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Christmas is family time for Celina Jaitley

Christmas is family time for Celina Jaitley

What does Christmas mean to you?
It is a very special time for my family and me. My mother belongs to the Afghan Christian community. My nana (maternal grandfather) went missing for six months. He was a PoW (prisoner of war) and in 1962, he came back on Christmas eve. Since then, it has been a day of celebration for us.

What are your childhood memories of this festival?
Celebrating it at my grandparent’s home in Lucknow! My grandmother would bake a special cake for all of us. We were many children in the house and would all decorate the Christmas tree. We would attend the midnight mass. It was the time for major bonding. Then our mission would be to wait up all night for our gifts, but we would never find any. And the next morning, it would all be there piled up in front of our beds. And of the 100 things, 95 would be dolls.

How do you celebrate it today?
We catch up with friends during this time. My parents host an annual party at MHOW (Military Headquarters Of Western India) in Madhya Pradesh. I try and attend it every year.
I also have a house in Goa and love to attend the midnight mass at St Xavier’s Church whenever I spent Christmas there. In all, I think I have spent four Christmases in Goa. If I am in Mumbai, I have friends over and there is a cake and we feast on biryani.

Which is the best gift you have received till date?
My first puppy. My parents gave it to me when I was just six years old. Since then I have always had pets, especially dogs.

On the film front, the release of your next Accident On Hill Road has been postponed.
I am glad, especially since it was not sensible to release it with 3 Idiots. Now we have more time for publicity.

You are playing a gray shade for the first time in your career. How was the experience?
I took it up because I loved the script. It is based on a true story and that is what excited me. It is a challenging role that explores human psyche. Though my character has a grey shade, I have portrayed it as normally as possible. I feel every actor should dabble in different kind of roles. Accident… is one such attempt from my side and I hope that people like me in this role.

What about the co-stars?
Farooque Shaikh is a legend. He said that he was impressed with my Urdu. He is flawless when he speaks the language and I learnt a lot from him. Abhimanyu Singh has done a good job. Accident… is a darkly humorous psychological thriller from director Mahesh Nair, who is Ram Gopal Varma’s associate. Coming from the new genre of filmmakers, he had everything well-planned. A bound script was ready before the film took off.

2010 seems to be a very happening year for you.
That’s right. Run Bhola Run is a rom-com. An entertaining project, it is a good film to keep in your collection of DVDs. Then I have Hello Darling, Showman and Chai Garam. I am also doing a Kannada film Shrimati which has Upendra and his wife Priyanka and is a remake of Aitraaz.

You were honoured at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) recently. It must have been a great moment for you.
Yes it was. It has given me a great confidence in myself as an actor. Love Has No Language is a niche film. I am hopeful that Bollywood will notice a new side of me. I got a good feedback there. A Czech filmmaker, whose name I forget and who also won an award, came to me and said that he would love to work with me. Many filmmakers came and shook hands with me. Doing films overseas is an honour.

What is happening to Quest Of Scheherezade that also stars Sean Connery and Orlando Bloom? You were to play a Persian princess.
That film is to go on the floors in March 2010. It is actually a prequel to the Arabian Nights. I was selected after the makers saw the Namumkin song from Shakalaka Boom Boom wherein I was dressed like a princess. I am very excited about this film as well.

Source: ScreenIndia

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