The Kapoor brother-sister duo — Arjun and Janhvi — on their craft and Calcutta loves
Janhvi Kapoor’s innocence is endearing. The Telegraph caught up with the Dhadak actress when she was in town to walk for Blenders Pride Fashion Tour, with brother Arjun.
The theme of the show is ‘my craft, my pride’... so, how are you honing your craft, which is acting?
I am trying... right now, I am at a very nascent stage in my career but I am trying to learn as much as I can. With every decision I make in my career, I think the number one aim is always to learn and get better at my craft. I think I can say that I don’t know about the outcomes of any of my decisions and choice but one thing I can say with pride is that I am eagerly trying to learn and better myself and work hard at my craft.
What is your biggest pride at the moment?
My biggest pride is my keenness to learn and my will to push myself to work my hardest.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your closet?
I have a lot of gym clothes (laughs). I have a lot of white, khadi salwars, shorts and day dresses. People keep gifting me salwar kameezes. Too many! It’s very eclectic because I am very moody. I have little bit of everything. And, my eveningwear is extremely shiny. (Laughs)
Your style is not cluttered though...
I think because I have been working, touch wood, quite a bit and my work requires me to be decked up sometimes for events, in my personal time I prefer to be without make-up and heavy clothes... just comfortable clothes.
Any Calcutta designers, apart from Anamika Khanna, that you love?
Sabya (Sabyasachi Mukherjee) is from Calcutta, right? I love his work. Mom (Sridevi) had a couple of Sabya saris.
Must-dos when in Calcutta...
We stopped by and had ice cream. Nolen gur... we went to Pabrai’s. Wherever I go, I like to become a local. As soon as we landed we went to Pabrai’s. I didn’t have nolen gur because I am walking the ramp and can’t look like a piece of nolen gur. So, I had a less sinful flavour, but my team had it. And, after the show I am going to have nolen gur ice cream.
What is your biggest fear while walking the ramp?
Tripping! It’s kind of an awkward thing na? Music baj raha hai... humein sirf chalke wapas aana hai. Acting in front of the camera, I understand... dancing on stage also... kuch karna hai.... yeh bas chalke wapas aana hai (laughs). You feel kind of like a show puppy, but it’s okay, you get to dress up and look pretty.... I have my brother with me this time. Last time I had my uncle with me. So, apart from my first ramp walk which I did alone, I have always had support. So, if I trip, I’ll catch Arjun bhaiyya’s shoulders and he’ll be there for me.
Who is the best dressed Kapoor?
Rhea didi (Rhea Kapoor). She tries to make sure that even the rest of the family is decently dressed. I take advice from everyone.
There is a certain earnestness about Arjun Kapoor. He thinks before answering but talks from the heart. We caught up with the 2 States actor when he was in town for Blenders Pride Fashion Tour to walk for Anamika Khanna who showcased a collection themed on ‘my craft, my pride’.
Do you love coming back to Calcutta?
I love Calcutta! I am coming back... it’s been a while... not after the promotions of Half Girlfriend.
So, you have forgotten us!
Aapne bulaya nahin. Hum aaye nahin.... I have shot an entire film here. It’s an extension of my life. Even if I am shooting in Patiala, people tell me they love Gunday. So, the extension comes from Calcutta and Bengal... from being a Bengali in the film. Tu ne maari entriyaan... that day I was dancing with these kids and they said they loved the Bengali part of the song. I feel it is embedded in my career... the culture of Bengal and Calcutta... so, I feel a lot of warmth.
I have always had a good time promoting in Calcutta because people here tend to show their emotions. They wear their hearts on their sleeves. I remember during Half Girlfriend we did a visit. For 2 States also I was here. I have had a very chilled-out time. During Gunday, Ranveer (Singh) and I would get out in the city… we would be recognised but we were still young kids and we would meander and find a way… we wouldn’t need security… there were less mobile phones… less stress, less social media for sure… I know it sounds like an old man talking but 2013 feels like a different time altogether compared to 2020. Ali (director Ali Abbas Zafar), Ranveer and me would sit in a yellow taxi and roam without a care in the world…. It is the energy of the city that we used to love. We shot across and we were here for 45 days. We got permission to shoot on Howrah bridge.
I have come to The Telegraph office a couple of times. They’ve given us the cake. I put up my legs and sat... there was that photo which I was like ‘aare, don’t put this photo!’ I was showing my shoes. I remember I was with Alia (Bhatt)... I was in brown shoes and a white T-shirt.... I was like… ‘I like wearing chappals and I am wearing heels today’. That photo is etched for years….
How have you honed your craft in these eight years?
It’s my eighth or ninth year and this is the 15th film I am shooting. My life is my craft. I am fortunate that my passion has become my profession and I have always said this… with the sheer humility with which I can keep learning is where life will take me. So, my pride is in my humility and my pride is in genuinely being passionate and not losing focus. The pride is not in the success and failure and the accolades alone but also in the fact that I get to come and walk for Blenders after shooting a film yesterday and resume shooting the film… I take a lot of pride in being able to live a life that is carved for myself. In that sense it resonates in a strangely organic way.
What have you unlearned over the years?
Everything. You have to unlearn every seven-eight minutes sometimes because you are a public figure. In my personal life, I have not had to. My family and friends have been my support. Professionally, I have had to unlearn with highs and lows… the profession comes and hits you in the face in the first couple of years and you don’t know what is happening. I came to Calcutta to shoot a film. I had never been to Calcutta before that and suddenly we had the media on the sets and people cheering for you… that can drive you crazy. You learn that you are a star but you’ve got to unlearn it because it is fickle because you don’t know the fate of your next film. I was shooting for Gunday when Aurangzeb flopped. So, it is a dichotomy. You have to take everything and then leave it there. When I was in Calcutta, I embraced everything, but I will leave those memories here. I can come back and resume those memories.
Today, Balwinder Singh Sandhu was on the flight with me. He came and introduced himself to me. This man has come to me and spoken to me… the humility… and then he’s picked up his bag and left. He has won the World Cup for the country… a sportsman, an athlete…. What I do is just entertain people. You cannot even compare. I was wearing a pair of sunglasses… at that moment you don’t feel like wearing those glasses… you want to look into this guy’s eyes because you feel humbled.
Where does this humility come from?
I don’t know… I carry it in my pocket. This is probably the good side of growing up in this profession… the humility comes from the fact that we know we are entertainers…. Our family is represented by the films we make. Every fan matters… every moment…. I am sure I have had moments where I have made mistakes and I have not been humble… that’s part of learning. Humility also comes from the upbringing. It’s my mother. It’s definitely how my father has conducted himself. See, when you have people like Aditya Chopra in your life, you cannot be but humble. He cuts you down to size!
You are an athleisure person…
I am a leisure person… (smiles)…. Atheisure is a part of it.
What is the most flamboyant piece you have in your wardrobe?
I am either a vagabond or James Bond. Me in my house is chappals, track pants and T-shirt… my car is very flamboyant… I have a Maserati. I cannot be humble about that. It’s something that I wanted… a sports car. That’s an extension of my fashion… it’s a neon, electric purple SUV.
Who is the real Arjun Kapoor?
Who I am to answer that? My interpretation of myself is very different. I am that boy you guys allowed to enter this industry. I am still learning on the job and enjoying myself. I love entertaining you all. I am sorry for some of the things I have done which have not been great, but the aspiration has always been to try and do good and I don’t mind the highs and lows as long as there is an honest intent. The process is always honest. It eventually will pay off. I have always been stable as a person and that’s not changed in these eight years. I have grown up and I have been through enough in these eight years, professionally and personally. But I am grateful and excited about the next eight years. But it is difficult to describe myself. It’s rather boring. It’s nice if you guys write some big adjectives….