chat She is young and vivacious, yes. Repetitive? No. Genelia defends her choice of films, says the audience would have rejected her if she had become monotonous. sangeetha devi dundoo listens in
T he scent of success is sweet and Genelia is smiling. Uttama Puthiran, the Tamil remake of her Telugu film Ready is a runaway hit. “ Ready is a film that Telugu film lovers immediately recall when they see me. It's a roaring hit in Tamil as well,” she gushes, speaking in the early hours of morning, in between shooting for a new film. “I've been working day and night. Not just shooting, there have been photo shoots and other things I need to complete. Whenever I am in Hyderabad or Chennai, there are loads of things that need my attention,” she 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. Talk about Bhaskar and she expresses how she is filled with gratitude to the man who gave her the role of Hasini in Bommarillu. “I've been lucky to have worked with such good directors. I am a director's actress. A film is a director's baby and I completely trust them. I've been lucky 90 per cent of the times. 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 the world. Little things mean a lot to her and love is nothing less than a fantasy.”
She feels Australia also becomes a character in the movie. “While shooting, we interacted 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,” 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. But 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 of her career. Bubbly, chirpy and vivacious are some of the adjectives that have been used and overused to describe Genelia. Would 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, talking about the Malayalam film, Urmi. “It's a privilege to work with Santhosh Sivan and do a film so different from the regular genres. For me, it's the film and not the language that matters,” she emphasises.
Defending her bubbly tag, she says, “My problem is I look very young. So I am given roles of a chirpy youngster but the characters are different. If the novelty had worn out, people would have stopped watching those films.”
Looking back, she is happy with her performance in Katha, which fetched her Nandi Award for Best Actress. “ Katha had tremendous potential even in the box office. Unfortunately, because of the political crisis at that point of time, the film took a beating and we couldn't delay the release further. I least expected to win a Nandi and when the announcement came, I was delighted. I got good reviews too.”
On her platter are films in Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam at the moment — Velayudam with Vijay, Hindi remakes of Bommarillu and Gautham Menon's Kaakha Kaakha ( Garshana). “ Kaakha Kaakha is one of my favourite films and 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.”