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Posted at: Jan 12, 2019, 8:28 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2019, 8:29 AM (IST)

Bordering on truth

It’s an image makeover for her. From a sweet girl-next-door, Yami Gautam is playing an intelligence officer in Uri; something that excites her no end
Bordering on truth
Yami Gautam in a still from Uri

Nonika Singh

The moment Yami Gautam heard the word officer, she conjured up a set image of how they act and behave. Till the director Aditya Dhar told her intelligence officers (she plays one in Uri) do not carry any chip on their shoulders; are as real and normal as the person you could be having tea with. So with the brief crystal clear and no reference points from real life, she decided to play it natural and organic. 

Indeed, Yami, so far seen in these wonderful sweet girl characters, turns a bit of a badass here mouthing some heavy duty one-liners. Her part may not be stellar in an all-men world here, but it certainly is one that marks a departure from the pining sweetheart and grieving wives Indian war movies have so far showcased women as.

Yami agrees that there are few Indian movies like Border, Lakshya and Prahaar that merit mention. But she also reminds that Uri isn’t a war film, but about a covert operation and, more importantly, about the Indian Army which we need to be proud of. During the making of the film, where she met some real survivors, her understanding of Indian Army, the sacrifices they make and the exemplary work they do, has only evolved and gone many notches above. Not too long ago she acted in Total Siyappa, an Indo-Pak love story, which featured Pakistani singer-actor Ali Zafar. Today, it is Uri perceived to be anti-Pakistan. 

Independent journey

Uri she deems is an anti-terrorism film not against any country and has to be seen in the light of dastardly Uri attacks. As for Total Siyapaa, she insists, “It came in a different time, when there was no ban on Pakistani actors. Of course, actors are not our enemy and let’s hope there will be better times ahead for both countries.” 

As for her innings in Bollywood, she is slightly miffed when questions about her co-star of Vicky Donor, Ayushmann Khurrana, making it big surface. “My co-star’s journey can’t be a barometer for me. We all have our independent journeys and destinations too.” 

Clearly, her real destination is miles away. Right now she is happy with what she has achieved and her heart is full of gratitude for all the directors, right from Shoojit Sircar to Aditya Dhar, who have chosen her to be part of their films. The hit; flop meter of her films doesn’t affect her really.  Says she, “When I was watching Batti Gul Meter Chalu a day prior to its release, I had this gut feeling that it may not work, but I was not shattered. See we are in a profession and in a city where the pace is so rapid that it’s very easy to be swayed either way.” 

Chandigarh girl

What makes her maintain equanimity are her Chandigarh roots. It’s here in the City Beautiful that she learnt how to take failure in stride just as one embraces success. “What matters is whether I have given hundred per cent and in Uri, we all have given more than that.” 

She is more than proud to be part of the film that salutes the Indian Army. In the film Yami may not have donned the uniform, but she is all for more women in the Army and in combat roles. During the special screening of Uri for the Army, she was told by none else than a colonel himself how men and women are no different.

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com

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