By Subhash K Jha
This is as close as a debut gets to a tragedy. Janhvi Kapoor is poised for her big launch. It can’t get any bigger than Karan Johar, can it now? Unless she got Sanjay Leela Bhansali to launch her, which she didn’t.
Sridevi must be very happy seeing her daughter shining even before her debut. Strangely I am reminded of Smita Patil who passed away long before she could see her son become an actor. The child never saw his mother. Today Prateik is struggling to make his presence felt.
Prateik has gone through more than his share of struggle. Being motherless and living away from his father actor-politician Raj Babbar, Prateik was rudderless and on drugs. We met for the first time when he came home for the promotion of his film Issaq. He was accompanied by his very pretty leading lady Amyra Dastur who told me Prateik was “afraid” of me.
I tried to put Prateik at ease.
“Sir, please look after me,” he beseeched with his pleading eyes. I felt as protective as I could for the vulnerable child-man. Prateik has Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk coming up where he plays an Indian Muslim accused of terror activities. It’s a thankless role. But I have a feeling Prateik will bring his own insecurities into play while portraying this outcast.
I feel a similar surge of protectiveness for Jahnvi, though she hardly needs any sympathy from anybody. Fiercely protected by her mother when alive, Janhvi and her younger sister Khushi have coped ably with their mother’s sudden loss. During her lifetime I don’t think Sridevi was too keen to see her daughters become actresses.
I remember speaking to her on this topic. The proud protective mother always said she wanted her daughters to get a proper education. “Let them first finish studying, the we’ll see what they want to,” she once told me softly, as rumours of Janhvi’s debut had begun to gather momentum. Sridevi didn’t much care for such talk.
From what I could make out she wasn’t keen on her daughters becoming actresses. Not that she ever said this out loud. But every time we’d speak on the subject she would grow worried and uncertain. The lack of a formal education in her own career bothered Sridevi. She had begun facing the camera from the time she was just 4.
“When was the time to study? I was so hungry for a formal education. I don’t want my children to undergo the same hunger,” Sridevi once told me.
Boney was always more keen to make actors out of his daughters. In this matter I believe the husband and wife begged to defer. Boney felt, ‘Jeena yahan marna yahan’ Sridevi felt, ‘Ab bahot ho gaya.’ Now that it is happening I don’t know how happy Sridevi would have been to see her daughter in Dhadak.
The film comes with a heavy baggage. The Marathi version Sairat became an instant classic. I doubt Dhadak would get the same ovation. Remakes inevitably suffer in comparison. Nobody in his right mind would look for Sairat in Dhadak. It would be as sacrilegious as looking for Sholay in Ram Gopal Varma’s Aag.
Fire better or Fire worse.