chat She is young and vivacious, yes. Repetitive? No. Genelia defends her choice of films, says the audience would have rejected her had she become monotonous
T he scent of success is rather sweet, and Genelia can't stop smiling. Uthamaputhiran, the Tamil remake of her Telugu film Ready, is a runaway hit. “ Ready is a film that instantly comes to the mind of Telugu cineastes when they see me. It's a roaring hit in Tamil as well,” she gushes, taking time off in between shooting for a new film. “I've been working day and night in the last few days. Not just shooting, there have been photo shoots and other things to be completed. Whenever I am in Hyderabad or Chennai, I need to attend to many things,” the actor says. She isn't complaining, since the two industries have given her a number of box office hits.
As she soaks in the success of her Tamil film with Dhanush, she is gearing up for the release of Bhaskar's Orange with Ram Charan. Talking about Bhaskar, she expresses her gratitude to the man who gave her the unforgettable role of Hasini in Bommarillu. “I'm lucky to work with such good directors and get such good roles. I am always a director's actor. I know that a film is the director's baby and I completely trust them. And I've been lucky most of the time. Bhaskar saw me in a way I wouldn't have seen myself through Hasini,” she says. That said, she stresses that her role in Orange is far removed from that of Hasini. “Charan and I are two Indian-origin students studying in Australia. I am a young, naïve girl who hasn't seen much of the world. Little things mean a lot to her and love is nothing less than a fantasy for her.”
Genelia feels Australia has also become a character in the movie. “While shooting, we got to interact with a number of Indian students studying there. Some of them were doing part-time jobs on the sets. Thankfully, none of them had experienced racial discrimination and had only good experiences of the country,” says Genelia. She is all praise for Ram Charan as a co-star: “After a massive hit like Magadheera, I thought he would come with some baggage. Luckily, he was so easy to get along with.”
Seven years and 26 releases in four languages later, Genelia takes stock of the highs and lows in her career. Bubbly, chirpy and vivacious are some of the adjectives that have been used to describe Genelia. Can you imagine her in a serious role of a warrior where she doesn't smile even once? “It was a challenge for me because even as a person, I am always smiling,” laughs Genelia, while talking about acting in the Malayalam film, Urmi. “A lot of people told me I shouldn't be doing a Malayalam film at this point in my career. It's a privilege to work with Santosh Sivan and do a film so different from the regular ones. For me, it's the film, and not the language, that matters,” she emphasises.
Defending her bubbly tag, she says, “A common accusation is I do similar kinds of roles. My problem is I look very young. So I am given roles of a chirpy youngster, but the characters are so different. If the novelty had worn off, people would have stopped watching those films. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na gave me a role different from what I did in Bommarillu or Ready. And Life Partner was a different ball game altogether.” Looking back, she is happy with her performance in Katha, which fetched her the Nandi Award for Best Actress. “I felt Katha had tremendous potential even at the box office. Unfortunately, because of the political crisis at that point of time, the film took a beating and we couldn't wait further to release it. I least expected to win the award and when the announcement came, I was delighted. I got good reviews for the role too.”
On her platter are films in Tamil and Hindi at the moment — Velayudam with Vijay and the Hindi remakes of Bommarillu and Gautham Menon's Kaakha Kaakha ( Garshana). “ Kaakha Kaakha is one movie I loved watching. I am excited at the thought of doing Jothika's role in Hindi. Nishikant Kamath, who directed Mumbai Meri Jaan, will be directing this film. He is an awesome director. Like I said before, I think I am lucky to work with good directors.”
sangeetha devi dundoo