Riteish Deshmukh is in rewind mode. The actor marked the release of his debut film Tujhe Meri Kasam which hit screens on this date in 2003. It had also been leading lady Genelia D’Souza’s first film – and the couple had gone on to fall hopelessly in love. Riteish took to Instagram to share the film’s poster, writing, “3rd Jan 2003: 15 years ago #TujheMeriKasam released. Debut film: Life changed. Architect became an actor. Costar @geneliad become my baiko. #15YearsOfTujheMeriKasam.”

He also thanked his director for the opportunity, all those years ago. “Sincere thanks to director Vijaya Bhaskar Ji – I love you sir, producer Shri Ramoji Rao Sir. Respect. Cinematographer Kabir Lal Sir, who recommended me.”

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While the film went under at the box office, it sparked off a romance that is still going strong between its lead pair. Riteish shared another picture from the film, writing, “@geneliad didn’t speak to me for the first two days during the shoot of the film because my father was the Chief Minister on Maharashtra then. #15YearsOfTujheMeriKasam.”

Her standoffishness had showed back in 2002, when it was time for the test shoot. A 16-year-old Genelia, full of inhibitions, had arrived at Hyderabad airport with her mother to meet her would-be hero. The 24-year-old lad hailed from an influential family of Maharashtra, the son of the then Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh.

The meeting did not go well. Presuming Riteish would be a spoilt brat, Genelia decided to give him attitude before he did! So imagine poor Riteish’s shock, when his to-be heroine shook hands with him and promptly started looking in a different direction! “The first thing Genelia asked me was, ‘Where is your security?’ I replied, ‘I don’t have any,’” he shared.

Of course, she was soon smitten by his humble, polite and friendly personality. Before long they were friends, chatting about architecture (Riteish is a professional architect) and exams (Genelia was in college at the time). Friendship slowly turned to love; they were in no rush to hurry it. Nine years of dating, during which they never spoke about their relationship, and they finally tied the knot on February 3, 2012.

Fifteen years and two darling boys later, they are still smitten.