She was famous before she became an actor. But since she became an actor, most certainly, you see the talent dripping with every scene in her debut film, Dhadak. Directed by Shashank Khaitan, Dhadak brings Janhvi Kapoor to the big screen for the first time. And the audiences completely lapped it up. When I sat down to speak to her on the phone, there was a maturity to her voice and demeanour that blew me away, and yet, she spoke with the curiosity of a child.
Dhadak didn’t happen because of a formal audition but there were readings, many readings involved. What was your thought process when you were doing the readings?
When I sat down initially, I just thought we were doing some readings and I wasn’t sure what it was for at first. Then, Dhadak happened. That’s when I met Shashank. When I was doing readings with him, I really took that opportunity to learn about my character. It was very valuable for me, because everyone on the team came in with such life experiences. I remember that we would meet every week and I would do the dialogues – and he would tell me, no try it this way, then try it another way, and try to say it with these emotions…I remember I learnt the dialogues and emotions so well through that process.
I think Ishaan was the one who said that the way your script reads, you actually have more notes than the script actually has.
(Chuckles) See, I actually enjoy writing. I liked coming up with details about my character that were not in script from before. Or for a scene. I also wanted to understand the emotions my character was going through so I could justify all of the actions of the character.
We’re seeing a full-blown romantic film after a very long time. It has a very Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak…what do you think attracted the audience to the film? Perhaps, people were craving a young love kind of film?
I don’t know that there was a specific reason for people to watch the film. What I know is that our entire goal was to create an honest film. What I can say with confidence is that the entire film, from the beginning, with the trailer of the film, the songs, the story, everything was made by everyone and put out with a very genuine effort by the entire team. It comes from an honest place. We have treated the story with a lot of responsibility, keeping in mind that we have adapted the story from an already very iconic film. It is an honest attempt at storytelling and filmmaking.
Your director has said, almost in jest, he said it was like having two kids on set.
I don’t think he was kidding (chuckles).
(Laughs) Why do you think he said that then?
I look at Shashank as a father figure in my life and I think that even when we were on the sets of the film, we wanted his attention constantly. We would come to him and ask him lots of questions. We became attached to him so closely throughout the making of the film. I think we just know him so well, and know things other people don’t, because honestly, everything I know about acting, I learnt from him, at least since I started my acting career.
There is also something very endearing about your chemistry with your co-star, Ishaan – on screen and off. Where did that come from?
I think that we two genuinely get along very well – but that doesn’t always translate on screen. I think all of that on screen chemistry – that credit goes to Shashank entirely. We were just trying to gel with each other and somehow, we basically get along now.
You’ve always been surrounded by great actors and individuals in the film fraternity. What have you learnt from that?
I think every life experience I’ve had, I can apply to acting because I think it is important to study people and observe human nature and be able to emote and empathize. I have had the pleasure of knowing great artists and I’ve been able to observe what they do and how they do it.