MUMBAI — She does not want to be Sridevi no. 2. Jhanvi Kapoor, the daughter of the iconic actress and producer Boney Kapoor, would like to follow her mother’s advice and be Jhanvi Kapoor no. 1. Her mother wanted her to be someone so individualistic that she could never be compared to her.
The pretty girl may clearly be the latest example of what Kangana Ranaut terms “nepotism” (additionally, she is making her debut in a Karan Johar production, who was Ranaut’s chief adversary in the matter, so to speak!), but Jhanvi, if the trailers are any indicator at all, has what it takes. Just one expression, in the “pappi chahiye” sequence, shows an actor whose skills do not look raw but are that of a seasoned actor. We meet the warm-natured girl at the Dharma Productions office for a quick chat.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: Did your mother get to see parts of “Dhadak?”
A: She did! She watched 20 minutes of the rushes.
Q: And what did she say?
A (Trills happily): I am NOT telling you! That’s personal! As a mother, she’s bound to say sweet things. But she also said that I must be so different that people cannot compare us. And she has said even earlier that to be a good actress I have to be a good human being, be courteous to all, and be disciplined and punctual.
Q: When I spoke to your mother the first time, she was not keen on your becoming an actor.
A: I was also trying out fashion designing. But gradually, I realized where my true passion lay. I took classes in acting in Los Angeles and I trained in diction and dance. I did everything to improve my craft. For me, acting is not a job, it is a lifestyle, and there is a need to commit completely to it—sleep on time and wake up on time so that there are no bags under the eyes. I actually did all that and my parents saw my obsession. The passion and focus were coming from a place within me.
Q: What was it that fired you about acting?
A: The audience is the most obsessed with actors, as we make them feel things, move them, and make them experience new worlds, which we, too, do along with them. Like, as Jhanvi in another field, I would have no opportunity to live my character’s role.
Q: What is unique about your debut is that at your age and as a debutant heroine, you are also playing mother to a kid?
A: We shot those sequences after…in the last leg of the shoot, and I developed this maternal feeling though I wasn’t too fond of kids before. It was a funny feeling, of being closer to mom. Maybe the feeling of her loss was made less by being a mother myself.
Q: Would you discuss films with your mother?
A: She told me to find myself, so that it was all me. On her sets, I would learn
what goes into filmmaking, then about post-production. I would listen to her take on things, and to her views on films, acting and creative choices.
Q: Which are your favorite Sridevi performances or films?
A: I have only watched her in five films! Yes, that’s true! And among them, my favorite is “Sadma.”
Q: How would you describe your character in “Dhadak?”
A: She comes from a political family with a royal lineage. In Rajasthan, many royals convert heritage properties to hotels. She is from one such clan. She is strong, resilient, bossy, and has an air about herself.
Q: Is it true that you were to do “Student Of The Year 2?”
A: Not at all. For this film, Karan sir had come home, and we commenced reading scenes and monologues and poems. It was like a mini audition and I think he was finding out whether he should invest in me. After a series of readings, I got to know that “Dhadak” was a prospect. After that I met Shashank (Khaitan, writer-director) organically, and we had more readings. To date, no one ever told me in so many words that I was doing the film! (smiles)
Q: Based on the hit Marathi film “Sairaat”—yet a different film set in a completely different location, and with no influence of the original. How easy was it?
A: Shashank even told me to write back stories about my character. Actually, after mingling with the people in Rajasthan, and meeting the royal families who owned hotels, it was easy to blend in. We found out how women were treated, and I met this strong divorcee Parthivi — which is my name in the film too — who had made a success of her hotel business. There was a lot of responsibility on me — I had to make my family proud.
Q: How was Ishaan as co-star?
A: He’s talented, energetic and passionate. He works with so much dedication and there is a lot to learn from him. At the same time, he is great fun.
Q: What about working with your family members?
A: Most of all, I would like to work with chachu (Anil Kapoor).
Q: Wouldn’t you like a film that has your entire family in it?
A: Oh, I would love that! But it would probably cost 10,000 crore and maybe never get completed! (laughs) Or we will be the only ones watching it in the theatre! (laughs again).
Q: You were always written or spoken about long before your debut film. What is the funniest rumor you have heard about yourself?
A: I was once photographed while reading a book on terrorism, and the next thing I knew they said I am doing a film on terrorism!
Q: What next? Are you taking a break?
A: Not at all. I am dying to get back on the sets. I would like a comedy next.