Genelia reveals the secrets of the sets during the shooting of Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na and why she believes that Imran is already a hit.
The promos of Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na are fabulous and you have never looked so good before. So what's the secret with the new glowing look?
I am not too sure. Nothing in particular.
With just a week to go before Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na hits theatres, what's the feeling like?
Well, I am very anxious and looking forward to the release. I look at this film as a big opportunity. I hope that people appreciate the film and my work.
It's a perfectly young film about youngsters. The film talks about friendship, love, first crush and literally takes you back to your college days
The promos of the film show it as a sugar sweet romantic flick. Could you tell us a little more about the film?
It's a perfectly young film about youngsters. It's not just a romantic film, though romance forms an integral part of the film. It's also about friendship and the friends play a very important part in the film. The film talks about friendship, love, first crushes and literally takes you back to your college days
I may not be wrong in saying that no other song has probably popularized a character as much as Kabhi Kabhi Aditi has. So what is Aditi like in the film?
Aditi is a brat. She is an extremist. She would laugh out loud and howl and scream and cry. And for her, Jai (Imran) means everything; if someone messes around with Jai then she abuses them with the choicest of expletives. But overall, Aditi is full of life and complete fun to be with.
How much are you like Aditi? Did you identify with the character?
Very much, except for the fact that I don't abuse like Aditi. I could relate to Aditi as she is very much like how I was during my college days. If I like someone be it a friend or anyone else, then I would go all out for that person even to the extent of being possessive about him/her. So yes, I am very much like Aditi though I feel I have mellowed down a bit now.
Imran is shown as a darpok and you are shown as completely bindaas, quite contrary to people's expectations. What's the rationale behind that?
Actually, he is not a darpok. It's Aditi who keeps calling him a darpok. If there is a fight, Jai wouldn't react to it, on the other hand Aditi loves to go out and have a fight and punch the living daylights out of that guy. So you can say Jai is a sane kid and Aditi is a complete psycho.
In the film, you call yourself Meow and him (Imran) Rats. What's with the nicknames?
Imran's name is Jai Singh Rathore so that's why 'rats'. I am Aditi Mahang and I love cats so that's how 'meow'. Moreover, since she feels he is a darpok, she calls him 'rats'. Also, it's only Aditi who has the right and privilege of addressing Jai by the name rats. Aditi on the other hand is like this cat which will scratch anyone who takes messes with her or Jai.
In real life do you have a pet name?
They call me Geenu. My name Genelia is a combination of my mom and dad's name (Jeaneate and Neil). I keep asking my mom what Genelia means and she says it means rare or unique so I think that's what it means.
You worked with Riteish in his first film Tujhe Meri Kasam and now are working with another newcomer Imran. Riteish has gone on to become a big star today. Do you think the Genelia effect will rub off on Imran too?
Now that's something which I didn't think about. To be frank, I don't have a say in Riteish becoming a star today. I just hope Jaane Tu works. I hope it works for Imran's sake. I really hope he becomes the next big thing. In fact, all my girl friends have already gone crazy after Imran, so I am pretty sure many more girls will fall for him after seeing the film.
Imran and you are shown as 'best buddies' in the film. So was it the same off-screen too?
Strangely from the day we met, we hit it off. We even screen tested together. We were super comfortable with each other from the first day itself. In fact, I was whacking him right from the first day. It was just like how Aditi and Jai are in the film.
What's the one thing that annoys you the most about Imran?
His euphemism jokes which only he and Abbas understand most of the time.
Jaane Tu… has a host of other character artists. Who is your favorite and why?
I really like Imran's character. Besides that there is Shaleen's character played by Sugandha whom I was really close with. Jaane Tu is cast so perfectly because Shaleen is the next best friend to Aditi after Jai and even off screen Imran and Sugandha were my best buddies.
The initial promos gave an impression of a love story but now it seems like a love triangle with Manjari also in the frame. Is that the case?
I am not telling you that, you will have to watch it for yourselves. But Manjari has a pivotal role in the film.
This is Abbas Tyrewala's first film as a director. How was the experience to work with him. He had said in an interview that he is no less of a perfectionist than Aamir. Is it true?
Abbas is a perfectionist but he is not a taskmaster. Abbas was more of a friend on the sets. That's his biggest plus point. We didn't have a generation gap with Abbas, generally a director is put on a pedestal but with Abbas, he was like one amongst us. We had workshops in Panchgani which was great fun and we chatted a lot. Abbas has this unique knack of restricting you as an actor but when he tells you something you will do exactly the way he wants it. In fact when I look back, I am simply amazed by his clarity of thought. He is a fantastic actor and storyteller and hence he is such a brilliant director.
Did you get any chance to interact with Aamir Khan? How was the experience?
I am one of the lucky few who got a chance to interact with Aamir because Aamir was never on the sets. I met Aamir before I was signed on. My first meeting was with Aamir, Kiran Rao and Abbas. Abbas was skeptical about me because he was insisting on casting a newcomer for the role of Aditi. It was Aamir who said that 'she is perfect for the role. And when someone fits the character so well, one shouldn't really worry if it's a newcomer or a known face'. I am so glad that I managed to convince them.
The film has some really peppy songs and some soulful numbers by AR Rahman. Which one is your personal favorite and why?
Definitely Kabhi Kabhi Aditi. I was really upset that I had to be sad and mournful during the whole shooting of the Aditi song. I was telling Abbas 'you can't do this to me'. This is punishment. The moment he called cut. I was jumping and dancing. It is very difficult to keep a sullen face and shoot for a song like Aditi.
Did you ever expect that the song would go on to become such a rage?
Yes, because when you are shooting, you usually get bored of a song after repeatedly hearing it. With Aditi it was not the case and even after pack up we would listen to the song and all the technicians and crew would dance to the song. That's when I realized we had a hit song.
Since you were all a bunch of youngsters, shooting must have been like one big picnic. Any interesting incidents which took place during the shoot.
Imran likes to tell everyone that he was my spot boy but that isn't true. When we were shooting outside, I had to wash my hair and Imran helped me wash my hair, He actually carried the water cans so that I could wash my hair with that water. Ever since then he keeps fooling around saying that he is my spot boy.
Was Imran given any special treatment considering he was working in his home production? Were you bothered that you would be over-shadowed by all the hype surrounding his launch?
Imran was one of us. He didn't receive any special treatment and as for your second question, I don't know why anyone would be bothered. I am sure the rest of the world wants to know who Imran Khan is more than who Genelia is but that's because it's his debut film and the fact that it's an Aamir Khan Production.
Initially, there would be more attention towards Imran but I am glad because all I want at the end of the day is my film to work. Having no backbone in this industry, this is probably the best way for me to get noticed.
Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na is releasing with yet another biggie Love Story 2050 which marks Harman Baweja's debut. Do you think the clash could have been avoided?
I don't know about it. I am working with Harman in one of my future films. He is a fantastic actor and a wonderful co-star. I wonder if he has a spring in his body. His body keeps moving in all possible directions. Since Imran and Harman are both my co-stars, I am hoping the best for both our films because as much as Imran is a co-star, even Harman is a co-star.
What else do you have in the pipeline after Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na?
I have Anees Bazmee's film alongside Harman Baweja. It's the role of a lifetime. The film is a remake of two of my very successful films from down south. Though the film looks simple on screen it has been a real task shooting, I am there in every frame of the film even though the film is about a father and son relationship (Nana Patekar and Harman). Besides that I am doing Abbas- Mustan's Life Partner directed by Rumi Jaffrey but it is too early to talk about it now.
Finally what makes Jaane Tu… different from the countless romantic-comedies which we have seen so far?
I honestly believe that a love story does not have to be different. It just has to be relatable. whenever my younger brother sees a promo of Jaane Tu he says 'damn, this is so much like how I and my friends hang out'. I am sure if all the youngsters feel the same, we have pretty much struck a chord.
On a closing note is Genelia in love?
Right now I would like to say, I am only in love with my work and my dogs.