P R E T T Y P R E I T Y
PLEASE, Let’s hope the feisty actress — who tied the knot recently — does not retire from the film firmament any time soon
She continues to make front- page news — and not always for the right reasons. Although she doesn’t have a line- up of new projects on her plate, at age 41, Preity Zinta is still outspoken and won’t take any sort of salvo fired against her by the media. For instance, when i t was reported t hat Preity had lambasted coach Sanjay Bangar of her IPL cricket team Kings XI Punjab, she retaliated on Twitter that the story amounted to defamation, and insisted on an apology. Admittedly, she had lost her cool when her team lost by a single run to the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but the incident, she claimed, had been blown out of proportion.
Now, that’s quintessential Preity for you, the girl from Shimla, who was discovered by Shekhar Kapur at a talent hunt contest. A graduate in criminal psychology, here was an unusually qualified candidate for the movies.
She was to be introduced in the musical Tara Rum Pum, but the project didn’t fructify. The westbound director recommended her to Mani Ratnam for a supporting part in Dil Se.., which was followed by Abbas- Mustan’s Soldier and Kundan Shah’s Kya Kehna, and a star was established in the Bollywood firmament.
The Preity Zinta I’ve known over the years can be as warm and endearing as she can be argumentative and impetuous. Perhaps it’s the tough filmmaking system which has made not only her, but a majority of heroines that way. It’s no secret that leading ladies just don’t command the same status and pay packet as their male counterparts do. Also, a woman is more vulnerable to criticism and disparagement.
Mercifully, Preity has managed to speak out loud and clear, be it in the course of legal cases involving the underworld, or on being subjected to questionable behaviour by a former boyfriend at Mumbai’s Wankhede cricket stadium. That controversy fizzled out gradually. Clearly, the actress has demonstrated that she wasn’t the sort to be subjugated.
The Preity Zinta I’ve known over the years can be as warm and endearing as she can be argumentative and impetuous...
Yet, I can’t help feeling that the needless obstacles that she has had to clear in her private life did hinder her professionally. She could have evolved into a versatile artiste. Given her self- confidence and camera- friendly looks ( highlighted by deep dimples), she could have effortlessly been the No 1 heroine. Without a doubt, she was among the Alisters during the late 1990s and through most of the first decade of the new millennium.
Her most impressive, crowd- pleasing performances were evidenced in Kal Ho Naa Ho, Koi… Mil Gaya, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Dil Chahta Hai, Salaam Namaste and Veer- Zaara. Plus, there was that one- off foray into art- house cinema with the Canada- anchored director Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth. The portrayal of an oppressed housewife fetched Preity the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the Chicago Film Festival.
Unfortunately, a stasis set in next. The feisty actress appeared to have lost the vital killer instinct, explained to an extent by her diversion into the field of sport entrepreneurship and into the peril- fraught area of film production. The Paris- located romcom Ishq Forever — dignified with the presence of the legendary French actress Isabelle Adjani — was an unmitigated disaster, rejected by the masses as well as the mandarins.
Alas, Preity was no longer happening. If news surfaced about her, it wasn’t exactly complimentary — till she announced her marriage in February to Gene Goodenough, vice- president of a renewal energy company in Los Angeles. Alluding to his surname, she tweeted that now puns would pour in on his surname. Let them roll, the more the merrier.
And the reception in Mumbai earlier this month to introduce Mr Goodenough to her friends from show business was packed to the gills — the most prominent attendees being Shah Rukh and Salman Khan.
Is Preity back in the fray then? Right now, she has only one long- delayed project titled Bhaiyyaji Superhitt, toplining Sunny Deol, in the pipeline.
Something tells me that that there’s an incalculable number of Zinta fans all over the world, who’d celebrate her return to the movies. Sooner the better. CROWD PLEASER: Preity made a string of hits in the noughties, including ( top to
Kal Ho Naa Ho..., Veer Zaara, Salaam Namaste, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Heaven on Earth ( far left)
The feisty actress appeared to have lost the vital killer instinct, explained to an extent by her diversion into the field of sport entrepreneurship and film production...