Genelia Deshmukh is an Indian film actress and model. She has appeared in Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam films. After gaining wide attention in a Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, Genelia began her acting career with the box-office hit Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. She was recognized for her role in Boys the same year, and later established herself in Telugu cinema by acting in several Telugu films during 2003–2012.
Genelia 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. Having acted in several commercially successful movies in Telugu and Tamil, Genelia has established herself as one of the leading actresses of the South Indian film industry. In addition to mainstream acting, Genelia 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.
Born in Mumbai Genelia is an East Indian, a Marathi speaking Christian from North Konkan. 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 Genelia 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 Genelia, 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. Genelia studied at the Apostolic Carmel High School in Bandra and later joined St. Andrew's College in Bandra to pursue her bachelor's degree of 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 a national level football player.
Genelia 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 Genelia 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.
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 favourite 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 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.