Mumbai: Actress, LGBTQI activist and former beauty queen Celina Jaitley is set to return to Bollywood after seven years with Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s Hindi film “A Tribute to Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings”.
Based on a mother and daughter relationship, Celina will be playing the role of daughter, opposite veteran actor Lillette Dubey who plays the role of her mother. The film will also star debutant Azhar Khan as male protagonist. “I am extremely happy to be a part of Ram Kamal’s film Season’s Greetings, because I have always considered him as a creative person and when he narrated me this story in Dubai, I had goose bumps. I knew that this film will be worth my time, as post marriage and motherhood I was looking for a subject that would excite me as a performer. Considering the fact that I have been associated with LGTBQIA movement since past 18 years, and Ritu da (Rituparno Ghosh) being an inspiration for all of us, I feel that finally I will be acting in a film that deals with this issue,” says Celina Jaitley.
Produced under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainment, the film will be shot in Kolkata. “I know Celina as a friend and have interacted with her at various occasions. She is well read, and values human emotions. I was looking for someone who could relate to this script, and after the narration I could see a teary eyed Celina, who immediately came on board. I am thankful to her for being a part of this special journey,” says director Ram Kamal Mukherjee.
Ram Kamal and Celina have been planning to work on a project since some time. But due to her family commitment it took some time for them to decide upon the project. Celina went through testing time when she lost her new born baby Shamsher early this year and later her parents, whom she was extremely attached to. Married to hotelier Peter Haag, Celina is a mother of three kids Winston, Viraaj and Arthur, and keeps shuffling between Dubai and Mumbai for her work commitments. “I will be shooting in Kolkata for the first time, and that’s something which I am really looking forward to,” says Celina. The film is produced by Aritra Das and Shailendra Kumar. Co produced By Vinay Agarwal & Yash Nagariya.
“I tapped Ram Kamal’s talent as a story teller, when I was travelling with him in Egypt for work, he made a short musical on various moods and moments he had captured through his camera. He had the perfect idea of light and composition of a frame. I knew that sooner or later he will direct a film. I loved his aesthetics in Cakewalk, and the way he mounted the film,” says Celina. The film has music by Shailendra Sayanti, while Kumar Sanu’s son Jaan makes his Bollywood debut as a singer. Jaan rendered Kunjvan, a Maithili song in the film, which has been written by Rabindranath Tagore.
Vocal about the cause and abolishment of Section 377, Celina has been a torch bearer for LGBTQIA for almost two decades. “My first boyfriend was gay, and I was 16 when I realized that he has different sexual preference. He died of bulimia induced stroke, leaving his mother’s jwellery for me which I used for LGTBQIA movement. My first makeup artist was a transgender, and treated me like a daughter. Even he died in a road mishap. That’s when I decided that I will take up for this cause and fight till I see justice,” says Celina.
In 2014, she made her debut as a singer for a United Nations Free and Equal Human Rights campaign. In the music video The Welcome, a man takes his boyfriend to meet his family, after initial reluctance the family sings ‘Uthe Sab Ke Kadam’ along with Jaitly, and they dance to include the new family member.
Incidentally, Paoli Dam was supposed to play the role of the daughter in the film, but due to professional issue, she parted ways amicably. “Ram Kamal is a dear friend and this is a very special film because it’s a tribute to Ritu da. Unfortunately due to certain unforeseen circumstances in my shooting schedule I had to let this film go and I wish him all the best.” Celina has to change her domestic and international commitment at the last minute for the film. “Apart from Ram Kamal being a friend, I felt deeply for the script. We all have our commitments, but we must all take out time for causes that will make the difference in our society,” says Celina.
Actress Paoli Dam said, ” I am feeling really sad that I will not be a part of Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh : Seasons Greetings due to my prior commitments which is incidentally clashing with the shooting dates of this film. Ram Kamal is a dear friend and this project will always remain close to my heart for Rituda (Rituparno Ghosh) so I wish him and his entire team all the best. Hopefully Ram Kamal and I will be working together on something else very soon.”
The director said, “I know Celina as a friend and have interacted with her at various occasions. She is well read, and values human emotions. I was looking for someone who could relate to this script, and after the narration I could see a teary-eyed Celina, who immediately came on board.”
Married to hotelier Peter Haag, Celina is a mother of three children Winston, Viraaj and Arthur, and keeps shuffling between Dubai and Mumbai for her work commitments.
“I will be shooting in Kolkata for the first time, and that is something which I am really looking forward to,” she said.
The film has music by Shailendra Sayanti, while Kumar Sanu’s son Jaan makes his Bollywood debut as a singer.