By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, July 12 (IANS) All eyes are on Janhvi Kapoor -- daughter of the iconic Sridevi whose demise earlier this year left a huge void in the Indian film industry -- as she steps into Bollywood with her maiden film "Dhadak" on July 20.
The young actress says she wishes to bring back the magic of magnetic talents like Madhubala, Meena Kumari and Waheeda Rehman on the silver screen.
"I have watched Madhubalaji in films like 'Mughal-e-Azam', 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi' and 'Mr & Mrs 55'. I have seen the beautiful Waheedaji in 'Guide', 'Pyaasa', Meena Kumariji in 'Pakeezah', 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam'. Watching them, I get fascinated and mesmerised.
"I so wish to (re)create the magic of these legends on-screen. Every time I watch these films, I get motivated and tell myself, 'Mujhe yeh karna hai (I want to do this)'... This magic, this performance," said the 21-year-old, whose eyes lit up during an interview with IANS.
Janhvi has been getting a lot of attention from the media and the audience for her much-anticipated debut in a Karan Johar production which is a remake of Marathi cinema's highly acclaimed "Sairat".
She can already feel the pressures that comes along with celebrity status. But she is wading through it.
"I am trying to preserve a sense of my identity in all that because it is very easy to lose my head in this madness. I am getting so much attention, people are talking about me, my pictures are out there, I am talking so much about myself... I am reading about myself every day. It is easy for me to think that I am the most important person in the world.
"But then I am not letting that happen. I know it is happening all for the film and if I want people to talk about me, I have to deliver hit films. Otherwise, that will be wrong. I am trying hard to earn the right to grab the spotlight, I am trying to be a deserving person to talk about," she said, sounding more mature than her age.
Janhvi was very close to her mother. She says even though she has never tried hard to adopt Sridevi's style, there may be certain things she has inherited genetically.
"I am my mumma's daughter, so I look like her; but I know I am different. There was that one montage shot where I am drinking milk in a scene. For a fraction of second, I thought that was mumma... I was like 'Oh God, wasn't it her? Actually, in that shot, I saw my side profile."
What led her to feel that?
Jhanvi said: "I have one such image of mumma where she used to have juice in the early morning. So the moment I woke up and looked out for her around me, I would see her drinking juice from a side. So yes, that was one moment."
"Dhadak", directed by Shashank Khaitan, explores how the protagonists deal with issues like differences between castes and honour killings. The film is set in Rajasthan.
Born and brought up in an megalopolis like Mumbai, playing a Rajasthani girl was not easy for Janhvi. She went to Udaipur and Jaipur to imbibe the body language of the local girls.
However, she does not prefer to talk much about her preparation process.
Citing what she learnt from her mother, Janhvi said: "It is not about how you prepare, but what you deliver on screen. If you are playing a hungry man, you could stop eating for 24 hours before shooting the scene. But that is the point if that does not translate through your eyes while performing? So I think that is what matters... What I managed to deliver in the film."
"After the film releases, if the audience appreciates my performance and still wants to know how I prepared for the role, I will talk about it. Because preparation looks meaningless if the result is not fruitful."
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)