'I was known as Meow for the longest time'
Bubbly actress Genelia D'Souza is back to make her presence felt in Bollywood after having a string of hits in four languages in a single year -- Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na (Hindi), Sathya In Love (Kannada), Santosh Subramaniyam (Tamil) and Ready (Telugu).
She has also become the face of television commercials like Fanta and Perk.
As she looks forward to her forthcoming comedy film, Life Partner, she tells Rajul Hegde what to expect:
What is Life Partner about?
Life Partner is about two couples and their take on marriage, love and life. It is an interesting story about how couples face the initial glitches of being married and their journey from there.
What is your own take on marriage?
I have no take on marriage. I really have no clue as to what I am going to do [laughs].
At some point of time, I definitely want to get married. For me, what is important in a partner, is the fact that I can just be me and always communicate. And I don't ever have to change my lifestyle.
Image: Genelia D'Souza
'I loved playing Sanjana. It was quite a break from the typical goody-goody girl'
Can you talk about your character in Life Partner?
I play Sanjana who is absolutely unlike me. I play a rich, untalented girl, who changes her profession every six months and thinks that she is the best. She loves partying and her life revolves around her father and boyfriend, Karan (Fardeen Khan). She believes that she can remain a girlfriend even after marriage. She doesn't get the funda of why a woman has to be 'wife' after marriage. She enjoys the fact that she is still a girlfriend.
You are completely unlike your character Sanjana. How did you relate to the character?
I had a fabulous time playing her because right from the way I walk to the way I think is totally different. I did not relate to it but I loved playing her. It was quite a break from the typical goody-goody girl.
Image: Genelia and Fardeen Khan
'Fardeen and I have good chemistry'
It was a proper bound script so I knew exactly what was happening in it and my role. It was challenging but what is life without a challenge, right? It's not like I have only five-10 scenes. For that matter, Jaane Tu was as much as story about friends as it was about Aditi and Jai.
This film is primarily about two couples, Sanjana-Karan and Prachi-Bhavesh and how Govinda plays kabab mein haddi.
How was it working with Govinda, Fardeen Khan and Tusshar Kapoor?
It was overwhelming but I got along famously with them. Fardeen and I have good chemistry and it was brilliant working with him. It was a blast working with Tusshar and Govinda too. Govinda is a brilliant dancer and I would be more aware when he was there on the set. I was like, I will not get to see this again. I'm a fan.
And Prachi Desai?
I heard things like two girls don't get along but that is not true. That is what I was telling Prachi -- that we shouldn't have got along. We would have had more stories about us. We really gelled well. We never had any issues with each other's costumes.
Image: Genelia and Fardeen Khan
'I enjoy having the madness to my character'
You're back after a box office hit. Your co-actors Fardeen and Tusshar have not enjoyed great success at the box office. Did that matter to you?
Not at all. I liked the script and went ahead.
Do you look at banner, director or a script when you sign a film?
It's like a whole meal -- you have to consider everything. Script is the first factor. I don't think I will blindly do it only for just an actor or a director. Of course, I should have a comfort level with the director/producer I work with.
How is life post Janue tu? Are you still in touch with Imran Khan?
It's brilliant when people recognise me and call me Aditi. I was known as Meow for the longest time. Now it Kuke since the promos of Life Partner went on air. I am wondering which will be the next animal.
Imran and I are very busy with our work. We chat up for a while whenever we meet at award functions. Imran is a private person probably that is the reason why there are unnecessary stories come up.
Are you still friends?
Are you trying your hand at comedy with Masti, Mere Baap Pehle Aap and now Life Partner?
This is not a classical comedy that makes faces. This is situational comedy that is more exciting for me. I don't know how I would look or act when I do hardcore slapstick comedy.
I would want to be able to do all roles across all genres. I am happy with the different kind of roles being offered to me in Hindi and South films. I really don't know my strengths and weakness because I am still in the process of learning them. But I enjoy having the madness to my character.
'I am not going to stop meeting Ritesh Deshmukh'
How do you look at competition?
I think being competitive is wonderful as long as you are competing with yourself only. I would want to get better with each performance. If I think about other actors, I am never going to be able to concentrate on my work.
Have you been approached for Sanjay Gadhvi's next Seven Days In Paris opposite Imran Khan?
No. In fact I was out of town when this whole thing sprung up. I was unreachable, as I was shooting in a no network area. I didn't even have time to clarify what was reported.
After success of Jaane Tu, are you nervous of the high expectations expected from you?
I would be lying if I said that I was not. Yes, I am nervous. But I believe it is also a driving force when you are slightly nervous and unsure when you don't know you report card well enough .It makes it more exciting.
So many rumours linking you to Ritesh Deshmukh. How do you handle rumours and linkups?
I don't handle anything anymore. I have been very clear and I don't know why it is not heard. Ritesh is my first co-star and we are good friends. If people get confused between friendship and relationship, I can't help it. I don't think I have to clarify or have anything more to say. Just because of speculation, I am not going to stop meeting him.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
'I enjoy doing films in all languages'
Not really. I have always kept it as Genelia but suddenly somehow it has become a big deal. I don't mind whether it's Genelia or Genelia D'Souza. I call myself only Genelia.
Will you concentrate your career in Bollywood, or will you do south films just as often?
I enjoy doing films in all languages. I will concentrate on a film that I am excited about. I am doing one south film and have completed one recently.
I have Yahoo with Shahid Kapoor, David Dhawan's Hook Ya Crook opposite John Abraham and Shreyas Talpade, and It's My Life with Hurman Baweja.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar