Janhvi Kapoor the new sensation of Bollywood was left shell-shocked when a fan in Mumbai toppled right in front of her. Even before the release, she grabbed the love and attention of so many people, 1.7 million and counting followers on Instagram and the several fan pages dedicated to her.
Dhadak, an official remake of the 2016 Marathi blockbuster film Sairat, has received mixed reviews from film critics. The film, produced by Zee Studios and Dharma Productions, is directed by Shashank Khaitan.
Dhadak, that marks the debut of Janhvi Kapoor, has received an astounding response at the box-office. The film, in its two-day run at the cinemas, has earned over Rs 19 crore, which is phenomenal, to say the least. Not just this, Dhadak got the highest opening ever for a film starring newcomers. It opened with a handsome figure of Rs 8.71 crore.
“The love has been overwhelming,” says Janhvi. “More than anything else, it feels good to know that we’ve moved people with this message that we were trying to convey. I’m just happy about any form of acceptance, so I have a chance to work more and do better at what I love. To see my father (film producer Boney Kapoor), Shashank (Khaitan, director of Dhadak) and Karan (Johar, producer of Dhadak) feeling so proud and happy means the world to me.”
The 21-year-old actor understands that it wouldn’t be easy to take the family legacy forward — her parents together made one of Hindi cinema’s biggest hits, Mr India (1987). But she feels lucky that she could learn so much about cinema right at home — both in terms of the art and the business. “It’s lovely to have had access to so much knowledge and seen two sides of the coin,” says Janhvi.
She adds, “My father is a more creatively inclined producer; he gets very involved. From his perspective, I know what actors are like when they’re behaving in a certain way, and how he needs to take care of technicians, how post-production is as important as pre-production and shooting.”
Seeing her father function, she realised that “the producer’s job is actually the most under-credited one”. Janhvi says, “Pura credit baki log lekey jaatey hain (others walk away with all the credit), actors, directors… because they were in front of the camera or just behind the camera. A producer is even more behind (in terms of visibility), lekin unka bahut bada haath hota hain (but makes a huge contribution to the project). About my father, I know how hands-on he is. So I have a lot of sympathy for producers and feel responsible.”
About mother Sridevi, she says, “She was such a creatively fuelled person, so emotional and sensitive. It was vibrant energy to have her around. Her knowledge of cinema and acting, I think, is unparallelled — she did 350 films from the age of four. Acting, for her, was instinctive; it was like breathing, not a textbook thing. She never gave me tips, but watching her was everything, even in daily life.”
“Papa told me that just because you’re an actor and you’re dealing with emotions and you’re in front of the camera, it doesn’t mean yours is the most important job. Everyone’s job is important, everyone is doing their best. The most important thing is the film and nothing else,” says Janhvi.
How about working in a remake of one of her mother’s hit films, with her father producing it? “It’s daunting to even think about it, as it’s ten times more responsibility,” she replies. “I need to first prove myself to be deserving of such a great opportunity.”
Going back to Dhadak and her father’s and younger sister’s reaction to the film, Janhvi says, “Khushi was crying… She looked at me and said, ‘Why are you worrying?’ and then started crying again. Papa actually saw the film a month ago, and as soon as the screening was over, he went to the temple. That night he came to my room and held me tight and started crying.” The film, co-starring Ishaan Khatter, is a remake of the Marathi hit, Sairat.