When I first heard about Karan Johar launching Sridevi’s elder daughter, I rolled my eyes, “oh.. There goes another episode of nepotism”. I noticed her shadow Sridevi to every filmy event, and was never impressed by her personality. To me, she appeared like a lost teen who had not found her voice yet. Oddly, regardless of the designer ensembles, bestowed upon her by the Manish Malhotras and Sabyasachis of the fashion world, I never found her to be a star material.
I was forced to take a good look at that face during the rituals after Sridevi’s demise for the mother was my favorite woman on earth. Somehow, in her plain Salwar, the girl managed to walk straight into my heart. That was when I read the young lady as Janhvi Kapoor, and not as the daughter of my favorite Bollywood diva.
Janhvi Kapoor has qualities I do not see in many women of her age. It is not easy to cope up with that sudden trauma at the tender age of 21; she has not only pulled herself together, but acted as the mature, responsible and protective elder sister Khushi needed during the trying times. How she walks holding her younger sister’s hand in all those high profile parties is heartwarming.
One thing that Sridevi’s demise motioned was the coming together of both sides of Bonny Kapoor’s family. We get that such relations take a lot of getting used to, and the cordiality with which Janhvi reached for Arjun Kapoor’s extended arms, the fluidity with which she became one with him and Anshula, guiding Khushi and being Bonny Kapoor’s rock prove that she has fortitude beyond her years.
And then came the trailer of Dhadak. Indian audience has often been unforgiving towards star kids; brutal comparison with the super successful parents is what claimed Abhishekh Bachchan’s career, and may throw some challenges at Janhvi also. The trailer of K.Jo’s movie, however, presents the actress as a fully prepared star-to-be. Born with the craft in her genes, all she needed was a little chiseling by the ace director and she has found her shine. She seems to own scenes that don’t afford her dialogues solely with her eyes. Her character of a Rajasthani maiden, unlike that of Alia Bhatt in SOTY, is plain and glamourless; and by the first look of it, I am impressed with the effortlessness with which she assumed it and let her natural youth shine through the no makeup looks.
There were talks that the star kid struggles with Hindi, and it really put me off – like, you wanna built a career in the Hindi movie industry but shy away from learning the language. But I stand corrected after watching some of her interviews on Hindi news channels. Far from the hypocrisies and lies of the complicated industry, she speaks with a glimmer of truth in her eyes and glow of innocence in her smile. She stays humble with her choice of words. She is not perfect, and she accepts that, and that in turn makes her perfect. There is nothing on earth that can replace Sridevi in the hearts of Bollywood fans, and perhaps even Janhvi would never measure up to the grandeur of her mother but I can see her turning into the next sweetheart of the Indian cine goers.