Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR
She is quite a simpleton for a Hindi cinema heroine – but that’s probably where her charm lies. Jhanvi Kapoor is dressed in a simple lucknowi green kurta, salwar and dupatta, sans make-up and hair tied up, when we catch for an early morning rendezvous with the debutant. Just as she enters the industry with ‘Dhadak’, the girl continues to hold her ground strong and aims at making people happy with her work. More from her in this candid chat. Read on…
Did you have any expectations for the kind of film you wanted to start off with, and then when ‘Dhadak’ came by, what did you think?
I didn’t have any expectations because for me, it would be a big deal anyway, that I’ll get an opportunity to do work since I just wanted to act. I knew I would have to work my way up, so when this happened, I really do think it’s been a blessing to have this story, this character, to have the opportunity to work with Shashank. I think one of the things I’m thankful for, in my life is Shashank Khaitan and also work with Ishaan and have Karan’s guidance and access to the plethora of experience that he has.
What’s on your mind when you’re doing a scene when it comes to expressing? Your dialogue delivery has been appreciated from the trailer itself?
I don’t think I am a good performer but I can feel things. Feelings for me are very real. I know I’ve felt a lot during this film. Both Ishaan and me. I think though, he has a lot of finesse as an actor as compared to me but I do feel things genuinely as my character. I just enjoy being Parthvi and looking at Madhu and playing with Madhu. It was fun to be lost in that, that was the only thing on my mind. And then of course, we got the script in advance so there were readings for a month or two and before that we had got for two reccees to Udaipur and Jaipur, met people, so we absorbed their dialect.
You did go to an acting school if I am not mistaken?
I did but what will those firangs teach you anyway? (laughs). They don’t know anything about Hindi cinema. Their approach is very different. The method which is what I learnt at Strasberg was that you forget the character and go to your personal emotional memory so you will be able to portray that emotion. For example, if your character is left by her boyfriend. So, the feeling is abandonment. When had you felt that? Maybe in the childhood you got lost from your parents. That’s their approach. But when I am playing a character, I can never think of my life. I didn’t agree to the method. I was happy being the character.
At what point in life were you sure that you wanted to act?
It was while doing this course only. I remember doing one scene where I started to cry on stage and there was a moment when I forgot I was on stage. It was just me and my scene partner. It was a very moving moment. I realised that this is how I want to feel in life again and again so I want to act. And my teacher, she said some really nice things and even she was moved. So, I felt happy that, I moved someone. An actor’s ability to move someone emotionally, is really cool.
So, now there’s this sudden exposure you have to the media, audience, and people looking at you, and judging you. Amidst all this, is it difficult to be real or not lose who you are?
I think that’s something I was very clear in my head about. When I was a kid, I would see these beautiful actresses in films and in interviews and they were always looking perfect, acting perfect and I was like, ‘how is someone so perfect all the time?’ I feel pressured that if they can do it then even I have to be dignified and perfect all the time. Mom was like that. And some people are inherently like that, but I am not perfect. I think it’s important that girls feel that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to be real, and not be dainty all the time so I want to preserve that side of mine. I don’t know how to always say the right things, I like to sit like this with my legs folded up, I would like to retain this side of mine because it’s real. And I don’t want to take myself up too seriously. There are people fighting a war, there are people doing many harder things in life than what we have to do. But we have a responsibility as artists because we are put on a podium for people to see. So, we need to cater to that, but at the same time I think, I need to cater to a section that can identify how real I want to be.
It’s easy though to have that frill or arrogance, considering you are from an illustrious film background though…
I don’t know if I have managed to not get arrogant, but it’s important to me to preserve myself. I will never be cool enough. I will still need to hold my father’s hand when I am walking through a crowded space. I want to hold my sister’s hand when the cameras are flashing. There are small things I want to preserve. It’s important to me to have small meaningless conversations with random people, it reminds me of things that matter in life. What I am doing is not a big deal. There are other people who can do what I am doing or even better than what I’m doing. I just want to be honest with myself and make people happy with my work.
What do you take back from ‘Dhadak’ and do you feel grown as a person by the end of this film?
I’m sure each film will be an experience because you’ve lived a character’s journey and also have a journey of your own. This past year has been many things for me and I think I’ve learnt so much from Parthvi. I think I’m a very different person now than I was, at the start of this film. Hopefully, a better person. But for me, this will still be the most cherished experienced of my life because I have a family now in Shashank, Karan and Ishaan and this entire team at Dharma which I wouldn’t have had otherwise. And I got the opportunity to work with such a team which is the biggest reward for me. If I can make people happy with my work, that will be a blessing.