Janhvi Kapoor: Mom wasn’t too happy with my decision but I knew acting was my one-way ticket to do everything – Janhvi, who is Boney Kapoor and the late Sridevi’s daughter, has shot into the limelight even before the release of her debut film, Dhadak. The 21-year-old has been closely followed by the shutterbugs and is quite popular on social media.
However, the ultimate test for her will be when her launch pad, which is produced by Zee Studios and Dharma Productions, opens in cinemas on July 20. Contrary to popular perception that she is quiet and reserved, the lissome lass tells us, “I’m animated and dramatic all the time.” Over the next 30 minutes, she tells us why her mother wasn’t too happy with her career choice and how Dhadak (an adaptation of the Marathi blockbuster Sairat) finally came her way. Excerpts…
Were you nervous before the trailer was launched?
When we were shooting the film, we were removed from all this. Ishaan and I never shot thinking, ‘Iss scene ka kya reception hoga, whether people will like it,’ etc. We were just the characters. I loved it because it was away from all this noise — the good, the bad and everything. When it came to the trailer launch, we were still soaking in the same feeling. Of course, there was so much positive energy that all of us were hoping for the best. It was only when I saw the promo that I realised we were finally letting it out to the world to judge. That’s when I got nervous. So, I was trembling during the trailer launch.
Did you always want to be an actress?
When I was a kid, I used to make up stories in my head and play characters. I loved entertaining people. I remember, in school, I would be animated and crack jokes. Also, movies have had a huge influence on my life. I’ve always been passionate about cinema.However, I wanted to explore other avenues like writing and study history. I thought I’d do all these courses, but when I started with an acting course, I realised this was my calling (smiles).
Who was the first person you confided in after you had made this decision?
I told my mom and she said, ‘Please reconsider your decision’. She always felt that I am too naive. Mom and dad are very protective of me. They didn’t think I was equipped to deal with the non-creative aspect of filmmaking. Mom wasn’t too happy. She felt she had worked so hard to give her children an easy life. But I didn’t want that, I wanted a fulfilling one.
I aspired to have that creative expression, that experience in real life with the struggles. I am very thankful for everything I have, but I am hungry to experience more than whatever has been given to me.
Then, how did you convince her?
It didn’t take a lot of convincing because they knew I was serious about it. They just told me that acting doesn’t mean looking pretty and reading the lines.
I knew that, so I wanted to do it. I have lived a wonderful life because of what my parents have given me, but at the same time, it’s been relatively sheltered. I’ve been protected all my life and I don’t know if it was because of who my parents were or the kind of people they were. Acting gives me the ability to experience different lives and expose myself to so many feelings. That’s why I wanted to pursue it because this was my one-way ticket to do everything.
So, how did Dhadak happen?
Karan (Johar) had come home after Manish Malhotra suggested he should meet me. Manish was the first person who thought I was capable of becoming an actor. Even before I could think of it, he asked me to consider it. Then, Karan came home, we had a brief meeting and he asked me to meet him at his office. I did readings with him — I would read poetry and act out scenes. Then, Dhadak happened.
Did you watch Sairat before you signed this film?
Yes, I had seen it with mom. It’s an unbelievable film. It’s such an important movie for Indian cinema. People have loved it because the characters are so relatable. The social message, which comes with the film, is poignant. And Rinku Rajguru is so raw. She has portrayed the character of Archi so beautifully.
How did you prepare for the role?
A lot of preparation went into it. Like I said, I love to act, which is why I wanted to learn everything. And I enjoyed that process immensely. I would have never learnt Mewari or known anything about the Rajasthani culture otherwise. I got the chance to do that, I spent a lot of time in Jaipur and Udaipur, interacted with locals and observed how they speak. Even in Mumbai, I met a few people who are originally from Udaipur. That was the research, but mostly, I sat with director Shashank Khaitan for readings and he would work with me on it. I would read my script every single day. Even when we were shooting, I would read everyone’s lines. The more I voiced the dialogues, the more it came naturally to me. Now, I think I speak Mewari better than I speak Hindi (laughs).