Yami Gautam's phone hasn't stopped buzzing since the release of "Bala", with adjectives like "revelation and game changer" being used to describe her performance in the film.
The actor says the response has made her realise the importance of waiting for good projects and turning down work which doesn't have her heart. Yami started the year with "Uri: The Surgical Stirke" as an undercover agent and has closed her 2019 with the Amar Kaushik-directed comedy. Both the films were critically well received and while "Uri" is one of the biggest hits of the year, "Bala" is already clocking huge numbers. To reach these two films, Yami had to navigate through several projects which didn't work after her 2012 debut "Vicky Donor".
"With 'Vicky Donor', I chose a path which established me as an actor first, before anything else. But then in the middle... You try to figure things out. It was an overnight success, you don't know anyone here. It took me a while to understand this place, to find my voice. "The ability to say no is very important which I have realised. If you don't believe in something don't do it. I'd never go back and disrespect my certain professional choices because at that point for me, they mattered. But 'Uri' and 'Bala', showed me as an actor in a light which I wanted people to notice," Yami told PTI.
Starring Ayushmann Khurrana as a young man with receding hairline, "Bala" featured Yami as a small town TikTok star, enamoured with beauty and Bollywood. Her endearing, self-aware performance as model Pari Mishra has made people look at Yami in a different light and the actor feels a "rush of joy" with the praise coming in. "It feels gratifying as an actor. 'I am happy' will be an underwhelming answer. All this while I've been trying to look for roles which showcase the kind of films I want to do, the versatility I want to show. This year, it finally happened."
Yami said her interpretation of Pari was of a girl who is larger than life but her attempt was never to ridicule her. "The girl is ditsy, funny, does drama and everything is larger than life for her. Yet, she isn't annoying. She's entertaining but not a caricature. She's loud in her actions but isn't slapstick funny. "There was a very fine thread between not overstepping that line. The script was so well written, the screenplay and the dialogues, it became easy for me."
What helped the actor was Niren Bhatt's script and Amar's vision of how her character would be. "He was clear that Pari cannot come across as a made up character. Her story with Bala is believable and so is what she does. There can't be a 'projection' of Pari, I had to feel it. From that I started my journey, reading the script every morning and imagine how she'd walk, flip her hair, male TikTok vidoes, every basic thing."
The actor, who will next feature in the rom-com "Ginny Weds Sunny", is thankful that directors are giving her opportunities beyond the conventional. "There's a happy responsibility now, when people look forward to my work. My effort will always be to ber versatile. I knew my capability as an actor but it takes time. I have to be patient and I will be," she added.