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  Age on Sunday   04 Aug 2019  Socialising will not get you work: Yami Gautam

Socialising will not get you work: Yami Gautam

THE ASIAN AGE. | UMA RAMASUBRAMANIAN
Published : Aug 4, 2019, 12:20 am IST
Updated : Aug 5, 2019, 3:26 pm IST

I do go for social gatherings occasionally, but not frequently. I do not believe that socialising will get you work, says Yami.

Yami Gautam
 Yami Gautam

In a freewheeling chat, Yami Gautam gives a peek into her decade-long journey in Bollywood, dealing with rejection and how Uri was a gamechanger for her career.

Yami Gautam has come a long way.  The actress, who started her career with the eclectic Vicky Donor, shunned her girl-next-door persona when she starred in one of the highest-grossing films of this year, Uri. Her next Bala, which will reunite the much-loved pair of Yami and Ayushmann Khurrana, will see the Kaabil actress return to social dramas.

While it’s sure that Yami is on her way to write a well-balanced filmography to her name, in a recent chat with us, the actress delves further. Talking about her roller coaster career trajectory, unequal pay in Bollywood, and socialising among the film industry, she gives a sneak peek into her decade-long journey in the entertainment industry.
Excerpts from the interview:

Post-Uri you have bagged three projects. Do you feel it was a game-changer for you?
I still feel shy using phrases like ‘game-changer’ for myself.  I feel it has been a turning point in a very relevant way for me, as it was an important film. It is not just about getting more films, but it presented me in a light that no one has thought of till now. I owe my career to Vicky Donor, but we, actresses, get stereotyped very easily. It is not easy for people to trust that she can play a contrasting role. Aditya Dhar (Director) believed in me, and that was amazing.
Now I am doing Bala, then a film with Diljit Dosanjh, and one with Vikrant Massey. It is the best phase of my life.

There was a time when your films failed back-to-back. Did you ever fear being written off?
You are as good as your previous Friday in this industry. Batti Gul Meter Chalu released on one Friday, and then Uri released, and things changed. You can’t be scared. Yes, there is a certain pressure, but eventually what counts is your talent. When your film doesn’t do well, it is really hard to come back, prove yourself, stay relevant and be versatile. I think some films, regardless of the outcome, seem different at the script stage. Sometimes, and I speak for several actors, films don’t shape up as you had imagined them to be. And that’s a part and parcel of the work we do. However, for me as an individual, I will stand for all my films and projects regardless of the outcome.

We are yet to see you pull off a female-centric film. Do you consider yourself as a bankable actress?
I have come across certain scripts, but what I read wasn’t enough.  I would love to do it, and we must encourage such films, but it has to be a good film. It should not look like I am doing it just to prove the point: ‘Look I am doing a female-centric film’. Of course, I would love to pull off a female-centric film regardless of what the outcome would be, but you have to come across an interesting script.

Some actresses have their own set of clauses before signing a film, for instance: ‘no kissing on-screen’. Do you have any such clauses?
I think a lot of this has to do with the trust you have in your team, and that’s imperative to the process of filmmaking. However, I see nothing wrong in putting such a clause in an agreement. We are all professionals here, and in such an environment, I see no reason why such a clause should be considered unfair or unnecessary. Also many times, girls don’t speak up during such instances because we are called out for being difficult or adamant. But if we talk about exercising equality and empowerment, then it should be with belief and executing such equality. I don’t have such clauses, but I do believe that if it is not a part of the script, then I would not like to do it. Kissing is not something that I am comfortable with; I think it is the most uncomfortable thing. I cannot say that ‘what’s the big deal we are actors’. We are actors but we are also human beings.

How did you deal with rejection in the early days of your career?
I remember when I was working in TV, I was not happy with the kind of shows that I was getting after my show went off air. Even though I knew that I needed work, I was clear what kind of work I wanted to do. That’s when I started auditioning for advertisements and regional films. So, I have dealt with a lot of rejection. But when I look back at these rejections now, I don’t feel bad. I remember, a director once called me for a very big brand, and was told that I am just pretty and was very politely asked to leave. I got so emotional and upset. But I went back home and told myself that I am not leaving this city. You need to have such experiences that will push you harder.

People believe that socialising and attending parties is good for the career in Bollywood. Do you agree?
I do go for social gatherings occasionally, but not frequently. I do not believe that socialising will get you work. Maybe it can get you to meet people, but socialising cannot showcase your calibre and talent. Perhaps it’s important for some people, but for me it’s a matter of choice.

I can’t speak to someone hoping that he casts me because that’s not me. I do have a small circle and enjoys get-togethers at home.

At a time when actresses are not being paid as much as they deserve, how difficult is it to survive in this industry?
People feel we make a lot of money, but I feel actresses are still not paid that well. If your film works, the actor’s remunerations shoot up, but for actresses, it is still the same struggle and it takes a lot more time. The complicated structure and imbalance is because of the patriarchal mindset.  

An actress’ expenditure is too much; you have to make appearances. It’s definitely pricey, but you can balance it out as much as you want by being yourself. I would never spend on travel looks or airport looks; I think it’s overrated. Plus, I don’t mind repeating clothes. I will always be that middle-class person with the values that I have grown up with.

You are reuniting with Ayushmann in Bala, and you have also completed a decade in the industry. What do you have to say about coming full circle?
I think the audience is the best judges as far as co-stars are concerned. It doesn’t feel very different. We both have the same style of working and it feels good to be back together. We had an amazing experience working on Vicky Donor and things changed for both of us, so it will always be special. If you grow as a person, the actor in you grows hand in hand, especially when you begin from scratch. I look back at all those years of hard work with nostalgia. Yes, there is a long way to go.

Tags: yami gautam, ayushmann khurrana