Just over a year into Bollywood, Janhvi Kapoor is busy learning and unlearning the ropes of the business, while also exploring life and its many intricacies.
Janhvi, though, is the kind of person who “really gets into the things she loves”.
“I have always been like this,” she laughs. “Mom and dad would warn me against being so obsessive or overdoing things, and dad stills tells me this every day. Like, right now, I’m really focused on work, and I know it will stay like this for a really long time.”
Growing up, Janhvi “hated” every subject, except literature and history. And so, she approached them with single-minded devotion. “I would offer to work on friends’ essays for fun, I would read countless books, and I would travel just to visit specific museums that held information I was interested in. And then, when I realised that movies made for such a beautiful world, I remember skipping school and just sitting at home and watching film after film. So yeah, I am an obsessive, extremist kind of person, and once I set my mind to something, I can drive myself insane doing it.”
When asked whether she considers herself an introvert, Janhvi, in a rather joyful and warm tone remarks, “No, no, I’m actually quite friendly. Well, I used to be an introvert, but now I have become more of an extrovert. I think I have my days, but off late, I have been spending so much time around different people. It can get lonely at times... I enjoy talking to people, I enjoy making friends...”
She pauses for a moment, then admits, “Having said that, it still takes me time to open up completely. But once I do, what follows can be quite shocking.”
In the year after her debut in Dhadak, Janhvi has done some ‘growing up’. She admits that she used to be an over-thinker...but not anymore. “You see, inherently, I am a spontaneous person,” she explains. “But I was made to believe that I needed to second-guess a lot of stuff. Now that I have become more comfortable, I don’t overthink things as often.”
“Also, I’ve realised that not much comes out of over-analysing situations,” she continues. “It causes so much stress, and can be such a vicious cycle!”
Janhvi has also learnt how to handle criticism better. “I am very, very sensitive,” she says. “I think there is so much chatter around us all the time and half of it is unnecessary and irrelevant—positive or negative. I mean, positive feedback is great, but I still find it distracting.”
Which is why Janhvi prefers her time spent filming.
“On set, it is all about your work and you are away from the world, and it’s just about your character and your film,” she says. “But away from work, in real time, it makes me nervous to get caught up with all the talk. To get bogged down by negativity or to feel too comfortable when someone praises you. So, I’d rather not hear anything, you know?”
While Janhvi might still be “very, very new” to the business, (13 months, to be precise) she has already learnt a very important lesson: to trust her inner voice—and not be afraid to use it. “In the start, I was scared to share my opinions. And I was more about pleasing people and listening to them. Now, I have gotten to a point where the only person that I shall be answerable to is myself, and it is important that I am happy with my decision.”
“For instance, let’s say I am at a photoshoot or attending an event, and I listen to someone else’s opinion about how I am looking or what I am wearing... At the end of the day, if I am not happy with how things turned out, who can I really blame?” she explains.
“I have realised that I need to be accountable for my decisions...and I need to speak up more about what I want.”
“You know, I have learnt that confidence is extremely important in every situation, and that the only thing that speaks for itself is your work,” she continues. “It’s important to just keep your head down and keep working; it is the only thing that matters. I have also learnt that I must take responsibility for people’s feelings, the people in my life. I can be a little reckless with that, and I am trying to be more responsible. Like, making more time for my father, siblings...because family is everything.”