Loss and expectations: Spotlight on daughter Jhanvi after Sridevi’s demise?
Sridevi, who passed away late Saturday night, had reduced screen appearances—her last film being drama thriller Mom (2017)—but with Jhanvi Kapoor’s movie debut later this year, expectations are already high that the legendary actress’s legacy will live on through her daughter.
Kapoor makes her film debut with Dhadak, a Hindi romantic drama produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions. Slated for release on 20 July, the film is directed by Shashank Khaitan of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014) and Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017) fame. It features Ishaan Khatter, brother of actor Shahid Kapoor, in the lead alongside Jhanvi Kapoor.
“There will definitely be some sort of an emotional attachment with her debut on the part of audiences,” said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. “There is no need to drive that point home, it will be implicit, like a collective thought that we all wish Sridevi were around to see this happen.”
Instances like this have taken place in the past with the death of actor Nargis and producer Mona Kapoor just before the release of their children’s debut films—Sanjay Dutt’s Rocky (1981) and Arjun Kapoor’s Ishaqzaade (2012), respectively.
Mohan added that Dhadak already had great positive buzz going for it. For one, it’s a Dharma film, a studio that is known for its glossy production values and feel-good vibe. And in a rare instance, Johar has picked up rights to remake a regional film, Marathi blockbuster Sairat (2016) that is currently the highest grossing film in the language. Directed by National Award-winning director Nagraj Manjule, the film starring Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar was a sleeper hit, titles that gain success gradually, made at a budget of Rs3.5 crore that eventually notched up around Rs100 crore. So there is already some credibility to bank on.
The buzz around Dhadak and Sridevi’s unparalleled stardom aside, some industry experts point out that Kapoor’s film will have to stand on its own feet when it finally hits screens in July. In the huge debate around nepotism that Bollywood is currently witnessing, what ultimately matters is how good the product is. There are plenty of examples of how unforgiving audiences have been to celebrity kids, if what they produce is no great shakes.
“Any news, as significant as it is, does not have an impact beyond five days now,” said Saurabh Uboweja, international brand expert and chief executive of brand consulting firm Brands Of Desire. “Plus, it’s very difficult to drive people to movie theatres now unless your film is packed with super powerful script and direction, among other things. So there has to be a trigger bigger than this.”