If The Archies and Koffee with Karan Season 8 are anything to go by, Khushi Kapoor seems to be the antithesis of her elder sister Janhvi Kapoor. While both look quite alike and get along like a house on fire, Janhvi seems to be as Khushi confessed on the couch, “extremely messy,” whereas the younger one is fairly together, especially for someone just starting out in the film industry. (Also Read: Koffee with Karan Season 8: Aren’t we all glad to have a septuagenarian on a chat show obsessed with the youth?)
Bleed vs heal with your art
Janhvi has maintained that she feels the need to “bleed for her art” in order to justify the easy inroads she’s had into Bollywood. Having been trolled for her privilege and nepotism right from her debut film, Janhvi believes she must cry her eyes out (Dhadak), scare the hell out of herself (Ghost Stories), struggle to stay alive inside a deep freeze (Mili), and get ill-treated by her husband (Bawaal) on screen in order to crystallise her acting chops.
She’s admitted that the primary reason behind this obsession is because she never got the validation she needed from her late legendary mother, Sridevi, as she passed away right before the release of her debut film, Dhadak (2018). Janhvi confessed on Koffee with Karan that because she couldn’t impress the diehard fans of her mother with her debut performance, she has been slogging all the way through. It’s only now that she’s begun to not seek external validation, and have fun being a ‘heroine’ with upcoming films like Kortala Siva’s Devara: Part 1.
On the other hand, Khushi made a fairly fuss-free debut with Zoya Akhtar’s Netflix India period musical The Archies. She didn’t face as much scrutiny as Janhvi did, probably because it wasn’t a theatrical release, the nepotism debate wasn’t on the surge thanks to Kangana Ranaut’s “flag-bearer of nepotism” remark on the Koffee couch, and the fact that Khushi shared the brickbats for nepotism with two fellow ‘nepo babies’ – Suhana Khan and Agastya Nanda – who also made their debut with the same movie. Janhvi only shared it with Dhadak co-star Ishaan Khatter, Shahid Kapoor’s brother, but was at the forefront thanks to her late mother’s iconic status and recency bias due to her untimely and controversial demise.
But as Janhvi pointed out on the show, Khushi inherited her mother’s ability to switch on and off as an actor. As her real self, Khushi seemed very composed and at ease. But if you watch her in The Archies, she transforms into the effervescent Betty Cooper, the quintessential girl next door. Of course, challenges with dialogue delivery remain, but she seems to exude a far more striking screen presence than her sister, whose process is more nuanced, but also explicable and transparent.
Khushi’s ability to shut out the noise, preserve energy, and light up only when it matters the most also transcends to how she deals with trolls and gossip. Janhvi’s response to her trolls always comes with a disclaimer that she acknowledges her privilege, whereas Khushi shut trolls up once and for all when she went the Richa Chadha way and said that the trolling has to do more with the trolls’ insecurities than her insufficiencies. And the way she said it was also far more secure and sure-footed, instead of her elder brother Arjun Kapoor blurting out the same philosophy on the couch in a manner reeking of arrogance and frustration.
Khushi’s response to host Karan Johar quizzing her about her alleged relationship with The Archies co-star Vedang Raina was also conveniently conventional, but also casually telling. She quoted the “Om and I are just good friends” line from Farah Khan’s 2007 blockbuster Om Shanti Om, but when asked her views on ‘friends with benefits’ in the Rapid Fire round, she said with a grin, “What are friends without benefits?”
Janhvi also had some saucy revelations about her dating life, including reuniting with her first boyfriend Shikhar Pahariya. But again, instead of those coming naturally to her, the truth bombs felt more planted. Since Karan’s talent management firm Dharma Cornerstone Agency handles her, it’s no surprise if these were strategic ‘Shikhooo’ leaks by the actor who’s usually very restrained. There’s a reason why she’s the only one out of her contemporaries whose past relationship with Kartik Aaryan hasn’t been dissected on the Koffee couch.
Like her elder daughter, Sridevi has also discussed controversies only when they’ve reached the brim. Like how she expressed her disappointment at SS Rajamouli leaking her extravagant demands when he offered her the role of Sivagami in the Baahubali franchise. Janhvi may be trying to be as dignified as her mother when it comes to controversies, but she could also take a page out of her father Boney Kapoor’s book: blow her own trumpet, own her airport looks, and unapologetically demand her space in the universe, even if it’s in the trailer of a film where she’s barely there.
‘Before the Koffee gets Cold’ is a weekly column that goes beyond the froth to study the storm inside the Koffee cup.
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