This charming and very bubbly girl made her debut as a television anchor. But her first date with the camera was during a dance competition. Popular for her traffic stopping smile and her natural ability to charm people with her words, it is not a wonder that is one of the most in demand anchors on television. A lesser known fact is that she is also a talented photographer (well amateur at least). She has also dabbled with acting, portraying character roles in quite a few films. In a chat with Ragalahari, anchor and character actor Jahnavi speaks about Television, Films and herself.
Q: How did you get the opportunity to become an Anchor?
A: Anchoring? That is a big story. Gemini TV was holding a dream girl contest at Vijayawada. I entered the contest. There I was asked whether I knew how to dance and what my other qualifications were. When I told them I knew how to dance they suggested that I participate in the Dance Baby Dance contest. So I participated and won the contest. That time they asked if I would like to take up an offer in anchoring. I told that I wouldn’t mind it. I did it just for fun but gained a lot of popularity instead. It so happened that my show as an anchor was aired before my Dance Baby Dance episode was telecasted. Then I did another production for Gemini TV and now I am here.
Q: Did you learn dancing?
A: Yes. I learnt classical dancing from Kodada Narasimha Rao at Vijayawada. He is a famous Kuchipudi dancer. I took lessons from him for 7 years. And western type of dancing I learnt it by watching dances that is all. Because I already knew classical dance, I could catch up with the western dances.
Q: How did you feel about the kind of response you got after your first episode as an anchor? That is when people started recognizing you?
A: After my first episode as an anchor was aired, it felt like a dream come true. Though I actually never had a particular dream as such. That is I did not know much about television that time. Except for Dance Baby Dance I used to not watch much of television. I did not know anything about anchors or what kind of job it was. I even did not know that it would get so much of fame. Unexpectedly I got the offer. Then I started reading all the letters I got, to know what comments were written and the kind of response I was getting. Almost 90% of the response was good. The remaining 10% would tell me to change this and that. I used to watch out for what was negative in my previous episode and try to make it positive in my next episode.
Q: Did you take any special coaching before you became a TV anchor?
A: No. nothing like that. It’s all natural.
Q: How come you are not seen anchoring any stage shows like audio release functions and other film related functions?
A: Firstly I did not know much about the film industry and even now my knowledge is less. Secondly, my negative point is that I cannot remember names, and at such functions it is very important, with all the big personalities attending the function, to remember each name particularly. And that is something I am weak at. So I just don’t venture into something I cannot handle.
Q: But you anchor live shows?
A: Aha… now live shows is something I can handle. That’s a subject I know. Because I have to just speak to the audiences I do it. I am good at that.
Q: Did you plan to join the film industry after becoming a TV anchor?
A: No I had no such plans. Actually I had no plans of becoming a TV anchor either. But when I did become one I wanted to hold onto it. Like, now if you ask any ten people if they know anchor Jahnavi, at least five people will say yes. That is what I wanted. At least five out of ten people should recognize me. Nothing like I wanted to become a very famous heroine or something like that. I just want to maintain and hold on to what I have already achieved. It should not lessen, that’s all.
Q: What is the kind of support are you getting from the industry? Do you find any difference between the television and the film industry?
A: Television field is like a family to me. You know everybody there. Everybody is very close in the Television Industry. In the film field it is different. Everybody has there own place. The hero and heroines have a different kind of importance as compared to the character actors. This is a much older field than the television industry. And people are kind of set in their ways here (film industry). But in the television field whether you are anchoring one show or many shows you are treated the same. Whether you are Jahnavi or a new comer you are given the same kind of importance. An anchor is an anchor that is all. We also kind of share family matters. Asking about one’s family and such. Coming to the film industry, we can’t ask anybody anything. We can’t share personal matters here. I mean a heroine is separate. Though I haven’t faced anything as such till now. Because you asked for the difference I am telling you. That is the main difference.
Q: You plan to work with only the big banners?
A: Nothing like that. It all depends on the character that is being offered to me. If the character is good, it doesn’t matter to me whether it is a big or a small banner film.
Q: You are planning to continue doing character roles? What do you prefer comedy or serious type of roles?
A: I like doing character roles. But I am not very fond of comedy. I like doing the mysterious, suspicious kind of roles. You know the kind that thrill the audiences.
Q: So you like horror movies?
A: Yes. I watch a lot of horror movies. I try to imitate them. I can’t do anything on my own right? So I try to enjoy by imitating them.
Q: What would you have pursued if you did not get diverted into this field?
A: I would have definitely become an engineer. Because I got a rank, a free seat in the engineering field. I can use that within four years. And I still have one year to use my rank. If I do not prosper in this field, I can still take up the engineering seat. But what I thought was that if you have fame you have wealth and health. So I thought that instead of studying for five years and then searching for a job, why not earn as much in one year.
Q: You were very slim when you first took up anchoring. What happened now?
A: When you are anchoring there is a lot of work to do in between the shots also. But in films, once you finish your shot you just have to sit around and wait for the next. And they keep offering you stuff, in between, to eat (laughing). It’s like sit and eat most of the time. And I just love food.
Q: What kind of food do you like?
A: Mostly I love Indian food. Then Chinese.
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: March 26th, 1985
Q: What is your native place?
A: My native place is Eluru. We were staying there. Then we shifted to Vijayawada for educational purposes. From there I joined the industry.
Q: What are your educational qualifications?
A: I completed my intermediate. Presently I am doing my B.Com., final year.
Q: What about your sibling?
A: I have a sister who is doing B.Sc,. She draws a lot. So I am always a bit scared to sit beside her. Because you never know in which pose she will make a portrait of yours. But she is a nice and sweet girl. She is very friendly with me.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Dance. Then I love to chat with friends at home. Then shopping. I spend a lot of money (laughing). I love clothes, mostly red and black. I surf the net a lot.
Q: Did you any time get caught lying?
A: I don’t usually lie. But when ever I lie I definitely get caught.
Q: Any such bitter sweet memories?
A: About me getting caught? When I was in Inter first year, Nuvve Kavali released. I bunked college, continuously, about 20 times to watch that movie (laughing). In between, my parents called at the college and found out that I was not attending. So when I came home my mother very casually asked me why I got late. And I started saying “Extra classes mummy. It’s becoming very difficult. I am not getting Maths or Physics. Till now I sat with my sir for extra classes” and then she suddenly asked me whether I got tickets quite easily. And I very innocently asked “What tickets mummy”. She caught me and gave me good that day. Even my friends were lectured by my mother (laughing). That is a sweet memory.
Q: Who are your role models?
A: I have no role models.
Q: Your favorite Hero and Heroine?
A: My favorite hero is Chiranjeevi. He is the best. Heroines? There are a lot of favorite heroines. I love Urmila Matondkar. And……Sridevi.
Q: Who is your favorite anchor?
A: Shenaz (MTV). Here people are good in one particular style of anchoring. Shenaz is good in everything. She is very cute and bubbly.
Q: What are the traits you look for in a friend?
A: I like very typical people. Like my friend, Sushmita, she stays in Mumbai. We were together in school. She is very typical. She would always say the opposite of what I would say. I never understood whether she would do it purposefully or her mentality was like that. She is different that way, but I like her a lot. I like her kind of people (smiling).
Q: You like people who are very calm or people who are quite vocal?
A: I hate calmness. I don’t like people who are calm. I talk a lot. So when such calm people are with me, they will just change (laughs).
Q: What do you think is most attractive about you, your positive points? We think it is your smile.
A: (Smiling) Mostly I think so. Well what people like me most for is that, I praise people a lot (laughs). That though is confirmed. But I don’t praise for the sake of doing it. I just praise them or compliment people for genuine reasons. And for things they do not know about themselves. I just stretch the truth a bit (laughing). Then I think it is the way I talk. And my sense of dressing.
Q: What are your negative points?
A: I talk a lot. That is my nature.
Q: But you like talking right?
A: I like to talk. But the other person should also listen right? They will get bored. That is my negative point. Then I get irritated a lot. If people do not give me importance I feel a lot. And that feeling has increased after I joined the film industry. And when people give me importance I will do anything for them (on a light note). Like if people ask me “Jahnavi will you do this for me” I do it for them. But if they go like “Ay Jahnavi do this” I will never do it. If people talk nicely to me I will do what they ask.
Q: Did you face any such situations in the film industry?
A: No. There has been no such problem in the film industry so far for me. But I have seen it happen it to other people. You know people who sing the back chorus or who play small insignificant roles, junior artists as such. They are not given the importance we are given. But I do feel about the way they are treated. I even thank god that I am not in their position. I know that they are facing it for different reasons. But I would not be able to face such things. If being in this industry means facing such situations I wouldn’t enter the industry only. And in future if such a situation arises I will quit the industry.
Q: Are you planning to settle in the film industry or you have other career plans?
A: From when I was a kid I always wanted to establish a multi-media firm. You might ask how I would know about multi media when I was a kid. The thing is I have a cousin in the US, who from when I was in second class would tell me about multi media, telling me that this and this is nice. I had an idea about it. Then I learnt about multi media.
Q: When you get married in the future, are you planning on settling in the US or will you continue in the film industry?
A: I will mostly settle in the US. But if I am to stay here or if I am not taken to the US (laughing) then as I said I plan to establish a multi media firm. I like direction and photography; I will try to learn that.
Q: So you will try to learn photography in the future?
A: Definitely. I will concentrate on photography in the future. Because there is no age limit to learn photography.
Q: What is the reason you like photography so much?
A: I love females. Don’t get shocked. I know that guys generally like females. What do guys have anyway? (Laughing). They only look good when there is a girl or lady standing beside them. Seriously what I mean is that a female can emote better than a male. Guys cannot cry out and it also doesn’t look good when you see a man crying. Females can emote a lot of sentiments as compared to the male. I would like to capture all those different kinds of emotions on reel. I want to learn everything about photography from makeup to lighting to costumes. Everything.