Janhvi Kapoor has just taken several connecting flights from Poland to Mumbai to spend a day promoting her latest feature film. She plays Jerry in Good Luck Jerry (on Disney+ Hotstar from July 29, 2022), a remake of the 2018 Tamil film Kolamaavu Kokila. She’s exhausted but attentive and enthusiastic during an interview to promote her fourth feature film role. The 25-year-old, who made her debut with Dhadak (2018), had a day of promotions before she was catching a flight back to Poland to continue shooting for Bawaal, with co-star Varun Dhawan. Here’s what Janhvi had to say about playing Jerry:
What aspect of 'Good Luck Jerry' appealed to you? Could you connect with any aspect of the character and her journey?
Off the bat I found her to be a fascinating character. On the face of it she seems to be one thing, but when push comes to shove her survival instinct kicks in and she discovers a lot of things about herself, about how her mind works and all that she is capable of.
As humans we tend to compartmentalise people and she seemed like a very interesting paradox to me. The world perceives her in a certain way and she starts to believe that she is that person. Then slowly she discovers she is capable of many things till she comes to a tipping point when she chooses not to be apologetic about having a mind of her own. Simultaneously I felt like I had reached a similar point in my life as well.
Did you watch the Tamil original?
I had seen Kolamaavu Kokila before I got the narration for Good Luck Jerry, but once I got the narration, I realised that the characters and their worlds are completely different. Also what Nayanthara ma’am has done is so iconic, whereas the exciting part for me is to attempt my own interpretation rather than copying because that is not exciting as an actor and also not possible because she has already done it so well.
Actors often say that comedy is one of the hardest genres. What was it like doing comedy?
I had a lot of fun. I had been dying to do comedy and with Jerry I got to try my hand at it. But more than that I got to share space with veterans like Deepak Dobriyal and that was a huge learning experience. I think that comedy is the most instinctive thing maybe, and to understand timing and what beats are important to land in what scene, which dialogue is a punch line are very technical things. Yet you need to do it as naturally as possible. So I guess it is harder but it is important to have fun with it. Honestly, emotional scenes come easier to me than comedy, but ultimately you have more fun with comedy.
How would you describe the film?
It’s about a girl who isn’t what she seems at all on the surface. It seems like the big bad world is taking her for a ride until she realises that she doesn’t mind being a big bad person and taking the people around her for a ride if it's for a greater good, because she’s done with being taken for a ride.
Basically she’s motivated to get involved in this shady business because her mother is unwell. She is financially lost and also lost in life where she feels like there is nothing else to do. And then once she’s in too deep she has to figure out how to get out of it while also safeguarding her mother’s health.
This is your fourth lead role. How do you feel when you look back at 'Dhadak' and 'Gunjan Saxena', for example?
Honestly, I think I get so invested in films that I am working on currently that I tend to forget that I have done any work before. Like the other day on the sets of Bawaal, Varun and I were talking and I kept saying but I have just started, till someone said this is my fifth or sixth film, so what do I mean by ‘just started’. Maybe I forget because the most important part of the journey is to be on set and make the film. I find that satisfying. Once it’s released, it’s not mine anymore. I don’t fixate on the ones that have been released.
Having said that, right off the bat I knew my shortcomings and strengths in Dhadak and after Gunjan Saxena, I knew the things I wanted to work on. I can be fairly objective and I know how to push myself to be better. In terms of craft, audiences would be able to judge if I have improved or not.
What else have you got coming up?
I finished shooting for Helen and there is also Mr and Mrs Mahi. Once I am back from the Bawaal shoot, I will hustle some more and hopefully get more opportunities to do good work.
What kind of roles are you seeking?Just good stories, and being a part of films that have something to say. I feel so many of us in the industry are going through a phase where, post-pandemic, we are feeling a bit lost given how films are doing. So it’s a blessing to work with filmmakers that believe so much in the stories they are telling and are approaching them with such honesty, and not just as projects. That’s how I too like to operate.