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"I hadn't even met Shahid before CPD" - Genelia D'Souza

By: By: Joginder Tuteja,<a href="http://bollywoodhungama.com/" target="_blank">Bollywood Hungama</a>
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Genelia D'Souza is all set for an eventful 2010 with Chance Pe Dance, It's My Life and Hook Ya Crook lined up in quick succession. This is not all as her South career is continuing to flourish as well with at least a couple of movies in Tamil and Telugu in the wings. With a good enough success rate behind her in recent times with Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Naa turning out to be a super hit and Life Partner making money as well, Genelia has managed to sail smooth. On the eve of the film's release, she talks to us about audience expectations from her post Jaane Tu..., the 'chanced' and the 'dance' element in Chance Pe Dance and the Jiah Khan controversy.

So Genelia, is Chance Pe Dance one film where you get to look good as well as emote to a reasonable extent?
(Says after a brief pause) I won't say that there aren't any serious moments in Chance Pe Dance. In fact there are times when you stop smiling for a while and reflect upon what's happening in the lives of the protagonists. There is a definite story running in the background and though there is comedy for sure, it is situational rather than slapstick. There are some tender scenes which are heart-warming as you start relating to the characters played by Shahid and me.

With 'chance' already making it's presence felt, is it the 'dance' element that takes centre stage from here on?
(Laughs) Nahi nahi, the film is more about chance than dance. It's this one chance that Shahid gets and he goes all out to ensure that he makes best use of it. Dance just remains as a peripheral element. If you remember his Ishq Vishk, you would recollect that there were all kinds of moments in the film, whether happy, emotional, comic or heart warming. It's a similar combination with a different setup and storyline that we get to see here. Overall, Chance Pe Dance is a very 'Ken film'.

Errr... a Ken film? Now what's that?
I will explain. See, Ken is very good with his characters. An actor may be playing a second lead or a supporting role but still he/she would be remembered after the film is over. Say for example Shenaz (Treasurywala) in Ishq Vishk. Now she was really loved in spite of playing the character of someone due to whom Shahid moves away from Amrita (Rao). Still, no one really hated her in the film. Or for that matter Vishal who played the role of Mambo in the same film. I still remember him from the film. You know, when Ken narrates a scene to you, you enjoy it first hand and grasp it there and then. He creates those nice little sweet moments that remain etched in your heart.

Needless to say, one can expect such 'nice little sweet' moments in Chance Pe Dance too?
Yes, you can. After all it brings back the oft told belief that behind every successful man is a woman (laughs). Just kidding. I do have a very significant role in the film even though Chance Pe Dance is rightly being projected to be the story of this lead character who is an aspiring actor and goes through various phases without getting much success during his struggle period. As his girlfriend, I am there with him in his lows and highs and share his moments of sorrow or euphoria. I am indeed the driving factor in his life.

While one looks forward to how much do audience see the two of you together, one fact which cannot be denied is that it's a welcome relief to see a fresh new 'jodi' in the form of Shahid and Genelia.
Yeeeeaay, now that's so encouraging. And to think of it, let aside shooting with him, I hadn't even met Shahid before Chance Pe Dance. However, the moment promos of the film came on air first, there were hundreds of tweets that I got which stated how people were really enjoying our pairing. I guess there is this innocence factor which worked in our favour

Well, on a different note, it wasn't really an innocent outing last year when your Life Partner released. There were quite a few detractors who come out in open and commented on your act. Many believed that not just did you go over the top in your portrayal of a rich arrogant girl but also lost the reputation of a sweet and simple girl that you had gained from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa days.
Aah, now I take it all as a backhanded compliment (smiles) that's because I was required to be that high headed, loud and a spoilt brat. I guess it was quite a thin rope to walk while never loosing that lovey-dovey side of my persona. This is why I take whatever criticism which came my way quite positively.

But since you were shrieking and throwing tantrums at every given juncture, many filmgoers complained that your character got on their nerves.
Which means mission accomplished! I had to make audiences feel miserable for Fardeen and empathise with him. If I got on their nerves then it means the character worked. That was always the intent. I had to stay true to the character and bring to life Sanjana who was just so unreasonable and knew nothing, whether it was art or house-hold affairs. This is why she continued to make all these false attempts at singing, painting, cooking etc.

Coming back to Chance Pe Dance, the fact is that the film is clearly being sold as a Shahid Kapoor starrer. Given the fact that you had made a definite place for yourself after Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Naa where you had a role equal to that of Imran Khan, don't you crave for more author backed characters? Are you willing to be a good looking arm candy?
Let's be practical, one can't expect every second movie to be Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Naa. What should be of utmost importance is that everyone remembers the character that I play. Just now you mentioned about my presence in Life Partner. Now that was a multi starrer with five principal protagonists, but still we are talking about Sanjana, right? I have to make a place in the film and give my best there. One can't expect to reach the highest level in each of the outings though I hope and believe that one day, the benchmark set by Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Naa will also be crossed

Meanwhile, even as the film's release is round the corner, what's your take on the entire controversy around Jiah Khan being dropped and you being roped in instead?
Let's not say that I replaced Jiah because that's not the fact. Main nahi karti toh koyi aur yeh role karta. It wasn't like after looking at me, the makers suddenly had a change in heart and asked Jiah to leave. In fact she was already out and the role was open for any other actor. The makers were hunting for a leading lady and they felt I suited the character. It's as simple as that.

Now that Chance Pe Dance is carrying positive vibes, you must be utterly confident about 2010 beginning on a hit note for you?
I am a firm believer in destiny. People come and tell me that Chance Pe Dance is looking good and it's a definite hit in the offering. But really, I take it all with a pinch of salt. Of course while you are working in a film, you know the direction it is headed towards. Still, you can never be too sure. Success as well as failure are pre-written. If a film sails through then great but if it doesn't then one cannot be blaming anyone. This is why when I sign a film; I pick a subject thinking if it will make me happy as an actor. I don't work for hits of flops.

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