Yami Gautam is overwhelmed with the love pouring in from Kaabil

By Neeru Saluja

”˜Kaabil’ is actress Yami Gautam’s biggest release in her career. She has proved that she is not only a pretty face, but can also deliver power packed performances. While she is basking in the success of the film, her humility shines through. She cannot stop expressing her gratitude towards her unit and her fans.

Yami started her career with television and made her debut in Bollywood with Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor opposite Ayushmann Khurana in 2012. Since then, she has featured in films like Total Siyapaa, Badlapur, Junooniyat and Sanam Re.

In an exclusive interview organised by Mind Blowing Films, we chatted, giggled and talked leisurely about her film, admiration for co-star Hrithik, love for her hometown and food.

Not revealing too much about the plot, how would you describe Kaabil in your own words?

Kaabil is a love story about Supriya and Rohan who are visually challenged. They are independent, working and love enjoying their lives which is full of joy, happiness and music. They are madly in love. They are as close as they can get to the real characters.

You play a visually challenged character in Kaabil. What was the most difficult part in enacting the role?

The difficulty in playing the character starts from the preparation. Luckily we were working as a team where everyone helped out each other. Saying that, every actor had their own individual preparation work to do. I also had a coach who guided me through but wanted me to explore the character through my director and co-star Hrithik. He said my performance is not like the old Indian films where they stretch out their hands for help. It’s a real film giving an opportunity to tell the world the truth that there is no sympathy they yearn for. I also had to take tango lessons as we had a dance number, and that also with Hrithik who is a fabulous dancer!

Talking about Hrithik, how was your experience working with the Greek God?

I can just go on and on talking about Hrithik! If Hrithik wasn’t the person he is, I wouldn’t have been able to become Su (Supriya). He is such a selfless person. When I met him on the sets instead of introducing myself, I said ”˜Hi, I’m nervous’, to which he said ”˜I am also very nervous’. He said he was relieved I said that to him as it’s good to be nervous! I was nervous as I was working with such big names for the first time. And the role wasn’t easy as it needed certain concentration and sensitivity. He told me not to have any fear and told me we are all students to make mistakes here. When a huge star says something like that it makes you very happy. He supported me throughout the film. It only takes a kind and secure person to do that, he has inspired me in many ways ”“ personally and professionally. He is a perfectionist and that’s why there is only one Hrithik.

While you are basking in the success of Kaabil, are you all set for a new avatar in Sarkar 3 with the godfather of Indian cinema Amitabh Bachchan?

Yes I have started shooting for the film. With Sarkar 3, for the first time you will see me in a grey character. Ram Gopal Varma wanted to hand a gun in my hands and twist my pretty and bubbly character! Working with Amitabh Bachchan is a dream come true. I still remember I was in college when my parents came home watching Sarkar and kept raving about his role. And now I get to work with him. Thanks to Kaabil I have so much love pouring in from everywhere. Mr Bachchan messaged about my performance and that is a proud moment for any actor.

Yami, your first film ”˜Vicky Donor’ was a commercial success and then five years later Kaabil knocked your door. Coming from television to films as an outsider, what were the barriers you overcame?

I overcame my biggest barrier when I started choosing what kind of roles I wanted to do. They may have not come my way in the beginning of my career but then there is always a way out. There needs to be stepping stones towards your goal. Many times I have been asked that I’m an outsider and how I made my entry into films. I can understand as I was never a model, neither did I come from theatre nor was I a Mumbai girl. But I brought with myself a different perspective. Films are a part of my life, but they are not my life. I worked hard towards my films. For example, my second and third films didn’t do well and it was a challenging phase as my first film was an overnight success. Meanwhile, I kept myself busy with South Indian films. It’s important to discover yourself and embracing failure with a smile. Then ”˜Kaabil’ happened to me. You need to respect yourself, question yourself and why you are in the industry.

Now that Kaabil has taken you to the A-list of Bollywood actresses, will you go back to the South Indian film industry?

I don’t believe in the A-list, as an actor I have always given my best. Regarding the South Indian film industry, I was never a part of it as I kept exploring work on the go. I’m not a trained actor and took up any good work that came my way. It’s a very organised industry but not knowing the language can be a hindrance. At this stage my hands are full with Hindi films.

Taking you away from films for a minute, we would love to hear about the love for your hometown Chandigarh, the City Beautiful.

I studied in Chandigarh and pursued my law degree there. I studied in YPS Mohali. It’s winters in Chandigarh now and I’m so homesick. I miss the afternoon soft sun, the exam days, tea, the food, the early morning fog, everything is so different in Mumbai. Wherever I go, you can’t take out Chandigarh from my heart. I am a big chai and pakora fan. I have endorsed food everywhere. I even made Hrithik to eat pakoras on the set! I have to thank my parents for their upbringing, schooling and the values they gave to me. I’m so proud that I’m from Chandigarh as it gives me a sense of protection. It’s a simple life with a few places to hangout but lovely memories with friends and family that I shall cherish forever. We used to even cherish the 5 and 10 rupees plate of food at StuCee (Student Centre at Punjab university)! Nothing can match up the simplicity of Chandigarh. The only regret I have in my life was to experience the full college life as I studied via correspondence and had to leave my studies to pursue my career in films.

We have now discovered that you are a foodie! Is there anything else that you have kept hidden from your fans?

I’m a huge prankster with my close friends and family, I’m this fun loving and goofy person. That’s the flip side of me as I’m a bit shy and take time to open up. Yes I do like food, sometimes I think I live for food. On the sets of Kaabil, we had lots of interesting chats on food. I told Hrithik I don’t want to lose any weight on my face as then I will lose my charm. Hrithik said ”˜you can lose your weight, eat 10 samosas and your charm will come back!’

Do you want to say anything to our readers as cinemagoers are still deciding whether they should watch Raees or Kaabil?

Our audience is very sensible. You can’t force them to watch the film, and word of mouth is strong enough for them to be convinced to watch the film. We have worked very hard for Kaabil. And that is why people are feeling the emotions. If the film touches your heart and is entertaining, ”˜Kaabil’ is kaabil for us.

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