Genelia D'souza has become hot property in Bollywood recently with two big films back-to-back, Mere Baap Pehle Aap and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na.
D'souza originally hails from the South Indian city of Mangalore and made her Bollywood debut opposite Riteish Deshmukh in Tujhe Meri Kasam (2003), which was followed by Masti (2004) before she changed course to star in South Indian films.
She established herself as one of the most successful and sought-after actresses in South Indian films, belting out one hit after another.
Now she has made a return to Bollywood that has woken everyone in the industry up to her acting talents — including the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, who publicly praised her performance in JTYJN. D'souza speaks to tabloid! about her successful return to Bollywood.
First and foremost congratulations on JTYJN's tremendous success and your superb performance in the film. Did you ever imagine that you and the film will be so highly appreciated?
Thank you very much. I am overwhelmed with the response to JTYJN. Not even in my wildest dream did I think it would become such a sensation. I knew we made an honest film about youngsters and put in a lot of hard work. But for the film to become so big is just imaginable. The compliments and tremendous response that I have received so far make me believe that it's going to be a new beginning for me in Bollywood.
I am thankful to Abbas Tyrewala for writing my character so beautifully and Aamir Khan who was always confident in my abilities. Now when people call me Meow [her character's nickname in JTYJN], I feel it is a triumph. I am so proud to be part of JTYJN.
How did you manage such an amazing chemistry with Imran Khan?
I think we were lucky to hit it off instantly and shared a remarkable rapport throughout the making of the film. Moreover Abbas had written very good dialogues that helped our scenes together.
Just like your character from Aditi, did you dominate Imran on the sets, considering you were the senior actress?
On the contrary. I think it was Imran who was bullying me and being a pest but jokes aside he was an awesome co-star. I think there was no feeling of senior or junior actor as everyone had a well-written part and needed to deliver as per Abbas's vision.
Besides, this may be Imran's debut film but his overall knowledge of filmmaking is exceptional for a newcomer and to act with someone like him is great fun.
You tend to always play bubbly and happy-go-lucky characters in your films. Are you similar in real-life too?
Yes, I always try to be positive and love to have a cheerful personality. I don't get bogged down with difficult situations in life because I try to sort it out positively and find the best possible solution. I believe there is no point in being sad when you can't get anything out of it. So the best thing is to smile your way through any situation.
Does that mean you prefer to do light-hearted roles?
So far I have got predominantly light-hearted romantic roles and as an actress, had to play these roles to my best. But I am open to offers of any meaningful or serious roles too and am confident I would be able to do complete justice to such roles.
You have done south Indian films and Bollywood films. How do you compare the two industries?
Honestly speaking I think highly of Hindi and south Indian films and don't see much of a difference between these two industries. I feel the filmmakers from both these industries are professional and strive to give their best.
Now that JTYJN has turned into a huge success, will you exile yourself from south Indian films and concentrate on your Bollywood career?
No way. I think I have achieved quite a bit because of my Tamil and Telegu films and I don't see myself giving up on these films. Moreover I share a fantastic rapport with my
directors, producers and co-stars from south Indian films.
But yes, I am also looking forward to doing some interesting Bollywood projects. I see myself balancing between these two industries.