It was not love at first sight for actor Yami Gautam, but friendship with filmmaker Aditya Dhar that bloomed into a bond that she’ll cherish for her entire life.
Staying true to their private personalities, the couple managed to escape the spotlight for long. And surprised everyone in June with the announcement of their wedding. And the actor says she has immense respect for their close friends who kept it a secret.
“We share who we are with each other,” says Gautam while opening up about her relationship with Dhar for the first time. Here are excerpts from the interview where she gives a peek into her happy bubble with Dhar.
It’s been over a month since you got married, pleasantly surprising everyone. How’s the new phase of your life treating you?
I’ve just been working. We barely got time to spend with each other, but we’re not complaining. The wedding was just beautiful. That’s exactly how we both wanted. It wasn’t planned. We let the time take its own course as they say things happen when they’re meant to happen. And maybe they were just meant to happen while the pandemic goes on.
Would you have done anything differently if there was no pandemic?
I wouldn’t have changed anything about the wedding, none of us would. Even if there was no pandemic, we would’ve still wanted this quiet and personal ceremony with our families, and just the way it was in a place where we both connect with. That’s who we are as people. Our families are really happy.
Yes, I wish we got more time to spend with each other, but that’s all right as we have our own respective commitments. And it feels really good because on every set I go, or look test or shoot for an advertisement, there would be cake cutting, and people wishing the best. It feels really good.
The simplicity of your marriage with the essence of Himachali tradition continues to stay in the hearts of many. Tell us a bit about planning the secret wedding, instead of going for a big Bollywood ki shaadi?
We should all be true to who we are. I was very sure what I’d want to wear. As a person, I’m someone who values my tradition and roots. And my family means the most to me. It was decided since forever that I’ll be wearing my mother’s sari. I knew [I will wear] the dupatta which my nani, she has kept for me, and that pahadi nath, which she had gotten it made for me and for all my other cousins, years back.
I knew that this is what I want to stick to. And to each its own, whatever makes you happy. For me, this is what made me happy. I wanted to feel the warmth of our traditions.
Also, having your sister, Surilie, by your side, as your ‘one man army’…
(Laughs) She was there through and through with me. She did my hair, and I did my makeup. She helped me pin up my sari and everything. I remember when Chandigarh was entering a lockdown with stricter restrictions for the right reasons, we had exactly two hours to shop, which is obviously not enough for a wedding. But if it wasn’t for her, it would’ve been so difficult. We’d make these lists every day, and the time we’ve to spend at the shop. In the evening, we all used to review sitting in the living room in a lockdown situation, where you still don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a lifetime memory.
But, the one question that everyone has, is when did they start dating? And when did this love story bloomed?
I’d say the start was during the promotion of Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019). That’s when we started talking. I wouldn’t call it dating. But yeah, that was a time when we started interacting with each other and started a friendship.
And you did a great job keeping it a secret, despite living under the constant scanner. How did you manage?
I’m so glad the journalists are surprised for the right reasons. I received messages from so many journalists that ‘We just don’t believe that’ and ‘How could you have this?’. I think we were very lucky. I’ll just put it to that. Both of us are very private as individuals. We’re not someone who likes to go out for outings and all those things.
But did anyone in the industry know about it?
(Chuckles) Now, I don’t think it’s right on my part to reveal that. Let’s just say that I have a lot of respect for certain friends, very few of our common friends, who respected our privacy. It meant a lot to us. It’s always nice to share this with people and the media, but when you both are comfortable. There shouldn’t be any kind of pressure or any kind of precedent for anyone that ‘Oh, that is how so and so carries themselves. So that’s how it has to be’. You’ve to decide for yourself, what works for you and what makes you happy. And this is what makes us happy.
The relationship started on a professional note with you working with Aditya. But when did you know that he is the man you want to spend your life with?
You just know it in your gut. It’s not something that you can really describe. You just know it. When you start understanding the person’s value system, and what family he belongs to. You don’t have to have similarities or share common things in your interests, but have similarities in your value system and in your ethics. And we share that a lot. I have a lot of respect for Aditya and I had a lot of respect for him as a professional and as a person. I respect him for who he is.
In fact, right before the wedding, a lot of people, including my friends, were like, ‘How are you sounding so calm? Where’s the anxiety? Where’s the stress? Where’s the nervousness in the voice? What happened?’ For me, I was just so happy and at ease because I was very sure of what we were doing. I’m lucky to have found another family in Aditya’s parents and his family.
Both of you had to get back to work soon after the wedding due to prior commitments. Do you plan to take a break to spend some quality time with each other soon?
I don’t know when they’ll get over for me, as well as for Aditya. Right now, when we come back home, we know this is our time, where we spend time with the family, have meals together, watch something nice and, and just spend time. We’ve found our happiness in this routine. I wish we could spend more time together, but we have an entire lifetime to share it. And the fact that I’ve to go out of town for a month in three days. So, we’re making the most of this moment and going with the flow.
Lastly, a lot of people believe in soulmates, and the concept that one completes another. Do you also believe in the same?
I don’t believe in the fact that you complete each other. I am who I am. And he is who he is. We share who we are with each other. For me, it’s so nice to come back to your family. It’s so nice to share your life with someone who you feel is someone you love, a friend, and partner. We enjoy doing simple things together and also enjoy not doing anything around each other. Even if he’s doing his work and I’m doing mine, the fact that I know he’s there feels so amazing. I don’t think anyone has done a thesis on relationships. Even though we are going to explore it, if this is how it is, it is great and beautiful. It is about small simple things without making life complicated.