

Do we get to see you working with Shoojit Sircar and Sreeram Raghavan again?

Working with Shoojit da would  always be special! I owe this to him. He is so easy and brilliant to work with. Sreeram sir, again someone whom I’d love to work with. He is so simple himself and yet brings about some of the most complexities in such an effortless way.

One recordist lost his life on a TV set. What do you have to say about safety issues on film and TV sets?

Safety measures need to be in place... there has to be a body that ensures the safety infrastructure at studios is in good shape.

There have been actors who have played lawyers in films. Who you think could be a reference point for your character?

It’s difficult to name just one!  I feel Rani Mukerji performed very well as a lawyer in Veer Zaara. Otherwise, honestly, I don’t have a reference for my character. My character is in sync with today’s woman, who is strong, educated and doesn’t shy away from fighting for what she believes in.