Janhvi Kapoor will soon be seen trying to survive in a large freezer in director Mathukutty Xavier’s Mili. The film also stars Sunny Kaushal and Manoj Pahwa and will release in theatres on November 4. It is the first time she has collaborated professionally with her father, producer Boney Kapoor. The Free Press Journal caught up with the actress for an exclusive conversation. Excerpts:
Since Mili is a Hindi adaptation of the Malayalam film Helen, did you try to imbibe the traits of the central character?
No, I never tried to catch up with her traits. My director told me to read the script once and come on the sets. I was asked not to overthink much about it. I only saw bits and pieces of Helen. Mili is much more original in terms of a remake. The context might be the same but the performance choices are different. Even for Good Luck Jerry, I don’t think I referenced the original one.
We built a freezer set up and since nothing could have gone as planned as to play my character with a certain beat. It was like -12 degrees, I was sick and dying. I was in pain since it was a 15-minute long take. There were things happening around me anyway, I never focused on how I would give this particular expression. It was just a feeling.
A still from Mili |
Of late, you have been doing mentally taxing roles. How are you coping up with it?
Can you see me? I think this is why I have become a little crazy (laughs). I have been only pushing myself to these roles and never returned. However, it is fun being an actor but the heaviness of these roles drains me out. I feel, the challenge for me now is to do something light and fun since I have challenged myself emotionally to the extreme. Even Mr. & Mrs. Mahi is tough.
How difficult is it for you to move on from a character you played after finishing the shoot?
I think I am a very switch on-switch off actor. Technically speaking, I don’t stay in character during the course of the shoot. I don’t take much time to drop myself emotionally into someone. But for Mili, those 21 days in the freezer for about 14 hours was something. I only used to go home and sleep and then come back to the freezer again. I felt, I was stuck in life too.
You have been headlining films quite early in your career. Your thoughts?
Well, it has slowed down the ability to reach a larger number of people and I am aware of it but it has definitely finessed me as an artiste. The roles I did so far or I am doing ahead now have allowed me to grow a lot. It is a conscious decision to choose performance-oriented roles. Like in terms of comfort, Mili is my hardest role so far.
Do you take professional advice with people around you when required?
I discuss with my friends, who I need to unwind with. My dad, sister (Khushi Kapoor) and brother (Arjun Kapoor) put me in a context of real life. They all keep me grounded.
Producers are following a two-week marketing plan now. Does it affect you?
Oh lord! Two weeks are also too much. We couldn’t promote Roohi because of the pandemic. Good Luck Jerry was an OTT release and I was shooting for Bawaal. For Mili, I have to take ownership and really push out there as much as I can, which is very daunting to me.