If you are anything like us and scroll through YouTube when you have nothing else to do, you may have come across this 23 years old poet Yahya Bootwala. Looking at his rising fame, The Teen Magazine decided to reach out to him to talk about his life, past, and inspirations.
Of course we had to start with the one question that almost all his fans have been wondering about, how did he start? Yahya surprises us by saying, "I think it's all been a lovely accident." He thought about his life post-graduation. He says, after his graduation, he was doing a job and still figuring out what to do in life and that's when an acquaintance of his took him to a poetry open mic. "I instantly fell in love with the format, as I've always been a performer and craved the stage." That was the moment he realized that the open mic gave him a stage and an audience. All he had to do is write some material and perform it there and "That's how I started my journey."
Since then, "I guess I just went with the flow." He says he was enjoying what he was doing and creating. He has an audience that has always been loving and motivating so he keeps doing what he is doing now. Yahya rose to fame after his poetry video "Shayad Wo Pyaar Nahi" went viral on YouTube. As his fandom grew larger and larger, Yahya started more tours and fan meets.
“Alfaaz Ka Safar” is the tour that is probably most special to him right now. "It’s like my 1-hour special where I take the audience on a ride of emotions and it’s taken a while to be knitted so that’s why it feels extra special."
He has paused the tours right now because of rising pandemic spreading worldwide. Once the situation is back to normal over the country India, Yahya says that he'd love to tour with his special again.
Yahya's short film 'Sheher Ya Tum' released in 2019 got Golden Gateway Dimensions Mumbai Award. We asked him about his inspirations for the film. "That was more of Karan’s (The Director) idea. What I know is that the plot was very personal to him in a way and when I heard it, I instantly was on board for it." Turns out, the plots that he added to his story are incidents that he had seen or experienced, which at the same time would feel universal so that both Karan and Yahya feel connected to the project.
Talking about his plans Yahya says he dreamt of being an actor since 6th grade and that's what he aspires to be in the future. Majorly in his free time, Yahya is either binge-watching series (like the most of us) or conceptualizing shows or just writing monologues and practicing them.
Poetry is his only way to be connected to the stage and an audience and at the same time, it gives him space to express himself. But it isn't always easy. "Of course, there are days of self-doubts about whether I'm good enough or not but I manage to get through it with some support from my family, friends, and the art itself." He says.
Then we moved to a topic common between all rising stars. The more popular you become, the more haters will increase. "How do you deal with haters?" I asked him.
"Of course, there are trollers and hate comments that we receive but I try not to pay attention to it because you really can’t make them love you." He says that there is no human that everyone will love, there will always be someone who will hate you for no reason at all and you have to make peace with it. And with that, he pretty much summed up that topic. Not paying attention is the best way to deal with haters.
As the interview came to an end, Yahya talked about his upcoming projects. "There are multiple projects that I’m conceptualizing and working on right now." While he can’t throw light on a few, he did share the others.
Our favorite poet Yahya is coming up with his Podcast called “Youthfully Yours” and a few are in the pipeline too. Apart from that, there are a few show ideas that he has worked on which he can execute when the lockdown is lifted and when they can go back to performing onstage.
Lastly, Yahya humbly gave some advice to any young poets out there looking to write wonderful writings. "Just be honest with your work, it should be a true reflection of your emotions. Any form of art provides you with the opportunity to express yourself so always express what you truly feel without thinking of if it will be accepted or not."
When the interview ended, we took up a few fan-based questions sent by his fans themselves.
1. How often do you see your DMs from your fans?
I see it almost every day and make it a point to reply to around 4-5 people daily.
2. What would be your superpower? (@yahyabootwala.fp on Instagram)
I have never been able to narrow down on one but being able to control and use fire according to my will has always been on top of my list
(And that's kinda cool since I think fire might be the power I'll fear.)
3. Sometimes fame brings arrogance. How do you manage to stay so down to earth? (Prerana Gupta)
As I said, I’ve been blessed with the right people around me as friends and family. They keep me grounded in the most beautiful way.
(And that's why people, always prioritize your family and friends)
4. How was your experience when you worked with Ayushmann sir? (@preranagupta_18 on Instagram)
I think it was for a very short span of time, we were quick to shoot the video. But I love how humble and honest he is as a person and Insha’Allah I’ll work with him again in the future someday
5. What were your thoughts when 'shayad voh Pyaar nhi' got viral? Did you expect that to happen? (@mehar_2622 on Instagram)
It took me by surprise, even in my wildest dream I hadn’t thought about the poem going viral to the extent it has. I just knew that this was the start of a journey but I had no idea of where it was going to lead or how far will it take me. I guess I just kept my faith and kept evolving with time