Saturday, 6 September 2014

Genelia D'Souza

Genelia D'Souza (born 5 August 1987) is an Indian filmactress, model, and host. She has appeared in South Indian cinemaand Bollywood films. After gaining wide attention in a ParkerPen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, Genelia began her actingcareer with Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. She was recognized for herrole in Boys the same year, and later established herself inTelugu cinema by acting in several Telugu films during 2003-2005.

Genelia received her first Filmfare Award in 2006 for herperformance in the Telugu romantic film, Bommarillu, which earnedher critical acclaim. In 2008, she gave critically acclaimedperformances in Santosh Subramaniam, a Tamil remake of Bommarillu,and the Bollywood movie Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. Having acted inseveral commercially successful movies in Telugu and Tamil, Geneliahas established herself as one of the leading actresses of the SouthIndian film industry. In addition to movie acting,Genelia has hosted the television show Big Switch, and is thebrand ambassador of Fanta, Virgin Mobile India, Fastrack,LG Mobiles, Garnier Light, Margo, and Perk inIndia.


Early life

Genelia with her family at the CNBC Awaaz consumer awards in 2010.Seen here from left to right is her father Neil D'Souza, her motherJeanette D'Souza, herself, and at the extreme right, her brother NigelD'Souza.

Born in Mumbai into a Mangalorean Catholicfamily, Genelia was raised as a Roman Catholic inthe Bandra suburb of Mumbai. Her mother tongue isKonkani. Her mother Jeanette D'Souza was formerlya managing director of the Pharma Multinational corporation (MNC),who left her job in 2004 to help Genelia with her career. Her fatherNeil D'Souza, is a senior official with Tata Consultancy Services(TCS). She also has a younger brother, NigelD'Souza, who works with the Bombay StockExchange. According to Genelia, her name means "rare" or"unique", and is a portmanteau of Jeanette and Neil, her motherand father's name. She is also often informally referred to as Geenu,her nickname. Genelia studied at the Apostolic Carmel HighSchool in Bandra and later joined St. Andrew's College in Bandrato pursue her Bachelor's Degree of Management Studies. Shecompleted her degree while shooting for her first film, Tujhe MeriKasam in 2003 and initially thought that an MNC job would suither. She liked sports and studies in college, andwas a state level athlete, sprinter, and a national levelfootball player.

Genelia did her first modeling assignment at the age of 15,the result of being spotted as the bridesmaid at awedding. She was selected for the Parker Pen commercialwith Amitabh Bachchan, just two days before her exams, and had toshoot the next day. Initially she refused, because of her exam thenext day, but the director persuaded Genelia to shoot for thecommercial. She gained wide attention from theParker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, who said "shewas good, and her expressions were spontaneous". She furtherdid a Fair and Lovely 2003 Cricket World Cup advertisementwith cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

Acting career

Debut and recognition, 2003-05

When Genelia was offered a role in Tujhe Meri Kasam, initially sheturned it down, as she was not keen to pursue a career in acting. Butthe crew insisted and kept contacting her for two months, and sheagreed when she saw the Telugu version of the movie.Tamil director, S. Shankar, was impressed with her performance inthe Parker Pen commercial and decided to cast her in a leading role inhis 2003 Tamil film Boys. Genelia was selected among 300girls, who had auditioned for the movie. She signed three moviessimultaneously in three different languages, Tujhe Meri Kasam(Hindi), Boys (Tamil), and Satyam (Telugu).

Genelia's professional movie career began, with herBollywood debut Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. Indian film criticTaran Adarsh noted, "Genelia is a wonderful performer. Shecatches you unaware with a performance that's natural to thecore." The movie garnered poor box office returns,and it failed to propel her career in Bollywood. Followingher poor debut in Bollywood, she decided to act in South Indianfilms. Later the same year, she made her Tamil debut as theteenage girl Harini in Boys, a story about five teenagers havingstereotypical teen-boy fantasies. The movie, though noted for itsvulgar sexual content, was a box-office success, andsubsequently she started receiving Telugu film offers. Sheleft Tamil cinema for a while to concentrate on the Telugufilm industry. She made her Telugu debut in 2003 as a medical studentin Satyam. Sify noted in their review that,"Genelia is excellent as her body language is her majorasset." The movie was well received, and it raisedher profile in the Telugu film industry.

In 2004, Genelia appeared in her second Bollywood movie, Masti.The comedy focuses on three close friends who reunite after threeyears, but are now married and are being harassed by their wives.Genelia portrayed the character of one of the wives.Taran Adarsh was complimentary of Genelia's role, saying,"Amongst the wives, Genelia is the best, [...] Genelia looks the sternand demanding wife and is sure to be noticed." The filmfared well at the UK box office. The same year, she appearedin 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 animpression in Boys, makes much impact in Sachein." The movieevoked mixed response from audiences, but was well received with theyounger generation. She later appeared in the Telugupatriotic movie Subhash Chandra Bose.

Turning point in South Indian films, 2006-08

The year 2006 marked a significant turning point in Genelia'scareer. She completed two Telugu movies in early 2006, onewas the romantic comedy Happy, and the other wasRaam. She then portrayed the role of Haasini, avibrant, effervescent and a happy-go-lucky young girl, in the 2006Telugu romantic film Bommarillu. The movie, a blockbuster at thebox-office, grossed INR 250 million(US$4.2 million) in India, and also won the 2006 GoldenNandi award. Her character was well received, andgarnered her the Telugu Filmfare Award for BestActress, besides Nandi Special Jury Award andSantosham Award for Best Actress. Sify concluded abouther acting in their review that, "The scene stealer is Genelia withher innocent looks and cute mannerisms. She does not overact and wejust fall in love with her character. Genelia looks like a dream inchic skirts and is the life of the party and raises the bar of thefilm."

Following the success of Bommarillu, Genelia played the role of thedaughter of a local don, in the Tamil gangster film ChennaiKadhal. criticized her commenting, "Geneliastands up yet again to prove the point that if you are pretty and welldressed, you can get away with anything, without acting."Shortly afterwards in 2007, Genelia played the role of sister of anotorious gangster in the blockbuster Telugu movieDhee, set against a gang war backdrop.

The following year, Genelia appeared in the 2008 Telugu romanticthriller Mr. Medhavi, in which she portrayed the role of astudent from Canada. The movie was successful, complimenting her performance saying, "Genelia is hereffervescent self - full of joie-de-vivre and lights up thescreen." She made her Kannada debut in Satya in Lovethe same year. Later, she was cast in a leading role inSanthosh Subramaniam, a Tamil remake of Bommarillu. The film alsoturned out to be rather successful as its predecessor. Sifydescribed Genelia's portrayal as "the soul of the film" and the film's"biggest strength", however described hercharacter as "appears a little too good to be true."

Return to Bollywood and recent work, June 2008-present

In June 2008, following a nearly five-year hiatus in Bollywood, sheappeared in Mere Baap Pehle Aap, which failed to makeprofit at the box-office. A Rediff review noted, "besidesher apparent cuteness, brings in tons of freshness and traits to theyouthful characters she chooses to play", while a Sifyreview criticized her stating, "Genelia is sprightly but has astandard two-three expressions bank in this film." She laterappeared in the Telugu love story Ready alongside Ram, whichwas well received. Her breakthrough performance in2008 was through the portrayal of the role of Aditi Mahant in theblockbuster Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, which was an economicsuccess across India and overseas, grossing INR 564 million(US$9.4 million). Her role was widely admired for hersweetness and freshness, and new style of acting, with Rediffdescribing her acting as a "spark that has been missing in Hindicinema for well over a decade now". In that same year,Genelia acted in the Telugu romantic comedy SasirekhaParinayam. The movie received favorable reviews, and Sifynoted in their review that, "The life of the film is definitelyGenelia and she has shown the varied emotions from innocence, sadness,romance and anger in equal proportions without a hitch."

In 2009, Genelia was cast in the Hindi film Life Partner, inwhich she was criticized for her performance. Indian film criticRajeev Masand commented, "The adorable little imp from JaaneTu... Ya Jaane Na has turned into a nagging harridan in this film, andhow you wish she'd immediately enroll for acting lessons."Her next appearance in 2009 was in the Telugu thriller Katha,which was well received, and for which she won the 2009Nandi Special Jury Award. In 2010, Genelia appeared inChance Pe Dance and Orange, both receiving poor reviews fromcritics, but her Uthama Puthiran was a moderate success inTamil.

D'Souza had a major role in 2011, starring as the Muslim warriorprincess Arackal Ayesha, in her debut Malayalam film Urumi.The film is about a fictional story happening in Calicut,Kerala during the 15th century, about a boy who plots toassassinate the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama. Shelearned horse riding, and spent two weeks of training to use thesword, the short stick, and movements of the Dravidian martialart Kalarippayattu. The movie portrayed her imagemakeover from typically girl-next-door roles to more seriousroles. Her next appearance was in theBollywood action thriller Force, which received mixedreception from critics, with Taran Adarsh ofBollywood Hungama noting that D'Souza is strikingly sweet andsubdued. She played the role of a journalist in a Tamil filmalongside leading actor Vijay in Velayudham, which releasedduring Diwali 2011 and became biggest hit of the year 2011 among thehighest grossing Tamil films.

Future films of D'Souza include Hook Ya Crook,It's My Life (a remake of Bommarillu in Hindi), andTere Naal Love Ho Gaya.

Other work and events

A smiling DiSouza, her hair in a loose bun and long dark bangs,poses on stage in a short, blue, highly styled dress with a thicktrain.D'Souza at HDIL India Couture Week in 2009

D'Souza was a part of Tamil director Mani Ratnam's stage show,Netru, Indru, Naalai, an event which seeks to raise funds forThe Banyan, a voluntary organisation which rehabilitates homelesswomen with mental illness in Chennai. She was one ofthe judges at the grand finale of Gladrags Mega Model and Manhunt2009 contest on 28 March 2009. She also walked the rampalongside Tushar Kapoor for fashion designer Manish Malhotraat the Lakme Fashion Week 2009 on 28 March 2009. On 5 April2009, D'Souza was among several Bollywood celebrities to perform atthe Pantaloons Femina Miss India 2009 finale in Mumbai.In October 2009, she appeared as a showstopper for jewellery designerFarah Khan Ali on the second season of Housing Developmentand Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) India Couture Week, a platformcreated to celebrate India's fashion heritage by showcasing thecountry's leading couture designers. On 24 October2009, D'Souza began hosting Big Switch, a television show basedon slum kids on UTV Bindass channel to reach a biggeraudience.

She has unveiled Spinz Black Magic deodorant on 7 October 2009 inMumbai, and the Ceres Store retail outlet. At the ChennaiInternational Fashion Week (CIFW) in December 2009, she appeared as ashowstopper for designer Ishita Singh's spring-summer indigenouscollection of 2010, showcasing the best of Indian and Westerndresses. She also holds a Limca world record of deliveringfour different super hit films in four different languages, Ready(Telugu), Satya in Love (Kannada), Santosh Subramaniam(Tamil), and Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na (Hindi) in a span of onecalendar year.

She was a part of online market portal eBay's 2010 "Dream House"challenge, where she transformed an empty three-room apartment inBandra into an attractive home with online shopping. She had beenprovided a budget of INR 450000 (US$7,500) and two weeks tocreate a look she wants with items on sale on thewebsite. On the occasion of Children's Day(14 November), D'Souza auctioned a few items from the apartment. Allproceeds received from the auction was given to Aseema, aNon-governmental organization (NGO), which aims to provide educationto underprivileged children.

Popular reception

A smiling girl, her hair in a loose bun and long brownish bangs,poses on stage in a coloured outfit, holding a bookD'Souza at the eBay "Dream House" in 2010

D'Souza has been often tagged in the media as the "bubbly girl", afterportraying the role of a young energetic girl in several movies,especially Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na (2008). She appearedalongside Shahid Kapoor on the fourth episode of Tere MereBeach Mein, a celebrity chat show, hosted by Farah Khan. Thetheme of the show was "Second Innings", since both D'Souza and Kapoorhad the same history of failures initially and success later in theiracting careers. In June 2010, D'Souza was crownedas the "Brand Ambassador of the Year" at the CNBC Awaaz consumerawards, for endorsing nine brands. She is now the brandambassador of the soft drink Fanta (replacing RaniMukherjee), the chocolate Perk (replacing PreityZinta), Virgin Mobile India (along with RanbirKapoor), Fastrack watches and accessories, LGmobiles (along with John Abraham and Abhay Deol),Garnier Light fairness cream, Dabur Vatika hairoil, Margo soap, and Spinz deodorant.


In June 2010, she was the subject of a controversy, when a Tamil dailyreported that she had attended the controversial 2010 IIFA Awardsin Colombo. Several Bollywood actors and the SouthIndian film industry had boycotted the event, over the alleged killingof Tamilian civilians at the height of the conflict between theSri Lanka Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in 2009. The rumours of her visit to Colombo startedafter her friend Ritesh Deshmukh was seen at the festival in Colombo.Immediately, various Tamil groups and Kollywood associationsdemanded her films to be banned.

In 2011, a controversy broke out for her film Force, in a weddingsequence scene of herself and John Abraham. Sources claim thatthe wedding ceremony and rituals conducted were so authentic that,that they would have actually been husband and wife in reallife. Instead of a junior artiste, a real priest was calledfor the scene. Again, following the reports of Ritesh Deshmukhand D'Souza's marriage plans, the priest landed up at producerVipul Amrutlal Shah's office to register a complaint. He insistedthat the couple couldn't get married, as D'Souza has been alreadymarried to John Abraham, as all marriage rituals were observed, fromwearing a mangalsutra (a sacred thread worn by Indian women as asymbol of their marriage), to exchanging garlands, and taking theseven steps around the holy fire. Shah dismissed theclaims as a publicity stunt.

Personal life

Genelia with Ritesh Deshmukh

D'Souza is deeply religious and says that, she regularly attendsSunday Mass at St. Anne's Parish (Bandra), and whenever the family ishome, a part of their evening is reserved for saying the rosarytogether. In an interview with The Times of India, shecomments, "I keep a Novena every Wednesday at St. Michael'sChurch in Mahim." In an interview with Daily Newsand Analysis, she said that "My communication with God isconversational, [...] I'm God's favourite child; I believe that Godhas always been kind to me." Her mother tongue isKonkani. Tabloids repeatedly linked D'Souza romanticallywith Ritesh Deshmukh, ever since they starred together in theirdebut film Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. They werereportedly ready to get engaged, but Ritesh's father, thethen-Maharashtra Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh did notagree. D'Souza later denied any rumors of a relationshipwith Deshmukh, and responds that she had just friendly relations withhim. However, the couple eventually got married on 3February 2012, according to Marathi marriage traditions in aHindu wedding ceremony. She got married in aRoman Catholic ceremony in Bandra, the followingday.

Galleries of Genelia

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