What seemed at the outset as a run-ofthe-mill session with a celebrity visiting the city to promote a film, turned into a lively one that saw boundaries blurring. As soon as Yami Gautam Dhar took over her seat at Yin Effect with Yami, organised by Young Indians, Kolkata, at JW Marriott Kolkata, the physical and theoretical distance shrunk between a star and her fans with Yami’s frankness and wit adding a friendly warmth to the air. The Lost star joked, pulled legs and indulged in friendly banter with moderator and YI learning co-chair Saket Tibrewal, making it a session worth cherishing.
The session started with a heavy question — ‘What part of Calcutta’s culture do you like the most and what do you think its culture’s role is in shaping one’s personality?’ — that made Yami feel like she is part of a beauty pageant. “Suddenly I feel like I am part of a beauty pageant!” she exclaimed. Adding, she reminisced: “Right from my first film, I made everyone believe that I am a Bengali, including people in Chandigarh who would try to converse with me in broken Bengali. I think the warmth that people showed me right from my first film... and my luck after 10 years I get to do a full-fledged film (Lost) under Tony da (Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury). The essence of Calcutta is so well captured in his film. To pinpoint, there’s food, people, and most importantly, Kalibari where I used to visit every Tuesday when shooting (in Calcutta). It’s one of the few cities in India that’s an amalgamation of fast-paced and yet has its old-world charm.”
Yami at the chat session with Saket Tibrewal
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury was in the audience
The evening then segued to her previous films including Uri. Sharing an anecdote that gave her a sense of fulfilment and validation, she said: “One day I met one undercover agent. Very quietly she walked to me, introduced herself and spoke about Uri and my role and said it was very authentic. That feeling of a real sense of validation is what keeps me going.”
Though Yami’s eyes couldn’t miss the long questions that the moderator had prepared for his interviewee on his phone, she answered all of them with a pinch of humour and depth. From her journey in the industry so far, to holding her middle-class values close to being honest with her craft, Yami spoke honestly. Talking about her latest release Lost, she said, “Lost is a simple story of a crime journalist who is doing her work with utmost honesty and it also talks of an underlying human drama that makes it more than an investigative thriller.”
An engaging and entertaining rapid-fire round made the actor name the title of her autobiography, That Reclusive Star. And what is it that Yami has that her contemporaries don’t? A funny and witty answer from her made the audience laugh and join together for rapturous applause — “A session with you!”