Janhvi Kapoor: The Power of Change

Janhvi Kapoor Banners 2024 NEW REVISED 3

Janhvi Kapoor knows what expectation is. The daughter of legend Sridevi and producer Boney Kapoor has consciously carved a niche since her debut in 2018’s Dhadak, a remake of the 2016 Marathi film Sairat. Looking back on her performance in the film, it’s evident that there was a perceived lack of confidence. She admits to it in an interview with BBC in 2020. “I think I lacked confidence. I feel that my language was an issue. I think I was a little stiff in places,” says Kapoor. 

On Janhvi Kapoor: Black silk saree with tiger motifs in silver zari by Shanti Banaras. BVLGARI B.Zero1 necklace and B.Zero1 three bands ring in white gold and diamonds, both by Bvlgari

Self-awareness proves to be a nuanced trait, particularly within the unpredictable realm of Bollywood, where garnering validation can be a formidable challenge. However, recognising these facets for enhancement and earnestly striving to address them attests to Kapoor’s dedication to personal growth, a commitment reflected in her filmography. 

“My mother would have given me more advice than she did, especially leading up to my first film. Until then, our discussions about movies were limited to my observations of her reactions to films we watched together as a family. When I expressed my interest in filmmaking, she emphasised that I should be prepared for inevitable comparisons between my debut and her extensive filmography—something she considered inherently unfair,” says Kapoor, adding that the late Sridevi advised her not to take heed to the comparisons. “She stressed the importance of being the most authentic version of myself, experiencing emotions organically, and working diligently, underscoring the mantra ‘no pain, no gain.’” 

Her Own Person

On Janhvi Kapoor: Gold Water hand embroidered 3D embellished sheer saree by Rahul Mishra. BVLGARI high jewelry serpenti tubolare pearl elements necklace and bracelet in pink gold and diamonds by Bvlgari

Over the years, Kapoor has showcased versatility by embracing roles that diverge from the conventional path often treaded by star kids, who typically gravitate towards the familiar formula of mainstream, high-energy entertainers. In Netflix’s Ghost Stories, she delved into the horror genre, and witnessing her on-screen conveyed a sense of maturity and growth. Subsequently, in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl and Good Luck Jerry, she embodied two distinctly diverse characters with inherent warmth and assurance, demonstrating a deliberate choice to prioritise roles that contribute substance to her body of work, showcasing a focus on character depth over a mere pursuit of glamour in the film industry. Her standout role, so far, would have to be Mili. The survival film tests Kapoor’s acting abilities, and she comes out with flying colours. 

On Janhvi Kapoor: Handwoven small silk circled dot jaamdani saree by Akaaro. BVLGARI serpenti viper necklace, bracelet and ring in white gold and diamonds, all by Bvlgari

Kapoor recognises that, as an individual, she is inherently different from each character she portrays. Moreover, every character holds distinctiveness from one another. “I’ve been told that I tend to carry my characters with me, blurring the lines between fiction and reality. It’s not a conscious process for me to detach; rather, it’s how a teenage girl might navigate a breakup—finding a new person to focus on. I find myself retaining certain aspects of each character I portray. This integration becomes a part of me, and I carry it forward in my subsequent roles,” she says. 

Despite the challenges of detaching from characters, Kapoor tries to revisit familiar places, particularly Chennai, whenever my schedule allows. The house her mother bought there holds significant memories from the actor’s childhood, and she’s maintained a connection with it. “Visiting Chennai allows me to reconnect with positive moments from my past. Unfortunately, my visits are infrequent due to time constraints, but I cherish the opportunities to revisit this meaningful place,” she says. 

Finding Her Feet

On Janhvi Kapoor: Chanderi Phalgun silk saree by Raw Mango. Handcrafted choker in 18k yellow gold with natural emeralds and diamonds by Shachee Fine Jewellery

Like other young actors of her generation who have come of age in the era of social media, Kapoor’s appeal extends beyond just her performances. Her visits to the gym, relationships, and interactions with fellow star actresses contribute significantly to her likability factor. Mindful of the public perception, Kapoor navigates the nuances of being in the limelight. She acknowledges the inevitability of scrutiny that accompanies celebrity status. Despite the challenges, she carries this weight with resilience. Her approach is marked by a willingness to engage with the paparazzi, flashing a smile, waving, and occasionally indulging in banter, showcasing comfort amidst the constant public gaze.

In her journey to self-discovery, Kapoor has continually offered us glimpses into her personal life without giving away too much. Whether elegantly posing in couture, sharing snapshots from her vacations, offering glimpses into her Kathak practices, or entertaining us with amusing team reels, Kapoor exhibits diverse interests. But she admits to keeping her circle tight. “I prioritise developing strong interpersonal connections. It goes beyond mere sustenance; it contributes to my growth as a more vibrant human being. Cultivating authentic relationships extends beyond interactions with co-stars; it encompasses connections with people in the workplace and those encountered during my travels or film shoots—with individuals from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. As an artist, particularly an actor, these connections serve as a source of enrichment,” she says. 

Engaging with people allows the star to transcend her challenges, victories, and experiences. It’s a practice of tapping into emotions and fostering empathy, which she deems crucial. “I find the opportunity to meet new individuals and explore their perspectives most enjoyable. I firmly believe in the absence of a singular truth to the human experience; everything is subjective. It’s a continuous journey of personal and artistic growth that I find both rewarding and essential,” she says. 

Family and Films

On Janhvi Kapoor: Gold Water hand embroidered 3D embellished sheer saree by Rahul Mishra. BVLGARI high jewelry serpenti tubolare pearl elements necklace and bracelet in pink gold and diamonds by Bvlgari

She has crafted a unique style entirely her own, refusing to succumb to external pressures to conform to an image that doesn’t align with her authentic self. Notably, she has begun challenging conventional expectations placed on female actors, confidently arriving at the shoot for this cover asking that she avoids makeup—something unheard of by most Bollywood actresses. This subtle choice speaks volumes about her self-assuredness regarding her appearance. 

With her sister Khushi entering the industry and set to make her debut in Zoya Akhtar’s The Archies, Kapoor now has a companion to share industry experiences and insights. She has wholeheartedly assumed the role of Khushi’s biggest cheerleader, radiating warmth that unequivocally dispels any notion of sibling rivalry.

“There’s a palpable sense of excitement [for Khushi], and we’re genuinely thrilled for each other’s endeavours. Conversations at the dinner table are consistently filled with creatively inclined discussions revolving around films, our current projects, and aspirations for the future. The atmosphere is one of mutual support, where we protect each other, creating a shared safe space. We find solace in being each other’s confidants, always ready to lend support and encouragement. The current period is thrilling, and we’re trying to spend as much time together as possible. There’s a collective sentiment that the pace will only intensify, prompting us to cherish these moments before the anticipated increase in activity,” she says. 

On Janhvi Kapoor: Black silk saree with tiger motifs in silver zari by Shanti Banaras. BVLGARI B.Zero1 necklace and B.Zero1 three bands ring in white gold and diamonds, both by Bvlgari

Having followed in her mother’s footsteps, does she feel the pressure of carrying forward Sridevi’s legacy at any point? “Navigating the responsibility of carrying forward a legacy is a complex theme in my life and occupies a significant space in my thoughts. It’s also a straightforward matter in some respects. Starting with the fact that I don’t have a clean slate, there’s an existing benchmark that I must strive to meet. The standards are exceptionally high, given the legacy set by my parents,” she says.

While being compared to the best pushes Kapoor to work harder, she also lacks the luxury of making mistakes without consequences, especially from a public perception standpoint. 

Maintaining momentum in the face of career highs and lows has been crucial, a lesson she is still learning. “While I don’t consider myself a veteran, honesty in decision-making and motives is paramount. I am currently shooting for my first Telugu film, Devara, which feels like a homecoming. Over the past five years, I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to self-discovery, finding my voice, and defining my aspirations as an actor. I’ve realised that being overly critical of myself and intentionally seeking unnecessary challenges was a hindrance. Now, I am allowing myself to enjoy the journey and appreciate the positive aspects of my career,” she says. 

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