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Born: Genelia De Souza
Date of Birth: 5 August 1987
Birth Place; Bumbai, Maharashtra, India
Height: 5′ 6″ (1,68 m)
Genelia D’Souza is an Indian actress, model, and host. She has appeared in Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam language films. After gaining wide attention in a Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, D’Souza began her acting career with Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. She was recognized for her role in Boys the same year, and later established herself in Telugu cinema by acting in several Telugu films during 2003-2005. D’Souza received her first Filmfare Award in 2006 for her performance in the Telugu romantic film, Bommarillu, which earned her critical acclaim.
In 2008, she gave critically acclaimed performances in Santosh Subramaniam, a Tamil remake of Bommarillu, and the Bollywood movie Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na. Having acted in several commercially successful movies in Telugu and Tamil, D’Souza has established herself as one of the leading actresses of the South Indian film industry.In addition to movie acting, D’Souza has hosted the television show Big Switch, and is the brand ambassador of Fanta, Virgin Mobile India, Fastrack, LG Mobiles, Garnier Light, Margo, and Perk in India
When Genelia D’Souza was offered a role in Tujhe Meri Kasam, initially she turned it down, as she was not keen to pursue a career in acting. But the crew insisted and kept contacting her for two months, and she agreed when she saw the Telugu version of the movie. Tamil director, S. Shankar, was impressed with her performance in the Parker Pen commercial and decided to cast her in a leading role in his 2003 Tamil film Boys. D’Souza was selected among 300 girls, who had auditioned for the movie. She signed three movies simultaneously in three different languages, Tujhe Meri Kasam (Hindi), Boys (Tamil), and Satyam (Telugu).
Genelia D’Souza’s professional movie career began, with her Bollywood debut Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. Indian film critic Taran Adarsh noted, “Genelia is a wonderful performer. She catches you unaware with a performance that’s natural to the core.” The movie garnered poor box office returns, and it failed to propel her career in Bollywood. Following her poor debut in Bollywood, she decided to act in South Indian films.
Later the same year, she made her Tamil debut as the teenage girl Harini in Boys, a story about five teenagers having stereotypical teen-boy fantasies. The movie, though noted for its vulgar sexual content, was a box-office success, and subsequently she started receiving Telugu film offers. She left Tamil cinema for a while to concentrate on the Telugu film industry. She made her Telugu debut in 2003 as a medical student in Satyam. Sify noted in their review that, “Genelia is excellent as her body language is her major asset.” The movie was well received, and it raised her profile in the Telugu film industry.
In 2004, D’Souza appeared in her second Bollywood movie, Masti. The comedy focuses on three close friends who reunite after three years, but are now married and are being harassed by their wives. D’Souza portrayed the character of one of the wives. Taran Adarsh was complimentary of D’Souza’s role, saying, “Amongst the wives, Genelia is the best, […] Genelia looks the stern and demanding wife and is sure to be noticed.” The film fared well at the UK box office. The same year, she appeared in two Telugu movies Samba, and Sye, both succeeding at the box-office.
After appearing in her first Telugu movie in 2005, Naa Alludu, she starred in the Tamil romantic entertainer Sachein. A review in The Hindu noted, “Genelia, who hardly made an impression in Boys, makes much impact in Sachein.” The movie evoked mixed response from audiences, but was well received with the younger generation. She later appeared in the Telugu patriotic movie Subhash Chandra Bose.
Bollywood teen icon Genelia D’Souza is too busy these days with her films IT’S MY LIFE, HOOK YA CROOK and URUMI. In Kolkata to launch Nocturne lounge, the actor tells our correspondent that she won’t change her mad self for anything.
How will you define yourself as a person?
I am a person who loves to chill out more than anything else. I spent my entire college life at Cafe Coffee Day at Carter Road (Mumbai). Even today, I have not changed my lifestyle; I still walk my way from home to the cafe, though now at times, it’s a bit difficult because of my hectic schedules.
And also, because people recognize you?
Yes. But unlike other stars, I thoroughly enjoy it. I get super-excited when someone calls me by my name. I too scream back: ‘Aiyeee’. I know, at times, this creates confusion. So I try not to do my mad things all the time.
Tell us about your childhood days.
I grew up in Bandra. I am a complete sportsgirl; I have played everything-from basketball to hockey…the Joggers Park has so much been a part of my life because of my trainings. Not many people know that I am a state-level athlete. People used to call me a tomboy, though I used to say that I am a tomboy with a feminine side, though even I don’t know what that means. (Laughs) I am a mad girl…fully.
How did Bollywood happen to you?
One day I got a call from Ramoji Rao saying he is doing a Hindi film called TUJHE MERI KASAM and wants to launch me! Now, it was bad enough that I got into modeling because I was from a family who has no clue about the glamour world. And films were something I couldn’t even thought of attempting; first because, I was clueless about acting. And then, in my family, films were like ‘No no no, it is a bad world and we can’t get into it…blah blah blah.’ And these guys kept calling me for a month-and-a-half. Then, my mom said this is an opportunity and that I should try it out. I always have the option to quit if I am not happy with it.
So are you happy the way your acting career has shaped up in Bollywood as well as in South?
I am totally satisfied. I had a peak, I had a fall, and I have a peak again. But I was never out of work. However, my worst phase taught me a lot. When I am in a hit phase now, I know things can go down. I am really lucky that I got accepted in four industries (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam).
You are mostly projected as a young, bubbly, chirpy girl. Are you happy with your image?
Absolutely. I am young, fun-loving. I don’t want people to know me as someone who is very reserved and serious type, because I am not.
What is the best thing you got yourself after becoming a star?
My Bandra apartment. I love bright colours and decked it up accordingly. You will find a red living area, an orange-and-white study-cum-gym, a blue-and-pink bedroom. My home reflects my vibrancy.