A good director has to be a good editor also: Yami Gautam

Yogesh Mishra | yogesh@bollywoodtown.in

Yami Gautam, one of the renowned Bollywood actor is being currently talked about her powerful role of a lawyer in Shahid Kapoor starrer ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’. She started her career in Bollywood with Vicky Donor (2012) opposite Ayushmann Khurrana. Some of her Hindi movies have been Action Jackson, Badlapur, Sanam Re, Kaabil, etc. In a candid chat, she spoke about her role in ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’, her working experience with Director Sharee Narayan Singh, her favourite courtroom drama movie and more…

Tell us something about your character in ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’. What kind of preparation you have made for this role?
I am playing the character of ‘Gulnaar’. It’s a courtroom drama. To prepare for this film I did not see much of such kind of movies and did not take any references. I thought of doing something practical. I went to Bombay High Court to attend a session and sat on the last bench. After that I discussed with some of the lawyers who were there. They were kind enough to answer my questions. I asked them how it happens. That experience was much more real. After that I used to practice to improve my Hindi because, in the court room mostly the purest of Hindi is used. Thanks to the writer of the film, she has written this movie nicely.
You don’t have much of screen space in this film. What was your thought process for signing this movie?
When I read about this movie, honestly I told this to Shree Sir (Shree Narayan Singh) also, I felt, what if I do this lawyer’s character? I just randomly said to my mom or sister I don’t know that I want to play this lawyer’s part because, first of all the concept was very real. Since I am from Chandigarh / Himachal, I know what kind of problems are there at the grassroot level. I am sure everybody have their own experiences but because I have grown up and stayed up there so I had a strong connection with the concept of the film. When I was approached for the lawyer’s character, I was very happy as I have never played the character of a lawyer before.
Nowadays people’s thinking is updated. You are living now in a very important time where you must need to know that what role are you playing and what can you add to your character in the story. This story basically belongs to three friends which finally boils down to courtroom. This courtroom has a vital role in this film. There I play a very important role.
As you said, since now you have seen the real court also so what kind of differences or similarities you find between real court and filmy court?
I have been to Bombay High Court so I was told that things will be different when you will go to the small places like Tehri. The things will be different there. Differences are in environment. The mannerism and protocols become little different. I was given an example of Jolly LLB2. Bombay High Court is different. So it depends on places. We have tried our best in ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’ to do the real in terms of performances. Courtroom does not mean that everything will be serious only. There is some professionalism to follow. I have tried my best to do this role in a natural way.
Which is your favourite courtroom drama Hindi movie?
‘Damini’ is my favourite. ‘Pink’ and ‘Jolly LLB’ are also good courtroom drama movies.
Sometimes back director Shree Narayan Singh said that he wanted to give this role to you because you look good without makeup also. Any comment?
With every film, our attempts are always on performance only but yes, I was fully aware, if talking about styling, hairstyling and makeups, it will not be like today you have to wear this and tomorrow something else. It will be the same, white saree throughout and will be a plain choti. Actually it should not be distracting. It should not look funny. Nothing should distract from the character.
How was your working experience with director Shree Narayan Singh?
He was an editor earlier. He was the editor of one of my film Vicky Donor. I and Ayushmann met him for the first time during editing of that movie. He is very cool and patient. He can handle any situation. He handles every actor the way the temperament is. I have seen it. As a director, he gives you enough freedom to do the things in free mind and says ‘when I feel, I will hold you back but do how you feel’.
Is he (Shree Narayan Singh) a good editor or a good director?
I think a good director has to be a good editor also. I think he is a fantastic director who knows what is simultaneously needed as an editor. I am no one to judge him. I don’t know whether he is a better editor or director but I know, you can never take out editor from him. It’s a huge plus point for any director if he knows editing also.
‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’ is a film on social cause. Which movie based on social cause you like most?
I think, ‘Rang De Basanti’ is one of the strongest movie based on social cause. That time I was in college when this film got released.
Suppose, you are a lawyer, what would be the cause for which you would like to fight?
There are two things I am personally connected. Child education and crime against women.
How was your working experience with Shahid Kapoor?
As a co-actor, he is very good and supportive. He is very focussed about his work. It was nice working with him. Shraddha Kapoor is also very sweet. All in all, it was really fun working with everyone.
If we look at the history of Indian cinema, hardly few powerful lady lawyer is seen. Do you think your character of a lady lawyer in ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’ will leave an unforgettable impact on the audience?
I hope so.