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'An opportunity is nobody's birthright': Janhvi Kapoor on nepotism in Bollywood

Dhadak marks Janhvis first leading role (Picture: YouTube)

Janhvi Kapoor is used to being in the limelight from a young age, being the daughter of Indias female superstar Sridevi.

Her mother passed away earlier this year in Dubai at the age of 54, with her cause of death being determined as accidental drowning. Now, the 21-year-old is getting more exposure than ever thanks to her debut film Dhadak.

The film is an official remake of a regional Indian film Sairat, which dealt with the sensitive subject of honour killings in India.

The trailer of the Bollywood adaptation has already been watched an impressive 43 million times on YouTube alone.

With no previous acting experience, Kapoor says that she learned the craft of acting by visiting movie sets with Sridevi.

In an exclusive interview with, she said: I dont have any acting experience, but Ive been on several movie sets with my mom. I dont think anything can prepare you for facing the camera, except the love for the craft and love for films.



I prepared extensively for the role by spending lot of time in Rajasthan, to understand the dialect and background of my character.

While Janhvi never had second thoughts about being an actress during the making of the film, she has had fleeting moments of doubt as Dhadak nears its release.

Explaining how she gets over these moments, Janhvi said: I quickly think of how much I love acting and the kind of love my work can receive. That motivates me again.

While the young actor has received immense support from the Bollywood industry and her fans, many have claimed that shes only had the opportunity because she is Sridevi and Boney Kapoors daughter.

Janhvi clarified her stance on the issue and said: I understand to some extend where people are coming from when they make these claims.

Sridevi and family

Janhvis beloved mother Sridevi passed away this year (Picture: Milind Shelte/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Every industry has nepotism, not just Bollywood. I understand peoples frustration and that they believe weve got it easier than others. I know that the struggle to get into the profession is hard.

She further explained why nepotism could be an issue: Its really only a bad thing if you take advantage of the opportunity that youve been given and are complacent about it. Its no ones birthright to get an opportunity in Bollywood as an actor.

Im in love with what Im doing and want people to love me for my work. I know that Ive to earn that love and respect. Im ready to work harder to prove myself and dont mind doing so, as its a great motivation for me.

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Kapoor has numerous fan clubs on social media and there are multiple gossip websites dedicated to her style and clothing – in addition to getting papped at all odd hours, all which started much before she announced her career in acting. It feels like Janhvi has arrived even before her first film is out.

However, she firmly disagrees, saying: I dont think I have any stardom. I havent done anything to deserve the kind of attention Ive been fortunate enough to get. Before Dhadak, I was a bit awkward about it. I was only getting attention because of Mom and Dad and to some extent about the speculation of me coming into Bollywood.

Indian Bollywood film actress Sridevi presents a creation during the India International Jewellery Week 2014 (IIJW) in Mumbai on July 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Sridevi gave her daughter some wise advice (Picture: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

She added: My first film is not out yet and Im not sure whether Im worthy of this kind of attention. I guess, we will find out on 20 July. Im very flattered that people take the time out to give me the kind of attention that they do. Im very thankful and hope to live up to their expectations.

Speaking about her mother, Janhvi revealed her most important advice, which she intends to follow throughout her career.

Quoting Sridevi, she said: She always emphasised that to be a good actor, you need to be an honest person. That is important in order to portray the characters in the best possible way. She told me that you need to be hungry to grow and work really hard. Thats always stuck with me.


Janhvi further added: She also used to say that nothing comes easy and anything can be accomplished by working hard. She used to say that no one can take that away from you and that its going to pay off.

More: Bollywood

Portraying a small-town girl in Dhadak took a bit of a toll on Kapoor as she struggled to get out of character and felt a sense of identity loss.

She explained: I couldnt differentiate between my character and myself once I was done with it. Ive learnt and retained a lot from my character. Thats the fun of acting as we grow and learn along with playing each character.

Dhadak is set for release in UK cinemas, with English subtitles, this Friday, 20 July.

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