“You don’t need big money or expensive clothes to look beautiful on your wedding day. You don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to be happy”— Yami
Celebs wanting to keep their high-profile wedding under wraps isn’t unheard of. However, in most cases, news of the couples’ exotic European high-end designer wedding travels faster than light back home. Actress Yami Gautam and Uri director Aditya Dhar’s Himachali wedding last month, thus came as a pleasant surprise to one and all. No paps, no orchestrated candids, no event management professionals, fancy trousseau, the works. The minimalism was a remarkable exception to modern-day celeb weddings. Back in Mumbai from Himachal, we asked the newly-wed bride all about her heartwarmingly intimate and private three-day wedding ceremony in the hills. Excerpts from Yami’s elaborate interaction with Bombay Times…
Aditya and you tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in Mandi, Himachal on June 4. How did both of you manage to ensure that no one gets a whiff of it?
It feels like an achievement when journalists say that they were taken by surprise (smiles!). I feel a lot of things in our life are a reflection of who we are as people.Aditya and I are extremely private and reserved. Family means the world to us. I always knew that whenever this moment happens in my life, it will be a beautiful, small and a homely ceremony, pandemic or no pandemic. We didn’t plan this wedding, we just went along with it. We barely had a month to prepare. Even if there was no pandemic, this is exactly what we wanted — a wedding amidst nature and where our heart belongs — Himachal.
Very few knew that you two were seeing each other. When did the romance begin?
We started interacting when we worked on Uri: The Surgical Strike together. We got talking and developed a friendship during the promotion of the film. That’s when the relationship started. Even before we started seeing each other, I had a lot of respect for Aditya as a person and as a professional. He values people, no matter what. He is polite and courteous even in stressful situations as a director. I had heard stories about how he is genuinely nice to everyone and it’s true. He creates an atmosphere where you look forward to working everyday. There’s a lot of mutual respect between us. Love has a different meaning for different people. For me, it’s about having a nice heart. Above all, you need to be a good person and he’s just like that.
He is Kashmiri, you are from Himachal and the two of you met in Mumbai. What drew you to each other the most?
Aditya is a self-made guy and I adore that about him. I know of his journey. You don’t have to share interests with someone to be together, but a common value system. You can like/dislike totally different things and still find a common ground if the ethics are the same. Our core values are similar. We both belong to middle-class families and family means the world to us. Everyone said the wedding was so real, but that’s how we are as people — unpretentious. We do work in an industry and live in a city which is competitive, but should that change your value system? No. He is the rarest of rare people who is as simple as I am. We are dedicated to our work, but we can’t wait to get back home, share a meal with family and laugh together.
When did you know he’s the one?
You just know it. These things can’t be planned. We never decided that we will get married on June 4. It was like, shall we do it? Okay, let’s go ahead. You just know. It’s your gut feeling, an instinct can never fail you. Our families were equally happy. We didn’t need to convince anyone.
Growing up what were your fantasies about your wedding and was this any different?
The more I attended big weddings, I knew I didn’t want that. Of course, we don’t know the meaning of marriage early on, but going by my understanding and experience of attending weddings, I was sure about what I didn’t want. I am fortunate that both Aditya and I shared this thought. We both are averse to the wastage that happens in weddings — food, flower decorations and so many other things. Also, it’s so difficult to make everyone happy, so why not get married among those who actually care about you. The focus was solely on the ceremony and not us trying to please anyone. We were just two families enjoying the moment. Yes, we missed a lot of friends and relatives who couldn’t be there, but they all understood the importance of adhering to COVID restrictions. Only 20 people were allowed and this included the pandit who performed the wedding. We didn’t want to flout a single rule.
There was no ‘professional’ feel to your wedding. It took us back to the pre-Instagram times, when moments mattered more than the money spent on making them look memorable.
To each his own. I don’t believe in comparing weddings. Every bride is beautiful. Everyone thought it was right for me to go ahead with what I believed in and I was happy to do that. I was never fond of this whole DJ music playing at weddings. I liked my traditional folk songs. My mother-in-law played some beautiful Kashmiri songs. The maroon wedding sari I wore belongs to my mother. My nani had bought it for her. When I showed it to my stylist Allia Al Rufai, she said that it was beautiful and we don’t have these fabrics and patterns anymore. Personally, I wanted to wear something that is close to my heart and carries my tradition. You don’t need big money or expensive clothes to look beautiful on your wedding day. Girls can dig into their mother’s wardrobe and find gorgeous vintage saris. That’s your heritage. You don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket to be happy. The first mandap picture that we posted was clicked by my brother. I did my own make-up. My sister did my hair and coordinated everything. We had one person to click pictures, and he too has known us for years.
Aditya has directed you before. Do you see the equation changing on set post marriage?
I can’t say that till he directs me again. So far, he isn’t directing me anytime soon, but you should ask him this (smiles!).