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Genelia D’Souza Biography – Indian actress and Filmfare Awardee

Genelia Deshmukh is an Indian actress and model who predominantly appears in Telugu, Hindi, and Tamil language films. After gaining wide attention in a Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, D'Souza began her acting career with the box-office hit Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003.

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Real Name: Genelia Deshmukh
Profession: Indian actress and model
Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Spouse: Riteish Deshmukh
Age: 34

Genelia Deshmukh (born 5 August 1987) is an Indian actress and model who predominantly appears in Telugu, Hindi, and Tamil language films. After gaining wide attention in a Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, D’Souza began her acting career with Tujhe Meri Kasam’s box-office hit in 2003. She was recognized for her role in Boys the same year.

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. In addition to mainstream acting, D’Souza has hosted the television show Big Switch, and has been the brand ambassador of Fanta, Virgin Mobile India, Fastrack, LG Mobiles, Garnier Light, Margo, and Perk in India.

Genelia D'Souza Biography
Genelia D’Souza Biography

She has been part of successful films, including DheeMr. Medhavi, Ready, Katha, Uthamaputhiran, Urumi,   Velayudham, and the Hindi films Masti and Force. Having acted in several commercially successful movies in Telugu and Tamil, D’Souza is described as one of the leading actresses in the South Indian film industry.

Genelia D’Souza Biography
Born 5 August 1987 (age 34)

Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Other names Genelia Deshmukh
Alma mater St. Andrew’s College
Occupation Actress
Years active 2003–present
Spouse(s)
Riteish Deshmukh (m. 2012)
Children 2
Relatives Vilasrao Deshmukh (father in law)
Amit Deshmukh (brother in law)
Dhiraj Deshmukh (brother in law)

Early life

Born in Mumbai, D’Souza is a Mangalorean Catholic. She was raised in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai. Her mother Jeanette D’Souza was a managing director of the Pharma Multinational corporation. She left her job in 2004 to help D’Souza with her career. Her father Neil D’Souza, is a senior official with Tata Consultancy Services. She also has a younger brother, Nigel D’Souza, who works with the Bombay Stock Exchange. According to D’Souza, her name means “rare” or “unique” and is a portmanteau of Jeanette and Neil, her mother and father’s names. She is also often informally referred to as Geenu, her nickname. D’Souza studied at the Apostolic Carmel High School in Bandra and later joined St. Andrew’s College in Bandra to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Management Studies. She completed her degree while shooting for her first film, Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003 and initially thought that an MNC job would suit her. She liked sports and studies in college and was a state-level athlete, sprinter, and national-level football player.

D’Souza did her first modeling assignment at the age of 15, the result of being spotted as the bridesmaid at a wedding. She was selected for the Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, just two days before her exams, and had to shoot the next day. Initially, she refused, because of her exam the next day, but the director persuaded D’Souza to shoot for the commercial. She gained wide attention from the Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, who said: “she was good, and her expressions were spontaneous”. She further did a Fair & Lovely 2003 Cricket World Cup advertisement with cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

Acting career (Genelia D’Souza Biography)

Debut and breakthrough (2003–2005)

When 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 Biography
Genelia D’Souza Biography

D’Souza’s professional movie career began, with her Bollywood debut Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. Film critic Taran Adarsh noted, “D’Souza is a wonderful performer. She catches you unaware with a performance that’s natural to the core.” The film was a box-office success. However, it could not do much to propel her career in Bollywood. Later, she decided to act in South Indian films. 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.

The turning point in South Indian films and recognition (2006–2008)

The year 2006 marked a significant turning point in D’Souza’s career. She completed two Telugu movies in early 2006, one was the romantic comedy Happy, and the other was Raam. She then portrayed the role of Haasini, a vibrant, effervescent, and happy-go-lucky young girl, in the 2006 Telugu romantic film Bommarillu. The movie, a blockbuster at the box office, grossed ₹250 million (US$3.3 million) in India, and also won the 2006 Golden Nandi award. Her character was well received, and garnered her the Telugu Filmfare Award for Best Actress, besides Nandi Special Jury Award and Santosham Award for Best Actress. Sify concluded about her acting in their review, “The scene stealer is Genelia with her innocent looks and cute mannerisms. She does not overact and we just fall in love with her character. Genelia looks like a dream in chic skirts and is the life of the party and raises the bar of the film.”

Return to Bollywood, subsequent work and success (2008–2016)

In June 2008, following a nearly five-year hiatus in Bollywood, she appeared in Mere Baap Pehle Aap, which failed to make a profit at the box office. A Rediff review noted, “besides her apparent cuteness, brings in tons of freshness and traits to the youthful characters she chooses to play”, while a Sify review criticized her stating, “Genelia is sprightly but has a standard two-three expressions bank in this film.” She later appeared in the Telugu love story Ready alongside Ram, which was well received. Her breakthrough performance in 2008 ways through the portrayal of the role of Aditi Mahant in the blockbuster Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na, was an economic success across India and overseas, grossing ₹564 million (US$7.4 million). Her role was widely admired for her sweetness, freshness, and new acting style, with Rediff, describing her acting as a “spark that has been missing in Hindi cinema for well over a decade now”. In that same year, D’Souza acted in the Telugu romantic comedy Sasirekha Parinayam. The movie received favorable reviews, and Sify noted in their review, “The life of the film is definitely Genelia and she has shown the varied emotions from innocence, sadness, romance, and anger in equal proportions without a hitch.”

Role as producer and return to acting (2018–present)

Genelia became a producer for her husband’s Marathi film Mauli, where she also appeared in a song.

Genelia will make her comeback to full-time acting after 10 years, with her Marathi film debut Vedd, which will be directed by Riteish Deshmukh. She will also appear alongside Riteish in Bhushan Kumar’s Mister Mummy and will also return to the South industry after 10 years with a Telugu-Kannada bilingual, film Production No.15.

Personal life (Genelia D’Souza Biography)

D’Souza is deeply religious and says that she regularly attends Sunday Mass at St. Anne’s Parish (Bandra), and whenever the family is home, a part of their evening is reserved for saying the rosary together. In an interview with The Times of India, she comments, “I keep a Novena every Wednesday at St. Michael’s Church in Mahim.” In an interview with Daily News and Analysis, she said that “My communication with God is conversational, […] I’m God’s favorite child; I believe that God has always been kind to me.” Tabloids repeatedly linked D’Souza romantically with Ritesh Deshmukh, ever since they starred together in their debut film Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. They were reportedly ready to get engaged, but Ritesh’s father, the then-Maharashtra Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh did not agree. D’Souza later denied any rumors of a relationship with Deshmukh and responds that she had just friendly relations with him. However, the couple eventually got married on 3 February 2012, according to Marathi marriage traditions in a Hindu wedding ceremony, they had a Christian wedding in the church on the next day. The couple’s first child, a son named Riaan, was born on 25 November 2014. Their second son, Rahyl, was born on 1 June 2016.

Genelia D’Souza with her Husband
Genelia D’Souza with her Husband

Other work and events (Genelia D’Souza Biography)

D’Souza was a part of Tamil director Mani Ratnam’s stage show, Netru, Indru, Naalai, an event that seeks to raise funds for The Banyan, a voluntary organization that rehabilitates homeless women with mental illness in Chennai. She was one of the judges at the grand finale of Gladrags Mega Model and Manhunt 2009 contest on 28 March 2009. She also walked the ramp alongside Tushar Kapoor for fashion designer Manish Malhotra at the Lakme Fashion Week 2009 on 28 March 2009. On 5 April 2009, D’Souza was among several Bollywood celebrities to perform at the Pantaloons Femina Miss India 2009 finale in Mumbai. In October 2009, she appeared as a showstopper for jewelry designer Farah Khan Ali on the second season of Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) India Couture Week. On 24 October 2009, D’Souza began hosting Big Switch, a television show based on slum kids on the UTV Bindass channel to reach a bigger audience.

She unveiled Spinz Black Magic deodorant on 7 October 2009 in Mumbai and the Ceres Store retail outlet. At the Chennai International Fashion Week (CIFW) in December 2009, she appeared as a showstopper for designer Ishita Singh’s spring-summer indigenous collection of 2010. She also holds a Limca world record of delivering four 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 one calendar year.

She was a part of the online market portal eBay’s 2010 “Dream House” challenge, where she transformed an empty three-room apartment in Bandra into an attractive home with online shopping. She had been provided a budget of ₹450,000 (US$5,900) and two weeks to create a look she wants with items on sale on the website. On the occasion of Children’s Day (14 November), D’Souza auctioned a few items from the apartment. All proceeds received from the auction were given to Aseema, a Non-governmental organization (NGO), which aims to provide education to underprivileged children.

In the media

D’Souza has been often tagged in the media as the “bubbly girl”, after portraying the role of a young energetic girl in several movies, especially Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na (2008) and Bommarillu. She appeared alongside Shahid Kapoor on the fourth episode of Tere Mere Beach Mein, a celebrity chat show, hosted by Farah Khan. The theme of the show was “Second Innings” since both D’Souza and Kapoor had the same history of failures initially and success later in their acting careers. In June 2010, D’Souza was crowned as the “Brand Ambassador of the Year” at the CNBC Awaaz consumer awards, for endorsing nine brands. She is now the brand ambassador of the soft drink Fanta (replacing Rani Mukherjee), the chocolate Perk (replacing Preity Zinta), Virgin Mobile India (along with Ranbir Kapoor), Fastrack watches and accessories, LG mobiles (along with John Abraham and Abhay Deol), Garnier Light fairness cream, Dabur Vatika hair oil, Margo soap, and Spinz deodorant.

Controversies (Genelia D’Souza Biography)

In June 2010, she was the subject of a controversy, when a Tamil daily reported that she had attended the controversial 2010 IIFA Awards in Colombo. Several Bollywood actors and the South Indian film industry had boycotted the event, over the alleged killing of Tamilian civilians at the height of the conflict between the Sri Lanka Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009. The rumors of her visit to Colombo started after her friend Ritesh Deshmukh was seen at the festival in Colombo. Immediately, various Tamil groups and Kollywood associations demanded her films be banned.

In 2011, a controversy broke out for her film Force, in a wedding sequence scene of herself and John Abraham. Sources claim that the wedding ceremony and rituals conducted were so authentic that they would have actually been husband and wife in real life. Instead of a junior artiste, a real priest was called for the scene. Again, following the reports of Ritesh Deshmukh and D’Souza’s marriage plans, the priest landed up at producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah’s office to register a complaint. He insisted that the couple couldn’t get married, as D’Souza has been already married to John Abraham, as all marriage rituals were observed, from wearing a mangalsutra (a sacred thread is worn by Indian women as a symbol of their marriage) to exchanging garlands, and taking the seven steps around the holy fire. Shah dismissed the claims as a publicity stunt.

Filmography (Genelia D’Souza Biography)

As actor

Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Language Notes
2003 Tujhe Meri Kasam Anjali “Anju” Hindi Film debut
Boys Harini Tamil Credited as Harini, Tamil film debut
Satyam Ankitha Telugu Telugu film debut
2004 Masti Bindhiya Hindi
Samba Sandhya Telugu
Sye Indu Telugu
2005 Naa Alludu Gagana Telugu
Sachein Shalini Tamil
Subhash Chandra Bose Anitha Telugu
2006 Happy Madhumathi Telugu
Raam Lakshmi Telugu
Bommarillu Hasini Rao Telugu
Chennai Kadhal Narmadha Tamil
2007 Dhee Puja Telugu
2008 Mr. Medhavi Swetha Telugu
Satya in Love Veda Kannada Kannada film debut
Santosh Subramaniam Hasini Govindan Tamil
Mere Baap Pehle Aap Shikha Kapur Hindi
Ready Puja Telugu
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na Aditi “Meow” Mahant Hindi
King Herself Telugu Cameo appearance
2009 Sasirekha Parinayam Sasirekha Telugu
Life Partner Sanjana Jugran Hindi
Katha Chitra Singh Telugu
2010 Chance Pe Dance Tina Sharma Hindi
Uthamaputhiran Pooja Tamil
Orange Jaanu Telugu
2011 Urumi Arakkal Ayesha Malayalam Malayalam film debut
Force Maya Hindi
Velayudham Bharathi Tamil
2012 Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya Mini Hindi
Naa Ishtam Krishnaveni Telugu
2014 Jai Ho Suman Hindi Cameo appearance
Lai Bhaari Herself Marathi Cameo appearance
2016 Force 2 Maya Hindi Cameo appearance
2018 Mauli Herself Marathi Producer; cameo appearance
2020 It’s My Life Muskaan Hindi
2022 VeddFilms that have not yet been released TBA Marathi Marathi film debut; Completed
Mister MummyFilms that have not yet been released TBA Hindi Filming
TBA Production No.15 TBA Telugu-Kannada bilingual Filming

As producer

Year Film Language Notes
2018 Mauli Marathi Producer; cameo appearance

Awards and nominations (Genelia D’Souza Biography)

List of Acting Awards and Nominations
Year Film Award Category Result
2003 Satyam CineMAA Awards CineMAA Award for Best Female Debut Won
2006 Bommarillu Filmfare Award Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu Won
2006 Nandi Awards Nandi Special Jury Award Won
2007 Dhee Filmfare Award Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu Nominated
2009 Katha Nandi Awards Nandi Special Jury Award Won
2012 Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya BIG Star Entertainment Awards Big Star Award Most Entertaining Actor in a Comedy — Female Nominated

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