Janhvi Kapoor and Boney Kapoor
She is young, but not immature. She is fashionable, without trying too hard. And most importantly, she is simply confident about her big Bollywood debut – Dhadak – yet there’s no brashness in her attitude. We are talking about none other than Janhvi Kapoor, the 21-year-old daughter of Boney Kapoor and the late Sridevi, who is nothing but a breath of fresh air for the cine-goers.
Born into a film family, Janhvi Kapoor speaks like her late mother and thinks like her father, but she infuses it all with an energy that only belongs to her. As Janhvi is about to make a grand entry into Bollywood, quite naturally the young lady seems nervous! But at the same time, Janhvi is excited too. She says, “We spent the last year-and-a-half of our lives dedicated to this journey and now we are putting it out there for the world to judge and enjoy, and even dissect. For me, this has been a personal journey which is coming to an end and that feeling is a little emotional.”
How it all began
Janhvi, just like her half-brother Arjun Kapoor, was not fond of studies. After finishing school, she took up an acting course at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in Los Angeles. After coming back, Janhvi worked on her Hindi diction and dancing skills. Recalling her childhood days, Janhvi said, “I remember skipping school and watching five movies in a day; my parents thought I was insane. I learned more on the set than in school because films help you learn through experience.”
Sridevi’s reaction when Janhvi broke the news of becoming an actor at home was just epic. She exclaimed “Aiyo!”. And as they say ‘Moms know best’, Sridevi felt that her daughter shouldn’t pick acting like a trial and error method. She told Janhvi, “If you want to do this, you need to give it everything and nothing else should matter”.
Hoping to follow in her mother’s footsteps since childhood, Janhvi Kapoor reveals that her bedtime stories, too, would revolve around films – she happily swapped fairy tales for stories about Sridevi’s “whacked-out experiences” in the industry.
Janhvi Kapoor and Boney Kapoor
Janhvi has competition this year as two other star kids – Sara Ali Khan, daughter of Saif Ali Khan and Ananya Panday, daughter of Chunkey Panday are also being launched. Though Janhvi hopes hers will be the most talked-about debut, she will strive to follow Sridevi’s advice. “Mum always told me, it’s not about the kind of role or movie you do; you need to make an impression – that’s an actor’s job. She never encouraged emotions like jealousy or frustration. We’re capable of being happy for others.”
Her first day on the sets of Dhadak
While the newbie was a bundle of nerves on the first day on set, she says the makers ensured she was comfortable. “The first day was fun. Shashank (Khaitan) had established a safe haven for us and we were already feeling like a family. But I was nervous. I didn’t sleep the night before we started rolling. We kicked off with Yaad Lagla [the song adapted from the original film Sairat],” she says.
Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter
You would be amazed to know how Janhvi Kapoor’s “auditions” for the film were. Karan Johar had visited Sridevi’s home, when the actress was having a conversation with the filmmaker about Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra. While leaving KJo asked Janhvi to drop by his office for a meeting. They met and rehearsed a few scenes together. Every week, he would print out a scene from his movies and give it to Janhvi. She would learn it, do the scene with him and then he would give his inputs. Janhvi started sleep talking the lines from Karan’s movies, Khushi had revealed. Said Janhvi, “I think it was Kajol mam’s lines from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. These sessions were like my auditions. He was trying to gauge my acting capabilities.”
Karan Johar who has launched several talented youngsters in the industry, says, “She’s a pro, handling herself with a maturity that belies her age. It’s both, heartbreaking and endearing that she talks about her mother constantly. Kapoor is not what you expect. And this is just the beginning of her story.”
As Janhvi steps into films, she says her goal is to work towards making her mother proud. She had penned down an emotional letter to her mother after her demise, where she wrote, “Every morning, all that I would do was (wake up) with the hope that one day you’d be as proud of me as I was of you. But I promise I’ll wake up every day with the same thought. Because you’re here and I can feel you.”
Janhvi truly proved that she belongs to a filmi family, who follows the principle of ‘The show must go on’. After 12 days of mother Sridevi’s sudden demise, she resumed shoot of her film. The late actress was really looking forward to Janhvi’s debut, like any other mother. And so is the country.
As Dhadak hits theatres today, expectations are high. Since, the film is the Hindi adaptation of critically-acclaimed Marathi film Sairat that explored the themes of caste divide and honour killing, comparisons are bound to happen. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to seeing Janhvi’s performance. Will she be able to carve her own identity along with just being known as Sridevi and Boney Kapoor’s daughter?
As Janhvi rightly said, “I want to be given that freedom to prove myself and create a space in people’s hearts that is my own. I have a sense of responsibility towards the people who admire my family’s work and I want to make them happy.”