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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Janhvi Kapoor: “I’m Learning A Lot About Myself As An Actor”

Janhvi Kapoor has a luminescent presence, distinct voice and a talent that speaks more than any family tags.

The daughter of late superstar Sridevi and producer Boney Kapoor, she impressed us in her Bollywood debut, Dhadak, which released in 2018.

Two-years-later, she forayed onto the digital space by working in the horror anthology Ghost Stories, in which she plays a nurse for a frail and lonely old lady.

Given that she has spent some time exploring the industry and herself as an actor, how has she been settling in?

“The film industry as such wasn’t such a foreign place since I’ve been exposed to it all my life because of my mum and dad,” she says.

“I didn’t really have unreal expectations from the industry but I think that what overwhelmed with is the kind of affection Indian audiences have bestowed upon me.

I really feel like it’s unlike anything else in the world.

I know there are actors all over the world but the way Indian audiences bestow you, it’s a different kind of love you get if you do good work.”

Recently, Kapoor took a major leap by playing India’s first female Air-Force Officer in combat with Netflix’s Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl.

Throughout the duration of the shooting, Janhvi underwent immense physical training consisting of:

Obstacle course training, march-past training, dhava training, training in how to hold a gun, how to shoot, savdhanvishram, different types of salutes.

She reportedly did these drills every day for 45 days plus weight training to lose the weight she had gained (to play the younger Saxena) and also to build strength and stamina.

Her entire day was spent going from one ground to another or from one gym to another and in between going to the production office for script readings.

The physical training aside, Janhvi explains the significance and what the greatest learning was for her:

I have gotten to know myself better as an actor.

Through this film, my confidence as an actor has increased and I think that has more to do with Gunjan Saxena’s story than anything else because her sense of self-belief and sticking to her dream, her focus, were very strong.

I picked this up while playing this part. She was constantly having to prove herself and though she got all the chances, people around her kept telling her she was not good enough or not meant for this.

I felt, if she could get through those obstacles then it’s possible to get through anything as long as your mind is strong, you are honest and work hard.”

Her forthcoming movie Roohi Afzah, with Rajkummar Rao, will show her in a double role, revisiting the horror genre – with a comedic twist. How has she prepared for this?

She tells Filme Shilmy: “I realised that with each film, there has to be a different approach.

I’m also learning a lot about myself as an actor. For example in Dhadak, we did a lot of readings. On my next film, it’s important for me to read and understand the script and my character.

However, I prefer not doing readings at all. I rather just go on set and giving it a shot. It all depends on the environment that is created and the kind of character you play.

It is fun to try out all these things but of course, there’s a lot of strength and physical preparations required for these roles.

The way people are respondent towards good script and good characters, an actor must completely surrender to the material and work hard.

I’ve realised that it’s important to have really well-written characters in our craft because (I believe) audiences like to feel that they can relate to what they are seeing on-screen.”

Watch our interview with Janhvi Kapoor here:

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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