'The biggest tip my mother gave me was to work hard and be true to yourself.'
Janhvi Kapoor gets ready for Dhadak, with Ishaan Khatter by her side.
Rediff.com's Patcy N reports.
Janhvi Kapoor says she was "nervous" and "excited" at the trailer release of her debut film Dhadak, and that is evident when she takes the stage for the first time in her career.
Most of her family is at hand to cheer her on -- father Boney Kapoor, younger sister Khushi, uncles Anil and Sanjay Kapoor, aunt Maheep, cousins Harshvardhan, Shanaya and Jahaan and Mohit Marwah and his wife Antara Motiwala.
Ishaan Khatter seems more confident as he fields questions from the media.
Our critic loved the Dhadak trailer , and the young actors seem happy with the response it has received.
Karan Johar introduces Director Shashank Khaitan, saying, "He is a director who makes his films within budget and finishes them on schedule. It's profitable in many ways."
Shashank's earlier films Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya and Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya were hits.
"When I saw the film, it blew my mind," Shashank says, explaining why he decided to remake Nagraj Manjule's Marathi blockbuster Sairat.
"I just wanted to see the film on loop to understand it. I felt the whole nation should watch a film like that; it was so relatable. I wanted to give Sairat the best homage possible"
"I am really proud of Dhadak and these kids. I am extremely excited to show this film to the director of Sairat," Shashank adds.
"I still remember the first time they (Ishaan and Jahnvi) came to the Dharma office," says Karan. "They walked in with innocent smiles and vulnerable hearts, full of nervousness and excitement."
"I had seen Sairat with mom," Janhvi recalls, referring to her mother Sridevi who passed away tragically in February. "We had a discussion and I said, 'I wish this was my first film.' She said she also wanted a film like this to be my first."
Ishaan has been friends with Shashank from the days of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.
"One day he called and said, 'I am going to watch a film. Will you drive me?' I did and on the way, he told me he wanted to make this film with me. I was shocked," Ishaan remembers.
"After watching the film once, we were told not to watch the film again so that we would not get influenced," Ishaan says.
"After that, we worked on the film afresh. Shashank has his own style of preparation and making the film. We did a lot of readings and rehersals. When we went on the sets, it was a very lively atmosphere. There was no pressure at all" Ishaan adds.
The shoot started with the song, Yed Lagla, one of the most popular songs in Sairat, which has been retuned for Dhadak by composers Ajay-Atul.
Janhvi admits she can never match up to Rinku Rajguru, the actress in the original film.
"It's not possible for anyone to do what Rinku Rajguru did with Archie's character," Janhvi says.
"My character Parthavi is different from Archie's character, so I have played my part honestly."
Sairat was set in Maharashtra while Dhadak is set in Rajasthan.
"My characters are Mewadi from Udaipur," Shashank explains.
"I am a Marwari from Rajasthan. I know a bit about that region; I have visited many times. When I decided to make this film, I had already thought I would place it there because I know the conflict in that area. I know how people behave there, how they speak," says Shashank.
Sridevi was present at the mahurat of Dhadak, but sadly, the legendary actress won't be around when the film releases.
Asked about this, Janhvi chokes up.
"The biggest tip she gave me was to work hard and be true to yourself," she says.
Talking about her father Boney Kapoor, she says, "Papa has not given any tips. But he has loved and supported me a lot."
Karan Johar, the Svengali behind stars like Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra, says it is not risky to take on new talent.
"Making every film is a risk. Sairat is about innocent love. To depict that, we needed that innocence and for that, you need first-time talent," Karan explains.
"I had seen Ishaan's photographs and video on Instagram," Karan adds. "Those days, I was judging a show with Shahid (Kapoor, Ishaan's elder brother). I told him I wanted to meet his brother."
"One day, Ishaan was visiting Shahid on the sets, and I saw him from afar. I knew he was suitable for Dhadak. I could see that in his eyes, his body language and his personality. I make my decisions based on instinct."
"Manish Malhotra is Janhvi's fashion father; he is very close to her family," says Karan.
"Manish would talk a lot about Janhvi, and I almost felt like I knew her."
"When she came to meet me, I gave her some poetry to read and I saw excitement in her eyes. I knew that just like her amazing lineage, she would well on the big screen. That's why I took her."
Shashank reveals why he cast Ashutosh Rana as Janhvi's father in the film.
"I really enjoyed working with Ashutosh in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya. When I had a character which I felt only he could do best, I went to him. He agreed without reading the script," he says.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar