‘Why Are You Casting Her?’ Yami Gautam On Facing Discrimination & Giving Auditions

Photo: © Instagram/Yami Gautam

Yami Gautam made her big-screen debut in Shoojit Sircar’s 2012 comedy Vicky Donor, after being well-known on television. She was praised for her performance, but it didn’t lead to more opportunities.

She appeared in films like as Total Siyapaa, Action Jackson, Sanam Re, Sarkar 3 and even became the brunt of social media jokes after her character was slain in Badlapur, Kaabil, and other films.

With films like Uri: The Surgical Strike and Bala, the year 2019 altered everything for her. Her first “female-centric” film, A Thursday, was recently released.

The movie earned favourable reviews and was a commercial success.

Yami Gautam sat down with us to talk about her recent film and her journey in the Hindi film industry as we celebrated the success of A Thursday.

© Disney+ Hotstar

When asked if it was suffocating for her talent not to be recognised because of comments about her on social media for her character’s low screen time in a number of films, Yami exclusively told MensXP that she didn’t watch Action Jackson but was aware of the kind of remarks that went around.

“Obviously, there are so many things floating around, and these jokes that you are mentioning might be funny for a lot of people, and today, I am comfortable listening to them,” she said. “But imagine, 7 years ago, a newcomer like myself listening to these things and wanting to scream your heart out, ‘No, that’s not what it is.’ It’s impossible to create a comedy out of it. And I had a significant role.’ I knew Badlapur was just a cameo, but I really wanted to be in a Sriram Raghavan film. I chose Kaabil since it was still a difficult position. I was collaborating with one of our country’s most well-known actors, who also happens to be a fantastic performer in a well regarded picture. So, what makes you think I’d say no to that? And it truly gets you these things as an actor.”

Photo: © Instagram/Yami Gautam

“So, everyone has a part to play in what goes on in your head,” she continued. Not only the industry, but also the media. The new-age social media phenomenon is bringing the joke makers from nowhere. There is also another side that is correct. So, that bothered me at the moment, but I told myself that I couldn’t take it seriously. And I had to get over it. ‘Why are people being so cruel?’ I used to think. ‘What are they talking about?’ Tell me about the actresses who haven’t perished in a movie more than once. They’ve done so. ‘Achcha chalo yeh toh aise hi hai aise hi roles ke liye,’ however, became more convenient for me. Damsel in distress, yeh, woh…’”

“And somewhere, any which way, I was looking for a cause for myself where I started looking out for characters, for roles that would be worth the potential that I had,” she concluded. But you don’t just wish for them and they appear. It necessitates a great deal of patience, hard work, and auditions. After Vicky Donor, I still had to screen. But, if that’s the case, I’m fine with it. However, this was not the case for everyone. But, theek hai, if that’s the best option for me, I’ll take it. I was able to get Kaabil to pass the screen test. They seemed to enjoy it, and I thought to myself, “Fine, I’ve earned it my way.” There were also some screen tests that I didn’t complete. And there were occasions when there was no screen exam at all, and I still didn’t make it (laughs). As a result, they are encounters.”

“Things only takes the belief and confidence of one director to alter it for you,” the actress continued.

She went on to say that Kaabil was a huge hit and that it was a difficult job for her to do, despite the fact that the character was killed halfway through. “It’s a projection difference.” How you present yourself in public. Outside of that film and how you sell yourself, which I had no idea about. I’m still unsure. This is the other side of the coin.”

Yami then discussed director Aditya Dhar’s casting of her in Uri: The Surgical Strike, despite critics screaming, “No, no, no, she’s only good for certain kinds of parts,” and how quickly they forget, “Okay, I did that, but I also did Vicky Donor.”

© Maddock Films

“It was Amar’s (director Amar Kaushik) faith in me,” she added of Bala. ‘Why are you casting Yami?’ we told Amar, according to a number of persons. What makes you think she’ll be able to perform comedy? Matlab, Matlab, Matlab, Matlab, Matlab, Matlab, Matlab, Matlab He was, however, persuaded. For Bala as Pari, I read a few lines. Amar only needed to hear a few lines, so I told him, ‘Yes, my director should be completely satisfied.’ I’m ready, and I’m going to go for it.’ As a result, I read a few lines. We were simply sitting in the office when he asked, ‘What do you think of this part and how do you think she should sound just by reading this scene?’ And when I told him, he said, ‘Ya, that’s my character.’

“This is known as reverse casting,” she continued. That’s how I’ve always done it. Thursdays were reverse casting days, which worked out well for me. I’m not sure, but I’ll say that for every movie (laughs).”

When asked if she is still invited for auditions after the success of films like Bala, Uri, and now A Thursday, Yami answered, “For look tests?” In this business, you never know what will happen. I don’t have to right now, but if there is a post or a certain very senior director, I might. It’s not about the auditions; it’s more like a screen exam with only a few lines to read. Maybe for a part where I really want it and if that’s what someone casting for their picture is looking for, I’ll do it.”

© Instagram/Yami Gautam

She then contrasted the Hindi film industry’s culture with that of the West, pointing out that even the biggest stars in Hollywood go through auditions, but “this is not the culture for everyone here.” It’s a highly selective process. You’re familiar with how things work around here. So, you’re feeling ‘achcha,’ did you do a screen test for the other actor or my contemporary? ‘Why me, if you didn’t?’ ‘No, let me get this out of my system,’ I said later. ‘Why me?’ is a question that needs to be answered. It’s my life, my journey, and my adventure. I’ll have to go the extra mile to get there. That is something I am aware of. There’s nothing wrong with… I’m saying it as a fact: you’re from the industry, you’re not from the industry, you’re an outsider with no network, and everyone has their own road and challenges. So, this is mine, and I’ve travelled a long way to get here. Now that I’m in the next part of my life, I expect to face a variety of problems. I’m not sure what it will be, but I’m confident there will be something.”