This lady has been named as a part of a UN campaign which promotes the equality of the LGBTQ community. First, she is a renowned actress, then a mother along with being a social activist and finally the title of a singer is added to her life journey. Yes, we are talking about the glam girl of B-Town, Celina Jaitley. Recently her comeback short film “Season Greetings: A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh” released in zee5. Celina steals the spotlight with her impressive performance. This film can be easily considered to be the best film of her career. Celina aka Romita will beyond any doubt surprise and stunned you all. In a quick chat with Expresso, she shares her journey, her character in Season Greetings, her social activism, her love with the LGBTQ community and lots more.
Expresso: Why you take a long break from the silver screen?
Celina: I have been working since the age of 16 nonstop. I wanted to give my personal life priority, wanted to enjoy every season of life, specifically the season of babyhood of my twins. However, just as I prepared to look at the cinema again I lost both my parents tragically. It took me a while to get out of the shock. Seasons Greetings and working with Ram played a very important role in getting my emotions on track again.
Expresso: Why you choose a short film for your comeback?
Celina: It is the content which really excited me, and working with someone like Ram Kamal whom I so dearly know was the icing on the cake.
Expresso: Describe your character in “Season’s greetings”? What does “Season greetings” mean to you?
Celina: I would say my character is like a typical Kolkata summer, hot and emotionally charged. Romita is a high-flying corporate whiz who lives in with her boyfriend in another country. She is liberated, romantic and has an unusual relationship with her mother.
Expresso: Was it fun working with Ram Kamal Mukherjee?
Celina: Ram is not only a friend but an amazing, intelligent and insightful person. I learnt a lot from him and am very thankful for all that I have learnt.
Expresso: Bollywood appoints first intimacy supervisor after the #metoo movement, how do you describe it?
Celina: Surreal, oddly comforting and liberating.
Expresso: How and why has Celina Jaitly become the patron saint of the LGBTQ community?
Celina: I didn’t happen to the LGBTQ community, they happened to me, changed my life for better and helped me be a part of one of the biggest human rights movement in India. I wouldn’t call myself a patron saint but definitely, a servant to Gods will for justice for all.
Expresso: What makes you join the UN? Were you a social activist by heart and mind before joining the UN?
Celina: UN followed my work with the LGBTQ equal-rights movement for over 8 years and approached me to become a human rights ambassador for their Free and equal campaign to combat discrimination against LGBTQ on all levels. It has been an amazing journey working with fascinating teams of people across the world. Yes, I am an activist at heart… I believe in the right to life for everyone.
Expresso: First Actress, then wife, then mother along with being a social activist. And now, a singer phrase is added to your life. How come this addition happened?
Celina: I want to exploit all my potentials and talents specifically for a good cause. Ace singer and ace music director Neeraj Shree Dhar is the person who constantly encouraged me to take up and pursue singing. I finally jumped into it more specifically since it was for a single for a United Nations campaign.
Expresso: What support did you get from B-Town regarding LGBTQ activism?
Celina: None, except from Subhash Ghai and Imran Khan.
Expresso: Are you planning/thought to portray a homosexual character onscreen?
Celina : Long overdue, awaiting a magical script and character free of all homosexual stereotypes.
Expresso: Did you face any challenges to join LGBTQ activism?
Celina: Many, from people doubting my own identity to people avoiding continuing work or friendship with me. Every journey has its ups and down. Who said striving for what is right would be an easy journey.
Expresso: If not an actress what you would be?
Celina: I would be a diplomat…
Expresso: What is your dream role?
Celina: A war movie with a central female character…
Expresso: The most important life lesson you have learnt with the time?
Celina: One of the big lessons I have learned from my journey is you can’t please everyone, so don’t try
Expresso: Describe yourself in a hashtag?
Celina : #seasonsgreetings
Interview By Rituparna Sengupta Basu