“Janhvi Kapoor deserves her own Student of the Year,” concluded my friend who follows Sridevi’s daughter in social media platforms with hawk-like dedication for the past year or so. We were discussing the first-look of Dhadak, Janhvi’s launchpad, which was released by Karan Johar on Twitter yesterday. And because it’s Karan Johar, who has officially taken the mantle of Bollywood showman from Subhash Ghai, the announcement was made in style. He stood against a wall littered with frames of his most iconic films, he addressed the camera and promised to gift India two of its “brightest stars”.
Talk about raising expectations.
It’s not difficult to understand why Karan Johar has consummate faith in his lead pair. From the very little that I have seen of Janhvi, I can safely say that she is the sort of girl who is followed around by minions holding blow-dyers.
The world probably turns its head in slow motion when she walks into a room in a shimmery Manish Malhotra outfit. Her airport-look t-shirt probably costs more than your wedding lehenga.
In other words, Janhvi Kapoor looks like a regular South Bombay girl.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Really. Then what’s this article all about, you have every right to ask. Well, you see, Dhadak, the film that Karan Johar is launching Janhvi in (along with Shahid Kapoor’s brother, Ishaan Khattar) is a remake of the cult Marathi hit, Sairat.
Set in the tier-2 city of Solapur, Sairat, apart from a lot else, is a searing portrayal of the dreams and aspirations of small-town India. 15-year-old Rinku Rajguru, whose role Janhvi is playing in the adaptation, inhabited her role with the ease of a person who didn’t need to pretend who she is.
Rinku is Archana, a spunky teenager from a small town in Maharashtra, who tucks destiny around herself like a pinned dupatta. In her dealing with the most harrowing situations, she brings a sense of matter-of-factness that is characteristic of millions of young women of semi-urban India who negotiate the errant hands of the uncleji in the bus and the prying eyes of the elders, with equal dexterity.
Her sartorial choices, are so contently cheap that you don’t even flinch at them. Archana is like that girl in your office, who is always the first to arrive. She leaves half-an-hour early, and carries with her a steel tiffin-box wrapped in a plastic bag.
The carefully-curated Janhvi you see in the poster, looks like, yet again, a Manish Malhotra dream. Her royal blue-and-gold lehanga is perfectly contrasted with an orange dupatta. It’s like Karan Johar’s brief to Malhotra was “I want the colours of Rajasthan juxtaposed against the grime of Dharavi!”
And voila, we have Janhvi’s look figured out. I mean, look at her.
Does she look like she has ever had to do a day’s hard labour in her life?
No, we are not saying that just because Janhvi has led a life of privilege, she won’t be able to essay this role. In fact, we hope that she will. She sure has the genes for it. But we have a simple question for Karan Johar, who has yet again proved that he is the best friend of nepotism by casting the progeny of two of Bollywood’s most celebrated families in the film. Was it that difficult to find a new Rinku Rajguru for a role that truly asked for it?