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'We worked hard to make our onscreen chemistry look nice'

By Jahnavi Patel
Last updated on: June 22, 2016 18:17 IST
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Yami: You didn't know about this talent of mine of hiding food in my clothes? In the song Mujhko Barsaat Bana Lo, I hid a bread pakoda in my black sari.

Pulkit: We had a shot, where my head was in her lap. Suddenly, just before the director said 'Action', the bread pakoda fell on my face!

Yami Gautam and Pulkit Samrat, in a FUN conversation.

Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam

IMAGE: Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam in the Ishqe Di Lat song in Junooniyat

Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam always insist on giving interviews together.

Just four months after I interviewed them, I met them once again for an interaction for their next film together. The actors seemed relaxed in each other's company, and couldn't resist pulling each other's leg. 

Their film Junooniyat, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, was supposed to release with Udta Punjab, but it got postponed by a week, and will now release on June 24.

Pulkit and Yami have fun with Jahnavi Patel/

Your last film Sanam Re was also a love story, like Junooniyat. Why back-to-back love stories? How different is this one going to be?

Yami: It's entirely different. We will not do two similar love stories back-to-back. It doesn't make sense to us as actors, and even for the audience.

I am sure when people saw the trailer of Junooniyat, they understood that it was totally different from Sanam Re. Except for the fact that it has Pulkit and me, everything is different: the director, the story, the characters, the backdrop...

In Junooniyat, Pulkit plays an army captain named Captain Jahaan Bakshi. I play a Punjabi girl from Amritsar. 

Every love story is about a boy and a girl falling in love. Then something happens, and they either fall apart or don't. But what makes each story different is how these things happen and what the point of conflict in the story is.

Pulkit: This film is unique because normally, a girl's family from an army background (Yami's family in the film is from the army) would be okay with her going out with an army guy.

But here, she isn't allowed to. Why would that be? That makes it a very interesting and unique conflict.

This is actually a real-life incident that we picked up. It happens even today in families with army backgrounds.

Also, normally, opposites attract. In this film, we are both strong-headed. It's interesting to see the chemistry between two similar personalities. Their egos play a part in making them fall in love and that's why their fights are as interesting as their manana (patch-up).

Yami: Even with the songs, Sanam Re had an entirely different palette. Here we have songs for every occasion, like a club song, two romantic numbers, a sad song, a shaadi song, a Holi song... 


Yami Gautam and Pulkit Samrat

IMAGE: Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam in the song 'Nachange Saari Raat' from Junooniyat

Yami, this is the first time you have danced in a film, in the song Nachange Saari Raat.

Pulkit: Yes, and she has killed it. She's fab in that. I was lucky enough to watch it live.

She conned me in that song because we'd rehearse and after one hour of rehearsal, she'd say, 'Pulkit ho gaya, I think we're done.' We'd leave together and then she'd go back, rehearse more and finally, she overshadowed me in the song.

Yami: No, I didn't overshadow you.

Pulkit: She did.

Yami: I told our choreographers, Vijay Ganguly and Dimple, that please, I don't care if the leg, waist or head breaks, just don't make me look like a fool.

Pulkit: Please dance more in more movies, we love watching you dance.

Yami: How sweet, Pulkit (laughs). I'd love to.

I was nervous because he's a fab dancer and I was like I shouldn't look like a fool. This is the first time I'm dancing in heels in a Punjabi number, and I wanted to go all out because it is such a nice song, with so much energy.

Pulkit: What would you call a nerve-wracking situation: dancing with me or dancing with Hrithik Roshan? That is called nervous.

Yami: We will come to that also.

Pulkit: Please call me and tell me how you will prepare for that. He will not be fooled if you say a one-hour rehearsal is enough.

Yami: But it was fab. I loved the song. Your work becomes easy when you like what you're doing.  

Yami, how much do you relate to your character Suhani?

A lot, because I am half Punjabi.

I love laughing, and I love my family. She is a bit jugaadu also. I think she's crazier than me but I love the concept of love which is not just for the boyfriend but also for the family.

I think if you love your family with passion, you will love your guy with passion as well. That's what Suhani is all about. She loves having fun and takes everything lightly.

When such a girl falls in love, that's the conflict in the film -- for his character, it's a junooniyat (passion) for his country and his beloved and for me it's my family and him.


Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam

IMAGE: Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam in Junooniyat

Do you think your pairing will be a major draw for audiences?

Pulkit: We worked hard to make that happen, to make the onscreen chemistry look nice.

The entire team worked hard on that. If people like the chemistry, that will become one of the USPs of the film. Not only as an onscreen couple but also as actors in our individual capacities. 

Every time you come on screen, you have to look believable. That's the only way to make people fall in love with you.

What did you two bond over while shooting?

Yami: We bonded over food. He's from Delhi. Chandigarh (where Yami is from) isn't far and we both love food!

Courtesy this movie, we got to shoot in different places like Kashmir. The locals used to get us amazing home-cooked food. Then, there was chole kulche in Amritsar and lassi in Patiala.

Pulkit: You had all that?

Yami: You didn't know? I don't starve.

You didn't know about this talent of mine of hiding food in my clothes? In the song Mujhko Barsaat Bana Lo, I hid a bread pakoda in my black sari.

Pulkit: (interrupts) We had a shot, where my head was in her lap. Suddenly, just before the director said 'Action', the bread pakoda fell on my face!

Yami, you are opposite Hrithik Roshan in Kaabil?

I was very happy. I am sure he is on the wish-list of many actresses. When you work with him, you realise he deserves every compliment he gets. He is amazing to work with.

The characters we play and the story are so endearing. I play a blind girl. It's a dream team to work with. Rakeshji (Rakesh Roshan) is one of the finest producers and (director) Sanjay Gupta is very cool.

I was very nervous before the shoot but the moment I met Hrithik, it was washed away because he made sure that everyone was very comfortable.

Pulkit: Are you praising Kaabil or complaining about Junooniyat?

Yami: I was very happy in Junooniyat too. 

Pulkit: You guys neglected me all the time.

Yami: No, it was just the food that I used to hide. Sometimes my mom used to come on the sets and get gujiyas. That day we were shooting the Holi number Pagola Sa Naach.


Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam

IMAGE: Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam. Photograph: Yami Gautam/Instagram.

Do you feel that the constant scrutiny of being a star impacts your personal life?

Pulkit: Personal is personal, professional is professional. We just come on the sets, do our job and go back.

Yami: There is no personal life.

How would you describe each other in one word?

Yami: He's very hardworking and talented.

Pulkit: You said two things.

Yami: I wanted to say hardworking and talented but she wanted one word, so I just made up something. Extremely talented.

Pulkit: Cute. That was cute; she called me hardworking and talented, tareef pe tareef ho rahi hai toh cute hi hua na? (I am being appreciated so much so it is cute).

Yami: No yaar, you shouldn't say that, then they'll write 'Pulkit Samrat finds Yami Gautam cute.'

Pulkit: Write Pulkit Samrat finds Yami Gautam totally repellent and very, very... (to Yami) give me some adjectives.

Yami: I don't know. 

Pulkit: I'll give you the word... hmm... she's fun to be around, she's got a great sense of humour.

Yami: Again, that's the wrong line.

Yami Gautam and Pulkit Samrat

IMAGE: Yami Gautam and Pulkit Samrat in Sanam Re

You had told us about her sense of humour the last time we met too…

Pulkit: So she won't change.

Yami: In fact, we shot Junooniyat before Sanam Re. We were shooting for both films in parallel. We wrapped up Kashmir and Amritsar and the next day we were in Chandigarh for Sanam Re.

Then I had Badlapur promotions, 10 days finish, cut to...

Pulkit: Accha, just to show that you were much busier than me.

Yami: Oh God. You had Bangistan in July, remember?

Pulkit: Can you not go there.

Yami: I quite liked it.

Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam

IMAGE: Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam. Photograph: Pulkit Samrat/Instagram

What do you like about each other?

Yami: He is one of the most talented actors, an all-rounder; make him act, dance, sing... I am sure it'll be very interesting to see him in action also.

As a person, he is totally contradictory to what you might see on screen.

Pulkit: You're sounding like a proud parent.

Yami: He is very reserved, keeps to himself but he is one of the most talented actors. I am sure the audience can also see it.

Now I think I sound like a proud parent. That's okay, we've done two films back-to-back so saying this is totally right.

Pulkit: Thank you, that's so sweet.

One thing I like about her is that she is very hardworking and her hard work is infectious. She'll work so hard that you start wondering whether you're doing any work or not.

You know that she's arrived on the sets because everybody will just cheer up. She has got a great sense of humour.

Yami: That was also a joke, guys.

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Jahnavi Patel / in Mumbai