Bollywood is not for everyone.
Some realise it sooner and tread different paths to make different achievements in life, while others keep trying till the industry throws them off.
In this giant rigmarole of realisations and refusals, we have seen many of our beloved celebs fading out into oblivion, leaving us wondering, “Where are they, how are they...?”
This “Missing Report” series digs deep into the untold stories of such missing stars, and today we are covering Celina Jaitly.
The rise of the beauty queen
Celina’s journey into films is the classic scenario of beauty queen-turned-actress, although growing up she wanted to join the army, like her father, and become a pilot or a doctor. But life had other plans for her when she moved to Kolkata and decided to participate in a local beauty contest. In 2001, Celina won Femina Miss India contest. She also won the Miss Margo Beautiful Skin, Indiatimes Surfer's Choice, and MTV's Most Wanted award. She was also the 4th runner-up in the She was subsequently sent to the Miss Universe contest, in 2001, where she represented India.
But she gained popularity when she appeared in music videos of Jazzy B’s ‘Oh Kehri’.
Bollywood soon came knocking on her door and in 2003, she made her debut in Feroz Khan’s ‘Janasheen’, co-starring Fardeen Khan, followed by ‘Khel’ with Sunny Deol and Suniel Shetty. Both the movies faired average to poorly at the box office.
Interestingly, she was offered the lead role in the film ‘Julie’, which she refused, “I turned down ‘Julie’ because I didn't agree with the reasoning of the protagonist in the story, who resorts to prostitution because her man ditches her. I didn't see why any educated girl would take such a drastic step. I take up roles that I mentally agree with, and this was not such a role,” Celina said in an interview with a film magazine. The role later went to Neha Dhupia.
In 2004, Celina made her Telugu movie debut by appearing in ‘Suryam’ opposite Vishnu Manchu. In 2005, she starred in multi-starrer Hindi film called ‘Silsiilay’, which was well received by the critics. And then came ‘No Entry’, the role she was most popularly known for, Sanjana. The movie became a box office hit. She continued her streak of comedy hits with ‘Tom, Dick, and Harry’ and ‘Apna Sapna Money Money’.
In 2006, she appeared in Bombay Viking’s music video of the super hit ‘Zara Nazron Se’.
After doing two very forgettable films, ‘Red: The Dark Side’ and ‘Shakalaka Boom Boom’, she took up a supporting role in ‘Golmaal Returns’, which is a cult movie franchise now. But it seemed that her luck in Bollywood fizzed out after that as movies like ‘Paying Guests’, ‘Accident on Hill Road’, ‘Hello Darling’ and ‘Thank You’ bombed at the box office.
She tried her luck in a Kannada film, Shrimathi, which was directed by Ravi Kumar, which turned out to be a commercial success.
As far as romance goes, in early 2000s Celina was linked to affluent hotelier Sanjay Narang, who at the time was dating Sushmita Sen. It is quite popularly believed that Celina was the thorn that ripped apart Sanjay and Sushmita. After that, Celina’s relationship with Sanjay didn’t last long for long.
In early 2010, Celina met Peter Haag, an Austrian entrepreneur and hotelier, in Dubai where she had gone for the store opening of an Indian fashion brand. Sparks flew and soon Celina married Peter Haag in July 2011, in a 1000 year old monastery in Austria. She moved to Dubai with her husband soon after.
In March 2012, the couple were blessed with twin boys Winston Haag and Viraaj Haag and stayed away from the limelight as family took focus.
In 2017, Celina made a bittersweet announcement when she welcomed her second set of twins. However, due to a serious heart condition, her newborn son Shamsher passed away. She shared a post on her social media saying:
“When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars…My dearest friends, beloved fans and followers. On the auspicious occasion of Dusshera we would like to take this opportunity to share with you all the following bittersweet news. The Gods above have blessed us yet again with another set of very handsome twin boys ‘Arthur Jaitly Haag’ and ‘Shamsher Jaitly Haag’ in Dubai on 10th September 2017. However, life is not always how we plan it to be. Our son ‘Shamsher Jaitly Haag’ succumbed to a serious heart condition and could not continue his journey in this world.”
“Heartbreaking as that is we are very fortunate that a part of him still lives with us through Arthur, whose face will always remind us that an angel who looks exactly like him looks upon us from the arms of his grandfather, my father, in the heavens above, whom we also lost two months ago,” added Celina.
In the same year, tragedy struck again when the actress lost her father, whom she was very close to. “I couldn’t reach in time to hear his voice one last time. That’s a regret and guilt I’ll live with all my life. No matter how much you think you are prepared for the inevitable, you are never ready for a parent’s loss. Even if you know it’s coming, the shock and disbelief are still unbearable,” she had said.
Return to acting
The beauty queen and mother of three boys is making a comeback into acting with a short film called ‘Season’s Greetings’, which she claims helped her heal after losing both her parents and one of her twins. The actor revealed she was in severe depression when she shot the film that revolves around a mother-daughter’s tumultuous relationship. “You can never find closure when you lose the most important and valuable things in your life. Daddy had just passed away and suddenly mama too … My parents were so full of life and they were this young, military army couple. The truth is you can never get closure from losing your parents. But this movie helped me a vent a lot of emotions… I am not getting treatment in Austria for the past one year.”
The actress even opened up about her struggles with depression. “Peter left his job because I was suffering from such severe depression that we had no option but to leave Dubai. He said: ‘let’s go back to Austria and let us disconnect from everything till you get better. That really helped me and getting my husband’s support in this meant a lot.”
The film also stars Lillette Dubey in the role of Celina’s mother, and it is available to stream online on Zee5 globally.
Images sourced from Instagram.