Genelia is the face of the young, bubbly actress of today, a sobriquet reserved for a certain Ms Zinta not too long ago. Genelia has come a long way in the last couple of years bagging plum projects and endorsing prominent brands including one that Preity was synonymous with. If that shouldn′t make Genelia feel like she is in esteemed company, then what will? She smiles and responds, “I haven′t heard a lot of people making that comparison but yeah it would be a compliment. But to be honest I am here to be my own person and be known for what I am,” she says independently. It′sthat spirit of hers that has kept Genelia going in the years that things weren′t working for her in Bollywood and she made a name for herself down South. “I′d be lying if I say I wasn′t disappointed with the way things were going for me here,” she says honestly. “But I never looked at working in films down South as a come down or anything. I was happy that I was getting to do what I loved the most; acting. I was doing decent projects, they were doing well and I was being recognized for my work. I couldn′t have asked for a lot more really,” she says.
And then ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ happened and Genelia stormed back into Bollywood mainstream. It rarely happens that an actor gets recognized by her on screen character, like Genelia′s ‘JaaneTu’ Aditi was. “It was exciting when people would call out to me on the streets and go ‘Aditi, Aditi’,” she says. “A part of me was super thrilled,” she says candidly. The film brought about one of the most amazing changes infortune for any actor in the film industry who has already been written off. Did Genelia see the changing attitudes of people around her rather closely then? “I believe people by nature are fickle,” she says wisely. “And if that′sthe way the cookie crumbles, so be it. I am lucky in a way that I have a strong security blanket around me in my friends and family. I tend to live a closed existence with and around them, so I wasn′t really affected by what people were saying about me earlier. And they are the ones who will also keep me grounded if people are praising me to the skies. It′s good to have that balance in life,” she says.
And you′d think Genelia does need a lot of it, because she seems to be destined to be on a roller coaster in the industry for ever. Post her startling success; there has been the failure of movies like ‘Life Partner’ and ‘Chance Pe Dance’,while her forthcoming ‘It′s My Life’ with Harman Baweja and‘Hook Ya Crook’ with John Abraham have been delayed for long. How does Genelia take these upheavals in her career? “You′dthink I′ve gotten used to it by now,” she bursts out laughing. “Jokes apart, I do realize these are a part of the profession, every profession in fact. There are up days and then there are down days. You just have to face up to it and deal with it. Having said that, things haven′t been too bad, have they?” she remarks. And they certainly haven′t, we admit. “The industry went through a lean phase last year and a lot of things suffered. So there are delays in quite a few projects, and that′s the way it is. Of course, everybody would like their films to release on time and be a stupendous hit,” she adds calmly.
While Genelia has become the current flavor for makers looking for an actress to play effervescent, bubbly characters, is she limiting herself by not doing anything ultra glamorous? “I know what you are trying to say,” she says cleverly. “Idon′t mind doing glamorous stuff at all, as you put it and I have. But I need to be comfortable with what I am doing. I am quite happy wearing shorts andstuff on screen, because I can wear that at home or walk down the street of my house. I have to do things that come naturally to me otherwise it will all seem efforted, and I don′t want to get caught out with that. Also I don′t want to do things because people think I should do those things,” she says clearly. While she may have her valid reasoning for that, we′d like to know about another factor in her life that is made to be a hindrance for interested makers to approach her; her mom. “That′s utter rubbish,” Genelia snaps. “My mum is the most non interfering person on the sets you will ever meet,” she defends. “I have a team that looks after my work and all, and producers can approach me directly and they do. I don′t even know where these stories come from. And if my mom is on the sets of my movies, it′s because I like having her around me. Especially when you are on outdoors and spending time on your own after packup, it′s good to have someone with you. I don′t understand how anyone can see anything wrong with that,” she says agitatedly.
But the fact is although the going has been good in the last couple of years for Genelia it could have been even better if she′d capitalized a lot more on her success. “There will always be ifs and buts you know,” she says. “But I am very happy with the way things have gone and I have no complains. There is only so much work I can do at a time, and I do have a life beyond films as well. I have tried to be careful with the projects I choose and I would definitely take quality over quantity. I am pretty content with things now, and asking for more would be a bit greedy,” she laughs. That′s the good thing about Genelia, she has her feet firmly on the ground, and head tightly screwed on her shoulders. She didn′t get bogged down when things weren′t going her way and didn′t get carried away with her success either. And that′s probably why she′s so clear and sorted. And in this industry, that′s certainly a rarity.