Yami Gautam: In regards to beauty, I think, to each his own

The movies have kept her busy, but Yami Gautam , like his contemporaries, he has a secondary business in mind. The actress has a beautiful property in her hometown, Himachal Pradesh, which she says will lead to a fruitful adventure, literally. In a sincere conversation with BT, he talked about his next movie, Bullet , future plans and more. Chat Excerpts:

You made your debut in Bollywood with Ayushmann Khurrana in 2012 with Vicky Donor. Bullet reunites the two of you. Has your equation changed? Have the two of you been in touch over the years?

After Vicky Donor, we did a music video together. This time we have teamed up for a movie. We have been in touch, but wouldn’t communicate often, as we have been busy with our respective careers. However, when we met for Bullet , the energy was the same as it was in our first film together. Only, earlier we used to hog on the sets, but this time around we were more in control (laughs!). The caterer on the sets of Vicky Donor was really good! We used to gorge on dal makhni, butter chicken, chicken tikka, malai kebab etc. Also, the guest house we were staying at, had a private cook. He knew we loved food and so he would excitedly tell us that he made special kadhi or crispy pakodas for us. You can see in Vicky Donor, how healthy we looked on the screen (laughs!). However, the Punjabiyat in him and the pahadiyat in me, when it comes to food, has taken a backseat now. Now, we are more fitness conscious.

Which parts of the country did you explore while shooting for Bullet ? Did you also relish some local cuisine, this time around?

Bullet has been shot at places like Lucknow and Kanpur. I was a part of the Lucknow schedule where I enjoyed tunday kebab and chaat. They also had this amazing ice-cream, which was served in a patton (leaves) ka bowl; it’s a delicious pista-flavoured ice-cream, which you will find only at a local vendor’s shop. On my day off, I explored the city alone. I visited places like the Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara, and a museum. I also went to the market to buy the chikankari work, which was beautiful.

These days, many films are filmed and filmed in the small villages of India. How is the experience of shooting in those places?

Movies are developed in small towns because people like stories that come from the heart. Also, I feel that filming movies and filming them in a small town is economical. If a movie that takes place in a small city is recorded in a real location, it can capture the right taste. After all, a set is a set. I am from Himachal Pradesh and I grew up in Chandigarh. So, I'm used to little gallis and mohallas. I enjoy shooting in those places. If you put your phone aside and observe your daily routine, how they do their job, how they cook, etc., it is really fascinating. There is much to understand. We filmed in remote areas where there were many people, but the filming was done without problems.

Have you ever filmed a movie in your hometown in Himachal Pradesh?

I will record the last schedule of my next movie, Ginny Weds Sunny, in Manali. Once filming is complete, I would like to spend some time there. However, I am waiting for a movie to arrive, which is completely set in Himachal, where I can speak in the Pahadi language. I have many relatives there. My nani stays in the neighborhood while my parents are in Chandigarh. I own a small farm in Himachal and enjoy staying there with my family. It is in Mandi and the house is a well-maintained property of 100 years. I bought it two years ago, and we have kept the ancient and rooted architecture as it is. In fact, he still has a chulha in the kitchen. Abhi bhi wahan gobar (cowdung) ki lipai hoti hai on some floors. Kuch rooms abhi bhi mitti ki bane hue hain. In addition, there is a current that flows next to the house. At night, we have to be careful, as leopards can enter. I love chatting with the locals there. They call me Amy and invite me to her house and make chai for me. They give me local gossip, and there are no obscene conversations at all. Once there, I enjoy agriculture. We already have organic products and I want to develop them even more. We grow apples and plums. The plums of my farms are as big as apples and are incredibly juicy and sweet. We do not use chemicals or fertilizers. We also grow ginger, potatoes, cucumbers and onions. We sell the products in local markets. In the future, I plan to take this further, create homemade products and maybe turn it into a secondary business.

Coming back to Bullet , Bhumi plays the role of a self-loving dark-skinned girl, while in real-life, you endorse a fairness product...

We (Bhumi and I) have had this conversation before. I had already shot with the brand for a couple of ads, in the capacity of a model. This is before I had joined the movies. Over the years, I have had conversations with the brand’s team that we need to evolve and move beyond what the brand was (established as) 20-30 years ago. Thankfully, today we don’t have those kind of ads being made, which were produced earlier. I feel that the whole idea of beauty should be, to each his own. Looks are completely your perspective. It’s your face, your body, whatever you feel makes you happy is good for you. Being fair, being tanned, going for tanning cream, fairness creams or no creams at all is your choice. And this is the idea that needs to be propagated. Therefore, we don’t have the old ads anymore. Not being fair cannot be a reason to be unhappy. The brand has been working on it. We now speak about ‘glow’ in our ads, in order to move away from the ‘gorapan’ conversation. I am glad that I got to be a part of a film like Bullet , as it addresses many topics like age-old notions, insecurities and perceptions. The film tackles those and looks beyond them.