Koffee With Karan has held out the promise of interesting moments with two much hyped new actors, Sara Ali Khan and Jahnvi Kapoor, making appearances. What one takes back after viewing Sara and Jahnvi is that despite being so similar, both could not have been more different.
Both Sara and Jahnvi have parents that make a living from the movies. Both have grown up steeped in luxury, in expensive, sheltered childhoods of posh schools. Sara has gone on to earn her stripes as a smart student at the prestigious Columbia University. Both are working in films that have Karan Johar involved, as a co-producer. Jahnvi is a part of his talent pool. The differences in both though stand out in stark relief.
Sara comes across as confident and learned, beyond anything else. Not coiffured to perfection, dressed smart and carrying herself well during embarrassing video replays of childhood over acting, Sara's reactions to Johar's tricky questions were refreshingly genuine. What one cannot positively have failed to notice though is the air of formality that this young actor sported in the company of her father Saif Ali Khan. Saif always seems a little uncomfortable when speaking about his personal life to anyone. With Sara, he almost seemed out of sorts. At the same time, going to lengths to explain how positive and comfortable their family is with each other, Saif and Sara did reflect a new age family dynamic - one where non-interference and mutual respect have a role to play.
Sara hit the ball out of the park when she stated that she suffers from PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disorder), a health issue common among teenagers and young women. Not once did she hesitate or seem uncomfortable in mentioning this, setting her apart in a crowded film industry where PR-polished pseudo speak often suffocates any interview or real interaction. If this Khan kid continues to tackle issues like a delayed debut and tricky questioning in this vein, then her tone is set right; for genuineness is a rare asset amongst celebrities these days.
Jahnvi, to put it politely, bedecked and lacey, embodied everything one dislikes about the young and privileged. Vacuous and giggly at inappropriate points in her conversation with her brother Arjun Kapoor and mentor Johar, one wonders what has gone so wrong in the breeding and grooming of this 'star' daughter. When it came to reacting to the immense loss that she has felt when her mother, the legendary Sridevi, passed away, Arjun did much of the heavy lifting. She barely reacted beyond maintaining a doe-eyed silence with perfectly mascaraed lashes looking down. Was that a conscious choice by her now protective elder brother Arjun? It definitely was not the smart one, for letting in a bit of real emotion enter this flippant conversation would have lent it much needed authenticity.
Perhaps the rationale behind letting Jahnvi speak less was also because of her visible ineptitude with talking. Questions around her relationship with Ishan Khatter drew typical girly reactions of almost shrill denials. A weird but funny conversation about her habit of stealing fish from a five star hotel aquarium to get a kick of out it, reflected what many on social media have often pointed out - consistent deflection of reality. There is a section amongst film folks whose children and families live lives that rotate between high priced eateries, gyms, spas, parlours, shopping joints and coffee shops. Their touch with reality does not go beyond the dark tinted glass that cover their SUV windows and sunglasses. Jahnvi Kapoor pretty much represented this celluloid-driven existence. At one point in the show, she replied to the rapid fire question on nepotism, with, "RIP hopefully." For her sake, she must not hope for that. Nepotism might have been crucial in making her an actor in a much touted project in the scenario today, where talent does speak volumes, most times.
It would not be fair to declare either young actor as superior from just a chat show. But there is only so much physical perfection that works to a debutante's advantage. Spunk comes in spades with Saif's daughter. Karan, the immaculate host and conversationalist, would do so much better in media training his new find, Jahnvi, before planning her ascend in Hindi cinema. Lending some of his eloquence would truly help in her case.
All images from YouTube.