Having spent a decade in the movie biz, Yami Gautam continues to nurture her talent with the same determination, honesty and vigour as she did initially. As she poses glamorously for our photo shoot, it's hard to not be charmed by her confidence and star quality
Thus far, Yami Gautam’s filmography features some noteworthy work. Her decade-long Bollywood journey boasts of critical acclaim and commercial success, while her co-stars, in her opinion, have supplemented her strength as an artiste and sweetened the journey along the way.
For her, cinema is a collaborative work of art. Her professional alliances with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, Ayushmann Khurrana, to name a few, has been a career-changing experience. “A good co-actor contributes to your performance on a subconscious level. I feel blessed to have shared screen space with these artists. Take Hrithik, for instance, working with him on Kaabil (2016) was one of the most positive experiences of my career; from him I learnt the importance of putting your team above yourself. Be it co-starring with Varun in Badlapur (2015) or Shahid Kapoor in Batti Gul Meter Chalu (2018)—these films among others will be special because of the experience I had while shooting for them. Of course you want your film to do well, but in the grander scheme of things, how a release fares at the box office is secondary. What matters is whether you learnt something from that experience, whether it helped hone your skills as an actor or whether you had a good time going to work. And all of these boxes check out positively when the team you work with has the same outlook towards the creative process,” she shares.
OUTFIT: Monisha Jaising; ACCESSORIES: Earrings and ring: Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jaipur, Bangles: Amrapali Jewels
She’s currently basking in the excitement and appreciation surrounding the teaser for her forthcoming release, Uri: The Surgical Strike. “As an Indian, this film is one to take pride in. The story is taken from actual events and I’m so blessed to be a part of this project. It’s exciting to have Ronnie Screwvala produce such wonderful content and director Aditya Dhar has lent clarity and passion to the script. And then there’s Vicky (Kaushal), who is an absolute treat to work with. I guess my choice of films speaks enough about the kind of cinema that appeals to me. I enjoy substantial concepts. So the way I see it, a strong compelling story that needs to be told will always be instrumental in my decision to sign on the dotted line,” she says.
For a thinking actor like Yami, this is Bollywood’s shining hour and she’s eager to make the most of it. “I’m glad that we get to work at a time in cinema where actresses can experiment and give voice to the kind of films and roles that we want to do and not be confined to stereotypes or appear replaceable. Actors like Madhuri Dixit Nene, the late Sridevi ma’am, Tabu or Manisha Koirala—all of them have proven their merit as commercial actresses while also wowing the audience with critically acclaimed performances. And we’re headed down the right path with this generation of directors and writers, who are bringing a new wave of ideas and enthusiasm to the industry,” she exclaims.
OUTFIT: Manish Malhotra; ACCESSORIES: Nath: Amrapali Jewels Haathphool (left hand): Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jaipur, Rings: Tanya Rastogi for Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers, Shoes: Public Desire (Stylist’s own)
The digital boom, too, has stirred a revolutionary excitement in the movie industry, and like everyone else, Yami is just as enthralled. “Given the scenario that we’re in today, it’s as exciting as it is promising. As an actor, it makes me feel liberated to make, break and bend the rules,” she states.
The newest chapter in the Bollywood story is that of the married, yet working leading lady. Unlike a generation or two ago, today actresses face no reservation or apprehension in balancing their personal life alongside a professional career. Sharing her thoughts, Yami says, “Every generation brings with it a certain type of change, and this change has been a progressive one for Bollywood’s leading ladies. Thankfully, cinema today has evolved; it’s diverse with real stories or highlighting social issues that connect with the audience. There’s so much scope for work that there’s absolutely no reason why any personal decision would hinder professional growth.”
OUTFIT: Top: Shivan & Narresh, Skirt: Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika; ACCESSORIES: Hair accessory: Tanya Rastogi for Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers, Bangle and rings: Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jaipur
As Yami takes a moment to reflect on her decade of movies, she highlights her biggest lesson, which is to never stop learning. “You have to keep moving and let nothing wither your self-belief. There’s a reason I’ve made it this far from where I started,” she smiles. Ten years through and at the cusp of the forthcoming decade, Yami’s creative self is content, yet hungry for more.
OUTFIT: Dress worn as top: Gaurav Gupta, Lehenga skirt: Anita Dongre; ACCESSORIES: Rings, bangles (right hand), earrings and bracelet (left hand): Tanya Rastogi for Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers, Rings and kadas (left hand): Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jaipur
Photographs: Nuno Oliveira, Hair and make-up: Subhash Vagal, Styling: Lynn Lobo, Location: Plum by Bent Chair