Guess who has turned out to be a bigger fan of Shah Rukh Khan? None other than the dimpled Preity Zinta who can’t stop raving about SRK and his latest film. And, she is going around town saying whoever acts with Shah Rukh goes on to become a bigger star. Well, that includes her also. Remember it was post Dil Se, Preity shot into limelight and became a star to reckon with. We will wait and see how far Preity’s prediction comes true this time with SRK launching 17 new girls in his new film and Deepika Padukone in Om Shanthi Om?
Preity Zinta can talk and how! And now the spunky actor’s acquired some ‘art’titude too. Easel does it… yes, she’s taken to wielding a paintbrush and matched strokes with Mumbai-based artist Gurcharan Singh for the cause of street children for the NGO Khushi. She was delighted to paint in a dog in flaming red and christened the work as ‘Circle of Life’. Before she had consented to the charitable cause, Preity had requested Nisha JamVwal, who spearheads Khushi in Mumbai, to paint with an artist who hails from the hills in the North and naturally, Nisha obliged.
“Painting is reminiscent of my school days in the hills of Simla, but this experience with Gurcharan Singh who incidentally hails from the hills like me transported me to another realm of creativity! I am sure this piece of art will win many little hearts and make a difference to the lives of street children. After all, we are all a part of the circle of life,” said Preity. Gurcharan, whose collectors and buyers include art aficionado Parmeshwar Godrej and many others, on the other hand thought that “it was worth the wait given our schedules took two months to coordinate”. He added, “This entire experience of a very involved painting jugalbandi is something I shall remember always. What is interesting is the visual language – the transmission on to the canvas or any chosen surface. The outcome may be figurative or abstract, narrative or conceptual, or evoke a mood or nostalgia or a soul searching exercise. Mediumistic shifts are part of the exercise in visual vocabulary.”
Preity Zinta has never shied from a battle, especially when it meant fighting injustice. But now, the perky actress admits she has mellowed down. “I have become much calmer now. I guess I am more relaxed.
But even if I’m quiet for more than ten minutes, people will come up and ask me if I am okay They are all so used to me being this hyper person!” she says.
The effervescent star is extremely proud of her. “I have not had affairs with people to make it here. I have not done one wrong thing technically to succeed. I have not tried to contrive or walk over other’s feet. I think that is my biggest crown. I would be more worried about what my colleagues or people who know me would say than what my audiences say about me,” she says.
Always so cheerful, one would think she never gets bogged down by problems. She disagrees. “My theory in life is the only way to go is up. I do feel very down when I am faced with something that I cannot help. But I try to collect myself and pull myself up. I keep telling myself that others’ opinion about me will differ, but it shouldn’t matter as long as I know myself. I would look at every adversity as an opportunity.”
But there is something that gets even her depressed. “If my mum is upset with me, I am shattered. She is the only family I have and if she is not happy with me, even if I win an Oscar I would not be happy.”
Preity thinks she is secure because she comes from a secure family. “I think your upbringing matters a lot. No amount of stardom can give you security. You can be secure only by the love and attention that you got as a child. I also believe that when you get married it should be forever, at least for your children’s’ sake.
A family should be a complete unit. You cannot make a child face the trauma of a broken home and expect it to be normal. I am not being judgmental here, but I refuse to understand an extra-marital affair. Once you have a child, you do not have the right to be selfish. I think people coming from smaller towns are more secure because their whole world is consolidated in their family.”
It’s not easy being Preity Zinta. For the last two days she has been wincing in pain, hobbling around while shooting in the outskirts of Chandigarh. “We’ve been shooting here for Mera Bharat Mahaan. Yesterday, while doing an outdoor scene with Salman Khan, I was running barefoot when a nail pierced the sole of my foot. At that time I didn’t feel the pain so much. But as the day progressed my foot got worse. I’m still alive and kicking. These things don’t bother me much, except that this one is hurting a lot,” says Preity.
Preity had to take a tetanus injection. “And now my arm too is heavy and swollen. So I’m managing on one foot and with one arm. Although I’m in considerable pain I’ve to continue shooting because we have to wrap up this week. Oh, the hardships of being an actress,” she jokes.
Preity will shoot next in eastern India. “While last year I was out of the country most of the time, this year I’m on an extended Bharat darshan. I got quite sick of shooting abroad all the time. 2007 is my India Year. It’s so nice to see the interiors of the country. Right now everything is so green and lovely in Punjab. It feels good to know one’s own country even if I’ve to limp my way through the hinterland,” she winces as she draws attention to her injured foot again.
There were practical problems about shooting in Chandigarh. “I’ve been hanging around cows and buffalos. I’ve never been so close to nature before. Out here where we’re shooting there’s a jamun (blackberry) tree and a kairi (mango) tree. Every day I feed the buffalos and pluck jamuns. But the whole world lands up for the shoot. The crowds get quite unruly and the fan attention does tend to distract from the work at hand. We have to tell them, ‘Hum kaam kar rahen hain.’ And they look strangely at us. ‘We thought you were shooting.’ So yeah, it does get quite hectic,” she says.
Actress Priyanka Chopra, who was earlier said to be doing the title role in Main Aur Mrs Khanna, is no longer doing the film. “Salman and Govinda have already been signed on for the film alongwith Sohail,” says an inside source. And the makers are on the lookout for a girl who can play Mrs Khanna. “Earlier, Priyanka was rumoured to be doing it, but then, either there was a date problem or she wasn’t happy with the cast of the film. Now it’s a toss between Ayesha Takia and Preity Zinta. There was news that Ayesha has been signed, but that’s not true. She is one of the actresses finalised for the role but she hasn’t signed on the dotted line as yet. In fact, Preity Zinta is still in the reckoning.” Apparently, when Priety is said to have heard the script, she loved it and there is a good chance she will give the nod for this one. The film is being directed by newcomer Prem R Soni and the shoot will start from September. Now let’s wait and watch who the lucky girl is, shall we?
Preity Zinta is known to talk nineteen-to-the-dozen, and we love her for that. In fact, when she starts chirping everybody listens, except for one man. Her buddy and co-star, Abhishek Bachchan. “Yes, when Abhishek and I are working together we have a blast. Even on the sets we hop from one topic to another and there’s no stopping us. We can chat about anything and that’s what makes it so much fun,” says Preity. We wonder what it will be with the new Mrs Bachchan for company though. More garam gupshup?
Actress Preity Zinta seems to be in love – with her work, of course! The actress, who is all upbeat about her soon-to-be released film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, comes forward to define love. When asked if true love is real or fantasy, she replied, “Love is always real. And true love is even more real. Love is just plain romantic!” Now, that sounds like experience talking, right?
We start, as usual. Preity Zinta begins by announcing categorically that she doesn’t want to talk about her personal life and certainly not about boyfriend Ness Wadia. With some coaxing, she grumbles, “Do I have to talk about my personal life each time I give an interview?”
Well, interest in the personal life of a star is only natural, isn’t it? “I agree,” she says, “But at the end of the day, we end up speaking only about our personal life. I don’t bar the press from asking me personal questions, but I think this constant speculation and intervention in someone else’s life is just not done.”
Does that mean that Preity and Ness have not split, contrary to what the grapevine says? We are greeted with silence. Later, we gather that they are very much in touch with each other.
However, Preity is more than forthcoming about her work. She has just completed her first schedule of Rituparno Ghosh’s English film The Last Lear. She says, “It’s too early to talk about the film, because we have just begun shooting. I think Rituda is a fantastic director, who emphasises on small details. Plus, it is my first English language film, so I am extra-excited,” she says.
Shabana Azmi, Aishwarya Rai, and Sushmita Sen have already worked in films in English. How has Preity’s experience been? “It’s different,” she laughs. “In so many years, I have worked only in Hindi. So, when Rituda gave me the dialogue, I felt somewhat different. Look, I don’t want to give any lectures on cinema and its language, I am too much of a rookie to talk about that,” she smiles.
Preity says visiting Kolkata after many years was a fun-filled experience. She went there last when she was in the eighth standard. “I was too small, and my memory was quite hazy,” she says. “I remember that the roads were narrow and there was too much traffic. But now the city has got a drastic makeover, there are many over bridges and bypass roads. The city is cleaner,” she says. Next time around, she intends to visit the Kali temple. “I will be coming back to Kolkata to shoot some scenes with Amitji,” she adds.
The actress is busy learning Bengali just to communicate with the unit members. “I don’t see any difference between Kolkata and Mumbai as far the work culture goes. In Kolkata they speak Bengali, and I have managed to learn few words so that I can survive comfortably,” she says.
Preity also like to gorge on fish cooked in mustard. “It’s just mouth-watering. Rituda gets yummy food from his place, and pampers me a lot on the sets,” she giggles.
Everyone loves travelling around the world. But for our stars, the travel bug bites really hard. Take for instance Preity Zinta. It’s sheer coincidence that for most of her films she usually has long shooting schedules abroad, which keep her away from Mumbai for months together. “How else will the audiences see the breath-taking locations in faraway places like New Zealand, Australia and many more? In fact, I am out of the country more than half the year; everyone says I am like an NRI,” says PZ, with her usual dash of humour. We know Preity. No wonder that extra ‘zing’ has been missing from our very own Mumbai city for a while now.