| Celina Jaitley
Do you feel uncomfortable about the way men look at you'
It’s become less now because I don’t interact with so many people now. But while I was in college, whether it was a taxi driver or a fellow student, the way men gazed at me could be quite bothersome.
What did you conclude from these experiences'
I came to the conclusion that most men are the same. They only look at their own daughters and sisters and wives in a respectful way; otherwise a woman is something to be stared at.
When did you first become aware of the male gaze'
After I reached a certain age, there was a drastic change in the way both men and women looked at me. Jealousies arose within classmates; the best of friends became the worst of critics. I have been as uncomfortable with the female gaze as with the male gaze all through my life.
How have you coped with this discomfort'
I have not learnt to cope with it yet, so I choose to ignore it.
What is your opinion on men who claim that women deserve what they get if they dress in a provocative way'
That is so disgusting. Forget about women who wear revealing clothes, even a woman who wears red lipstick or bright make-up is labelled a tart. But one cannot absolve women of the blame, totally. Mothers often tell their daughters ‘Don’t wear that colour, don’t dress up like that, it may draw the attention of a man’.
Did your parents ever monitor the way you dressed'
There was no blanket rule. I was always allowed to grow up as an individual.
Do you seek approval from your dad about your day-to-day decisions'
My father always told me that there is a time and place for everything — whether it is wearing lipstick, sipping my first drink or going to a discotheque. Now he lets me make my own decisions.
When you are shooting for glam scenes, what are you aiming for'
I am aiming to project beauty with innocence, someone who makes you think of love, not lust.
You wore a bikini and played a violin in the middle of the sea in Janasheen!
It’s a dream sequence. A man sees a lot of things when he dreams about women. At least the scene was aesthetically done.
If a woman director was behind the camera, would she have projected some other aspects of your personality'
No. I remember Mr Feroz Khan once told me, ‘Child, not only do you look sexy, you also have a face that would prompt a man to want to marry and protect you’.
Do women ogle at men'
Never. A woman’s body has far more aesthetic appeal than a man’s does.
What is your yardstick for judging a man'
His eyes. Men’s eyes betray their emotions. Women can conceal their emotions better.
Why do most actresses shy away from the sex goddess tag'
When the audience sees an actress in a Bond film abroad and calls her ‘sexy’ she is delighted with the compliment. But our actresses shy away from being called sex goddesses. I guess it is something to do with the social conditioning.
Would you like being labelled a sex symbol'
My stand is that as long as an actress comes across as someone whom one would want to marry, she can be sexy, innocent, or whatever else. To tell you the truth, I am torn between two worlds, the modern and the traditional. At times I don’t mind being called sexy, but at other times, the Indian girl in me protests, “Sexy kyon bola' Galat bola.”
Do you regret some of the things you’ve done on screen'
I can’t alter what I have done so I will have to live with it.
When you are in front of a camera, do you feel as if a man is peering at you from behind it'
When I am in front of a camera, the person behind it has no gender as far as I am concerned. I feel the camera loves you more and better than any human being can.