Janhvi Kapoor: Horror-comedies like Roohi should be seen with others
The actor on her dual turn in Roohi and working with Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma
Janhvi Kapoor readily identifies as a ‘horror buff’. In fact, the actor reveals she had shot for half of Roohi even before Ghost Stories (2020). In the latter, she starred as a forlorn caregiver in Zoya Akhtar’s atmospheric short. The mood is admittedly upbeat in Roohi, a horror comedy co-starring Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma.
Janhvi hails the subgenre for its theatre-friendly pleasures. “Horror-comedies provide a communal-viewing experience,” she explains. “When you are laughing or getting scared together, the sensation is doubled. The adrenaline rush of a jump scare is followed by the relief of a joke. It’s such an interesting space.”
Like Stree before it, Roohi turns on a female protagonist at its centre. Janhvi’s character is abducted and put up in a cabin in the woods. She is haunted by an evil spirit — a witch who steals brides, with backwards-turning feet. What’s more, she won’t leave until Roohi is married off in her present state. The dual turn meant Janhvi had to swing between two extremities on prompt. “It was complicated with all the VFX involved,” Janhvi shares. “I had tracking markers on my face and had to look in a specific direction for certain shots. Keeping these technicalities in mind makes you more prepared as an actor.”
Janhvi says she wasn’t intimidated by experienced performers like Rajkummar and Varun. Along with director Hardik Mehta, the team worked in unison, driven by their love of filmmaking. Janhvi calls the ‘Palat scene’ — a DDLJ send-up where she performs a 180 degree headturn — the trickiest to shoot. “It was a tough one to nail with the effects, but I had great fun watching it later.”
Since her debut in Dhadak (2018), Janhvi has been stacking up her filmography. She wants to continue working with directors with a distinct style and vision. “I was in awe of Alia after watching the Gangubai teaser. Directors like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Zoya, and Karan Johar know how to pull you into their world. I wish to work with more of them.”
The future is looking up: she is working with Karan on Takht, and is also headlining the Hindi remake of Kolamavu Kokila. There is also Dostana 2 with Kartik Aaryan and Laksh Lalwani. “We shot about 25-30 days for Dostana 2,” Janhvi shares. “We have more 30 days left and will be resuming soon.”