Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D'Souza met on the sets of their first film, Tujhe Meri Kasam (2003), and fell in love. Eight years later, the actor confesses his feelings for the first time and confirms their wedding in 2012. In a world where one's relationship status changes as often as the weather, it is heartening to see a couple that has lasted beyond the seven-year-itch. Here Riteish talks about their journey from "I love you" to "I do". Read on.
Marriage on your mind? Tell all.
(Sheepishly) Yes, Genelia and I are getting married next year. We haven't fixed the date yet, but it will be early 2012. We are working on the details.
You've been together since 2003. For seven years you've kept your relationship shielded. Why?
I've always been a very private person and wasn't comfortable talking about it. I am not accustomed to the limelight. I have respect for actors in relationships who talk about it and give it the dignity it deserves. But I think in our own way we've been really dignified in our decision to not discuss it in public.
Did not talking about it have to do with you coming from a political family?
No, more than that it had to do with the fact that we are both from non-filmi families. There was some hestitation because... (trails off). I think second generation actors handle this better. They are more accustomed to dealing with such things as they come from film families and are used to growing up in the limelight. Both of us didn't know how to deal with the focus on our personal lives, so we agreed to keep it private.
Did your respective families know?
Yes, our families knew we would get married someday. Right from the beginning we've had their blessings, but they left it to us to decide when we wanted to announce the decision.
Will it be a double marriage? Your brother Deeraj too is getting married in February.
I don't think so. We still haven't set a date.
Why is Genelia the one?
I don't know what to say. I think we grew up together. We learnt about life, love and work together. It was gradual. It wasn't overnight. We were friends and the bond just grew and became stronger. I just felt that she was the one. I'm too much in love with her. That's it.
After 2004's Masti you are acting together in 2012. Why such a long gap?
It wasn't as if we were not offered films together, but we were not happy with them. Also we had to be part of an ensemble cast, and we didn't want to dilute our pairing. It had to be a special film. Since she was doing films in the South and I was busy here, we both decided the film had to be worth it.
You're now working together after seven years. What's changed?
Earlier, we worked together as friends and we were both new to the industry. Now there is respect for each other as actors. And it's fun.
Will Genelia continue to act in films after the wedding?
That is entirely here decision. I will be happy with whatever she decides to do.