Celina Jaitly, the former Miss India who walked straight into the hearts of the moviegoers with her debut film Janasheen, is basking in the success of her comeback film, Season’s Greetings. The actor returned to films to fulfil her mother’s last wish who wanted her daughter to revive her career in acting. The mother of three, however, makes it clear that she didn’t distance herself from cinema to settle down in a far off land but it was her inability to convince filmmakers to offer her meaningful work.
Celina stays with her husband and three sons in Austria.
You recently made a successful comeback to acting, are you here to stay?
You can take out the actor from cinema but you cannot take out the cinema from the actor. I had taken a purposeful break from cinema because of reasons best known to me and this had nothing to do with the fact that I got married. I was just tired and exhausted of how difficult it kept getting for an outsider to continuously strive to find the roles which celebrate the actor within. Having to constantly prove myself, I just got fed up of trying to please everyone and reached a point where I said ‘okay gotta take a break’, do some other things in life, recharge batteries and then whenever I’m ready, I will come back again.
When my mom passed away last year, that’s when I decided to come back to cinema because it was one of her last wishes that I return to acting.
Are you getting offers post the success of your comeback film?
I’m very much capable of getting my own projects together. Luckily, we don’t live in an age where we have to sit in the house and wait for offers come our way. I always choose to work on my own terms and conditions, and will continue doing it. I am here to stay but to do roles which justify my talent as an actor. Everybody who saw Season’s Greetings could not believe that was me because I never got an opportunity to work in a film like that no matter how much I tried to convince people.
You made it big as an actor in commercial entertainers and Season’s Greetings was totally different from your previous work. Are you open to taking up those roles again or will you be more selective now?
I think the time is gone when we were calling them commercial or non-commercial cinema, especially with the OTT platforms coming in. I think we’re way beyond that today. Now it doesn’t matter how big or small a film is, all that matters is good content. Have I done a good content film? Yes I have. Have it received phenomenal response and positive reviews? Yes, we have won our first award at a very big international film festival in US. I think we are a little bit past that era but definitely, I’m going to do good work whether that happens in a so called commercial or non-commercial project, that doesn’t matter to me.
Are you planning a new project?
I don’t want to work like I used to – be busy round the year, flying from one country to another. I want to do projects like Season’s Greetings, which touch people’s hearts and minds, which are all about moving forward, which are positive. I am working on a couple of projects but you will hear about them hopefully once the lockdown is over.
How did the lockdown treat you?
We had the longest lockdown because of Italian borders close by. Italy was hit the hardest and we went into a lockdown in the beginning of March. We are very blessed to be living higher on the Alpine mountains so it was much easier because you can step out and social distancing is a reality as everybody stays very far away from each other. That was an advantage as we were surrounded by nature.
How is life as the mother of three boys?
I never imagined that I will be promoting a film in the middle of a global pandemic. Most of my time has gone in promoting Season’s Greetings. My kids ask me ‘are you going to spend any time with us today or are you going to be busy upstairs in the office, mummy’.
They also understand that there are two types of growth. There is one very important growth with your family and you grow in life. Another is your own personal growth when you grow as a woman, as a mother, lover. I feel it is very important to pursue your dreams.
Do your kids know that you were a beauty queen and are now an actor?
They do know that there is something because in Dubai, we used to get photographed and a lot of fans walked up to us whenever we were out. They knew that there is something but we have really kept them detached from this aspect of our lives. There is nothing to hide about the fact, I’m very proud of all my achievements but they are being introduced to that side of my life as they grow.