Actor Yami Gautam will play a Tik-Tok star in the upcoming film Bala, which also stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar. While Yami is working with Bhumi for the first time, she debuted with Ayushmann in 2012 film Vicky Donor.
In a conversation with indianexpress.com, Yami opened up about her character in Bala.
Here are excerpts:
From Vicky Donor to Bala, Ayushmann has tasted immense success. Has he changed as a person?
He is a fantastic actor and that’s why he has become such a big star. Back then, while working on Vicky Donor, he was actor Ayushmann Khurrana, and now he is National Award-winning actor Ayushmann Khurrana. I am happy for him. He deserves all the love and appreciation coming his way. The kind of consistency he has shown in the characters and scripts he has chosen, I am very happy and glad. Bala was extremely special as it was like walking down memory lane. It was amazing to work with Ayushmann and rest of the team.
Bala is about being comfortable in your own skin. You have been associated with a fairness brand for years. What’s your take on such advertisements now?
I was associated with this (beauty) brand before Vicky Donor and in the time when I was making the transition from television to films. When you are on a journey by yourself, you have to experiment with various mediums. The advertisement happened to be one of my first commercials. I was happy (about the association) and I don’t need to explain why.
Post Vicky Donor, it became an endorsement. As soon as I came on board, I had a meeting with the brand where we discussed the kind of advertisements that were made before. We decided to change the notion that not being fair is something to be sad about. The idea of beauty depends on the individual. There should not be any guidelines like if you are fair, you will get a job or get married or any such things. Now, the word ‘fair’ is no longer used in advertisements. Yes, the brand name is called Fair and Lovely, so it will take time for people to see beyond that. When I started getting trolled for it, I did not know how to reply. Who likes to be pulled down?
See, the whole idea is to understand and battle the idea of beauty. Your beauty is your choice. And that is what I think.
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Main hun Pari. Poori ki poori drama se bhari. Miliye mujhse, jald hi.😉 #BalaTrailer out soon! . . . #DineshVijan @amarkaushik @ayushmannk @bhumipednekar @saurabhshuklafilms #JaavedJaaferi #SeemaPahwa @nowitsabhi @sachinjigar @sonymusicindia @officialjiocinema @officialjiostudios
Bala revolves around the character played by Ayushmann. What about your character Pari made you say yes?
She is a small-town model, a Tik-Tok star, energetic, filmy and dramatic. Everything is larger than life for her. She lives in her bubble. Her relevance in the film comes from society’s beauty standards. So, she brings together both worlds. The arc of the character from where it begins to where it goes is beautiful. I have never played such a character before. All the characters are so unique. A good film is an amalgamation of a brilliant team. Why would I not take up an opportunity to work with Dinesh Vijan, Amar Kaushik, Ayushmann and Bhumi?
You came out of Uri. The character was fab. We all loved you. But isn’t this character too cliched?
Ayushmann: When you will see the film, you will realise that it is so refreshing to see Yami in this character. It is such a unique character. I don’t think anyone has portrayed such a character before. Tik-Tok is so relevant and topical. Also, you will always see male actors being funny on the screen but not many actresses being comical. But Yami has done that in the film. Her funny bone is so to the point and it is such a revelation. So, her character is not cliched at all.
Yami: I wouldn’t have been the conventional choice for this role but with URI things changed and people saw me beyond this sweet girl. I am glad to be part of Bala because it tackles the right issue. And I hope it (the message) travels to every corner of the country.
The film courted controversy for a song (recreation of “Don’t Be Shy”) and then the concept (similar to Ujda Chaman). Do you believe it benefits the film?
We do not require any boost. No good film will need it. Content and a good movie will speak for itself. When Ayushmann signed this film, a few other makers, who had the same concept, took a back seat but someone wanted to still go ahead. You cannot hold back anyone. Everyone has the freedom to make any sort of film they want to. I think the comparison will come to an end after the release. But honestly, the benchmark is not the comparison or the race to be better than the other. A film has to be viewed setting aside the external factors. Controversy has become a concept in itself these days. Now it is like ‘Oh, one more thing cropped up.’ But yes, the way you handle it matters. If you are confident about the film, you don’t need to say a word.
Directed by Amar Kaushik, Bala releases on November 8.
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