Actress Genelia D'Souza celebrates her 30th birthday on Saturday, August 5. Riteish Deshmukh's baiko (wife) started her acting career in 2003 and since then, there has been no stopping.
Apart from being a big star in Bollywood, Genelia also cemented her position in South Indian film industry. She is most popular for her role as Aditi in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Now, she is married to Riteish Deshmukh and is a mother of two sons – Riaan and Rahyl.
Here are some lesser-known facts about the bubbly actress.
Genelia had revealed that her name is a portmanteau of her parents' name – Jeanette and Neil D'Souza. At home, she is fondly called by her nickname, Geenu.
First acting assignment
Genelia made her acting debut in a commercial when she was 15. She got her first acting offer after she was spotted as the bridesmaid at a wedding. She shared screen space with actor Amitabh Bachchan for a Parker pen commercial. Interestingly, just a day after shooting for the commercial, Genelia had to give her exams.
Her first movie break
After impressing several filmmakers with her commercial, Genelia made her movie debut in 2003 with Tujhe Meri Kasam opposite Riteish Deshmukh. She has signed three films at the same time in three different languages – Tujhe Meri Kasam in Hindi, Boys in Tamil, and Satyam in Telugu.
Her first Filmfare award
Genelia made her movie debut with a Bollywood film, but she won her first Filmfare Award for a Telugu film. In 2006, she won Telugu Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her role in Bommarillu, also starring Siddharth. She also won Nandi Special Jury Award and Santosham Award for Best Actress for the movie.
A formidable sportswoman
Before becoming an actress, she was a state-level athlete and national-level football player. "People often ask how a Management student and a sports person like me leads the hectic life of an actress. But, sports helps me manage my schedules in Hindi and South film industries by keeping my stamina levels high," the actress told Press Trust of India in an interview.
"Despite being actively into sports, I did not pursue it as a profession. I did not actually choose any career, it chose me," she added.
God's favourite child
Genelia is a religious person and considers herself as a God's favourite child. "My communication with God is conversational," she told DNA in 2009. "I'm God's favourite child; I believe that God has always been kind to me."