I am constantly told perception is important

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Playing a Bihari girl who moonlights as a drug peddler in Good Luck Jerry, Janhvi is happy to choose roles that are at odds with industry norms


Janhvi Kapoor: I am constantly told perception is important

A still from the film

“It’s a part of my grand plan. I won’t stop surprising people,” laughs Janhvi Kapoor, right at the start of our interview. Good Luck Jerry has most definitely taken us by surprise. The crime comedy sees the actor in a de-glam avatar, playing a migrant Bihari girl in Punjab who gets entangled in drug dealing. Her choice of films is refreshing in an industry that encourages young actors to sign YA movies, and post glamorous pictures on social media, all in the pursuit of stardom. Kapoor has no patience for such diktats. “I will never stop chasing roles that interest me and are as diverse as possible. My personal life is different from work. Who I am and what I post on Instagram have no bearing on the actor I aspire to be. I am constantly told perception is important, and how I need to create an image that goes with the work I am doing. I can’t bring myself to follow these norms,” she says.

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Pic/InstagramPic/Instagram

Kapoor is consciously picking up roles that defy the norms of stardom — be it the understated performance in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl (2020), or playing a ghost in Roohi (2021). “I have seen stardom since I was young because of my mother [Sridevi]. So, stardom doesn’t lure me. I want to do work that sets a new personal benchmark.” Good Luck Jerry, a remake of Tamil film Kolamaavu Kokila (2018), is a step in that direction. The beauty of Siddharth Sen’s directorial 
venture, she believes, is the casting against type. “I asked [the makers] what about my face made them think I could do the role [of a drug peddler]. They wanted someone who wouldn’t [look the part]. Jerry had to look like an unlikely candidate for that world.”

Preparation was key to playing the seemingly harmless character who wreaks havoc in the drug ring. The actor not only underwent gun training, but also picked up the Bihari diction. “One of my co-actors is from Bihar, as were many crew members. They guided me. It was preceded by a two-month coaching. I did workshops with multiple diction coaches. Sinking into Jerry’s world was a harder process. We constructed an extensive back-story. My director Siddharth had faith in me as an actor, even when I couldn’t muster it.”

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