Yami Gautam on playing a Tik-Tok star in Bala: What she represents is a mirror to society's perception of beauty
Yami Gautam says she has had to wait for meatier parts like Vicky Donor, Kaabil, Uri: The Surgical Strike and now, Amar Kaushik's upcoming comedy Bala.
After “crossing a lot of hurdles” in her career spanning about seven years in Bollywood, Yami Gautam feels a lot more confident today. She attributes that to the huge success and one of the highest grossing films of her career, Uri: The Surgical Strike, in which she played an intelligence officer. She says, “Nobody expected the film’s josh to spread in such a way.”
Of course, earlier, sleeper hit Kaabil alongside Hrithik Roshan, too, did her good. Yami believes working with a superstar helps “because then the audience reach is massive”. However, Yami owes her career to her debut and National Award-winning film Vicky Donor (2012). She is delighted to reunite with her co-star from her first film, Ayushmann Khurrana, in her next, Bala, that releases on 8 November.
“There were multiple factors that attracted me to Bala. I have done Badlapur with Dinesh Vijan (producer), and he often backs good films. Look at Stree. Amar Kaushik is a wonderful person, and a very good director. The subject and my role were great. It is not a role where the makers would immediately say that let’s cast Yami in it but they had faith in my talent. It is very different from my personality, and I do feel that after Uri, people have seen me in a whole new light,” she says.
Further, talking about her co-star, she adds, “Nothing has changed mine and Ayushmann’s equation. Just that we are now eating less food as compared to those days (laughs). He is now a National Award-winning actor, and I am happy for him. He deserves all the love and appreciation coming his way. He brings a lot of energy. It was the replica of Vicky Donor when it comes to ease and comfort in working with him."
Yami plays a small-time model and a Tik-Tok star in Bala. The actress met some of these stars, with millions of followers, to understand her character. Besides, she also created a personal account on the app, which helped her improvise her character. “She is a small-town model, a Tik-Tok star, energetic, filmy, and dramatic. She lives in her bubble. Everything is larger than life for her, and I have tried to absorb every shade of this character. I have tried to nail every nuance. There are lot of layers to my character, and what she represents in the film is a mirror to what society actually thinks about the perception of beauty. It was not about just being bubbly or energetic or little spunky or little filmy. It’s such a unique character,” she says.
She continues, “And I was amazed when I met some of these Tik-Tok stars. I used to think that they wear some fancy clothes and just faff around but I was surprised to see them take their work so seriously. Whatever they were emoting, they meant it. There would be glycerine and water spray. It is like a real virtual world. They are so entertaining. The conviction is what makes it really funny. They are not trying to be funny. They mean it. I didn’t even know how to operate Tik-Tok. I was not even half as good as them, and I would wonder why I am not looking funny as they were. But soon I realised that I should just believe in it, and do it. I was really amazed with that world.”
Yami has so far had 10 Hindi releases, of which some have been cameo, extended cameo, or smaller parts. When asked why she was seen so little, the actress says candidly, “Not every professional decision taken has been correct. There are films which I wonder why I did. At times, you have to take up whatever work comes your way just to keep your journey going. But it is very hard for me to say ‘yes’ to something just to fill up the calendar. I am a very patient person. I waited for something really good, and that is the reason why Uri was done, and suddenly why Kaabil, and now, Bala happened. It takes long on deciding and choosing films in which you will make your presence felt. I rather say no to certain projects, and wait for something really good to come. But it’s always the meaty part that has attracted me more than the length of the role, and time and again, it is proven that quality matters more. Badlapur was a cameo with a limited time but that is something I want to do. How will I establish or prove myself if I don’t take chances?” she says.
“Look,” she continues, “I don’t come from a film background, I don’t have any godfather. I am not somebody who will make relations here for work. I mean professional relations or friendships but there is nothing wrong in that. It’s only my Friday that will take me to another Friday. I have faith in my talent, my potential and versatility, and I am glad that producers and makers like Dinu (Dinesh Vijan), Amar, Aditya (Dhar), Shoojit da (Sircar) help me take it forward. For people like me, we have to struggle, and put in that extra effort. It is not easy to survive despite so many hurdles. I am not somebody who is strong or the pushy kind. It does take time to prove but I like that.”
While there are many more projects she plans to announce soon, Yami is currently excited about her upcoming film opposite Vikrant Massey called Ginny Weds Sunny. “We have almost wrapped it up. It is a rom-com, a fun film. It is a take on new age romance set in Delhi,” she says.
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