Goafest 2022: We need to focus more on the stories and the script, than on picking actors – Yami Gautam

Rana Barua, group CEO, Havas Group India, asked the actor her take on the regional language cinema, Bollywood, and how she’s seen the ad industry evolve

May 05, 2022 01:47:00 PM | Article | Eularie Saldanha

The first day of Goafest 2022 saw actor Yami Gautam in conversation with Rana Barua, group CEO, Havas Group India. The actor, who’s been part of various ad commercials and movies, spoke about how she differentiates Bollywood from regional cinema.
 
She also told the audience about the expectations that today’s viewers have from films. 
 
On new age content, including feature films and digital series...
 
We are living in the best times, for an actor or any other creative person. We can double between digital and web series. It’s just a matter of some interesting writing which transpires on screen. You’ll find everyone busy with their hand on something very interesting. The question will be - who stands out? And we’ll have to put out a lot to keep the audience engaged with whatever we do. 
 
On the South Indian film industry and what does Bollywood need to do to conceive 1000 crore films...
 
The term Bollywood sounds off. Let’s rephrase it to call it Hindi cinema that talks about modern times. Rather than making it sound like a competition, let’s rejoice in the way the regional films are doing great numbers at Hindi box offices. That’s what’s commebdable and must be awarded. This is the time when the audience is telling us something and we must improvise and do what they’re asking for, positively. The regional actors believed in the director’s vision and went for it, whereas the directors too gave a commitment. 
 
What happens in Hindi films is - everything is centred around who the actor is. It starts and ends on that one aspect. My husband Aditya Dhar (director of the film Uri), has been working on one of the most ambitious films. However, explaining his vision to the producers has been a challenge. Directors need more free hand in expressing their vision and we need more focus on the stories and script, because the rest gets mapped out. We need to straighten our priorities. Someone is doing something right and we must take inspiration from them. 
 
The kind of content she is seeing come from today’s ‘Bharat’ and how is the ad industry evolving... 
 
There’s a pre and post-pandemic era. The audience today needs content, visuals and stories. They’re evolving faster than we are and so we need to keep up with the pace. When I made my debut in 2012, the ad industry was so different as compared to how it is now, with the advent of the digital world and the world becoming a global village. The audience is asking for more stories and we need to push ourselves more to give them better. As an actor, in whatever capacity, I’m going to give it my best. All the work that we do has to contribute something to the Indian cinema. Why not have more films which have good work and are successful? The audience is quite progressive. 
 
When things don’t go planned, how can stress be managed...
 
Stress is a part of everybody’s life and a journey we all have to walk through. The only difference is, when you’re a public figure, all your joys and emotions are out there in the public. The stakes are different in this aspect. We learn with experience and time. For me, my middle-class background was what helped me stay sane. Life is more than just work. Although we need to do things right and work harder, we mustn’t take things too seriously. If a film of mine does well, great, but even if it doesn’t, I will be in a balanced state of mind. You have to look at what keeps you grounded, and for me it’s my family. The middle-class values that I’ve been raised on is what really kept that small town girl alive in my heart. Let’s build a life, beyond these numbers.