Giving in to the temptation of sticking to a genre that worked for her once would have been easy, but Janhvi Kapoor preferred to do the complete opposite. After a film like Dhadak, she decided to opt for a web anthology Ghost Stories, and followed it up with a biopic Gunjan Saxena- The Kargil Girl (2020). And lined up next is a variety — Dostana 2 with Kartik Aaryan, a slice-of-life film Good Luck Jerry and Karan Johar’s magnum opus Takht. We get talking to the 23-year-old about her film choices:
After your debut Dhadak, both your outings were not in the masala genre. Your upcoming slate of films too is a mix. Are you deliberately not sticking to potboilers?
I am actually excited about the variety I am getting to explore. Aisa nahi ki consciously nahi, voh bhi art hi hai, with all nautanki, maza aata hai. My aspirations, goal is also to look good, have fun, I would be very happy to sing and dance, but at the end of the day, they are projects I would enjoy watching as well. I like these characters I am playing, and find them challenging, which are offering something to me, and me to them.
Post Gunjan Saxena, is this thought at the back of your mind while choosing your projects, that you need to prove you are more than just a pretty face?
In my time in the film industry so far, people are quick to slot you in whatever they feel. After Dhadak, I don’t know if people really understood what I am capable of, that was quite confusing. Although I am very happy with the fact that the film did such business, it was a mixed sentiment after the release. I could gauge it from the offers I was getting. After Gunjan, I am getting all similar author-backed, female led roles. If people want to see you in a certain light, they will always see you in that. I am just trying to find new things.
What are your thoughts on the rat race and competition you are slotted in with your contemporaries?
I focus on my work and do what I love to the best of my abilities. I am looking for opportunities where I can be the best. Competition means different to different people. It may not be necessarily box office numbers. If you know, you know, maybe it’s an award, or the feeling that you are loved by audiences. When you have that, you just know. When they own you, like they owned my mom (late actor Sridevi), you feel you belong to them.
What’s the best part about being an actor?
I really feel there isn’t any such thing anymore, pehle ek hi raasta tha ki ‘yahi karna hai’ (in terms of genres), now you get more roles. You can create your own journey, people have individuality. I think it’s a liberating time for artistes.