Good Luck Jerry: Janhvi Kapoor again shows she is a good actor; it’s time to do away with the ‘nepo kid’ jibes now

Janhvi Kapoor’s Good Luck Jerry released on Disney+ Hotstar on Friday. In her short career, this is Janhvi’s third direct-OTT release (after Ghost Stories and Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl in 2020). Incidentally, two of these contain her finest performances and proof that the young actor has huge potential to grow. Ever since she entered the industry with Dhadak back in 2018, Janhvi has faced allegations of nepotism and favouritism helping her in her journey. After all, she is the daughter of screen legend Sridevi and filmmaker Boney Kapoor and a known favourite of Karan Johar. But with Good Luck Jerry, Janhvi proves that she can stay here on the basis of her talent alone, withstanding all ‘nepo kid’ jibes that come her way on social media. Also read: Janhvi Kapoor admits her fame is mostly because of parents Sridevi, Boney Kapoor

There are two allegations or charges that trolls often love to fling at Janhvi–that she can’t act and that she is in the industry because of her connections. The internet and Kangana Ranaut’s new favourite derogative term ‘nepo kid’ has often been used for her. Films like Roohi haven’t helped. But in a career that has only seen six releases, that charge hardly holds merit. In Good Luck Jerry, she plays a Bihari migrant in Punjab, both worlds quite alien to her. And yet she manages to do justice to them. Her Bihari dialect is good if not perfect. Of course, Mita Vashisht (who plays her mother) does it better, but doing anything even marginally worse than an actor of her calibre is something to be celebrated.

The trouble with Janhvi has been two-fold. First is, of course, that fans, and even critics, love to compare her with her mother Sridevi. Pitting any actor against a talent like Sridevi is unfair. She was a once-in-a-generation actor. There has never been one like her and probably never will be. But Janhvi does not have to be her. She just has to be the best version of herself there is and that should be enough.

The second trouble has been her co-performers. In her brief career, Sridevi has found herself sharing the frame with some of the finest actors in the country. In Dhadak, it was Ashutosh Rana, and in Ghost Stories Surekha Sikri and Vijay Varma. In Gunjan Saxena, her co-actors included Pankaj Tripathi, Manav Vij, and Vineet Kumar Singh to name a few, while in Good Luck Jerry, she shares screen space with Mita Vashisht and Deepak Dobriyal. These are formidable performers and the audience invariably compares her to their performances. And indeed, she comes up short but most would. And if Gunjan Saxena and Good Luck Jerry have shown something, it’s that the gap is diminishing. She no longer feels out of place in a scene with a stellar actor. She is holding her own and delivering measured performances that any young actor should be proud of.

Acting with accomplished actors like Pankaj Tripathi has meant unfavourable comparisons for Janhvi Kapoor.

What the layperson often seems to get wrong about star kids in Bollywood is that there is no cabal ensuring only they stay in the industry. Star kids have something the proverbial outsides don’t–visibility. Even before they sign their first films, they have spent years in the public eye. With their millions of social media followers and devoted fans, star kids can get eyeballs to a project, something other newcomers can only dream of. That is why producers like to see them as safe bets. But that visibility can only get your foot inside the door. Yes, for many that is a huge deal. But then so many star kids fade away after grand debuts because they just don’t have the talent or the will. Janhvi has both, in abundance.

Good Luck Jerry sees Janhvi perform the enviable task of carrying a film on her shoulders and she manages that beautifully. Now, could she have gotten that chance if she wasn’t Janhvi Kapoor? Probably not! Not many young actors would be entrusted with leading films so early in their careers. There, her star kid status helps certainly. But like I said, it only gets her through the door. Beyond that, she has to make sure through her talent that she continues to get these chances in the future too. The moment producers feel there is another actor easier on the pocket, who fits the bill, they will flock to her. Capitalism trumps nepotism, always! But till then, let us let Janhvi bask in her success, and maybe enjoy watching her on-screen ourselves. Good luck, Janhvi!

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(With Inputs from hindustantimes)