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The only actress who has singlehandedly "opened" a film in years...
short span of years, Preity Zinta has seen and done an amazing
amount, But the "most defining" moment of her life remains
the tragic death of her father in a car accident, when she was
thirteen. "My mother was with him at the time. She was severely
hurt and was bedridden for two years. I think that was the first
turning point in my life. Everything changed. I didn't really
go through the stage where you jump out of the window and go partying.
A great deal of maturity came into my life. I was forced to grow
up. My brothers are one year older and one year younger than me
and I remember they'd be crying all the time." (Rediff,
But after tragedy comes triumph, and for Preity, success arrived overnight, as her refreshingly natural debut performance in Dil Se drew vast critical and popular acclaim. Thus if it's true, as some claim, that a rift with Dil Se co-star Shahrukh Khan arose from her refusal to "stroke his ego," Preity hardly need worry about getting work. She's the first actress in years to star in a hit lacking a popular male co-star, and that too a controversial one: Kya Kehna, despite its unconventional take on the taboo topic of unwed pregnancy, ran successfully all over India.
To the detractors who called her performance overwrought and unconvincing, she offers a humorous, "At least give me credit for having done such a bold film at the onset of my career. I remember getting the heebie-jeebies while doing a song in an amusement park in Europe. (Laughs) The phirangs gaped in amazement and asked me if I was a pop star. I was like, 'Leave me alone.'" (Filmfare, Sep 2000). Others who want to decry her talent had best do it quick; when her upcoming film with Hrithik Roshan, a sci-fi thriller called Koi Mil Gaya, opens, Preity may become an unstoppable force.
One person who isn't threatened is Kareena Kapoor, with whom she has endured a series of much-documented misunderstandings. From an interview with Filmfare in January 2001:
Kareena Kapoor has reacted to your statement about `Why is Kareena
being treated like a princess?' Are you complexed about the Kapoors?
Kareena, in the May 2001 issue of Filmfare, reacted:
What was that little run-in with Preity Zinta all about?
But she wasn't really hitting out at you. She was just making
a statement on all the expectations that are riding on your career.
After documenting her breakup with model Marc Robinson, the film magazines have begun to murmur about possible affairs with Sanjay Dutt and Aamir Khan. Though Preity denies involvement with either, she isn't averse to fueling speculation. In a January 2002 interview with Filmfare, when asked who, among the male actors, was "hot," Preity replied, "Sanjay Dutt for sure. Sanju's body language, the way he carries himself makes Sanju boiling hot. Now those who've linked us, will go, 'Look, look, she finally said it.' Genuinely he has style and class. He has presence, whether he's in a suit or lungi."
Unlike many actresses, Preity readily admits that she enjoys a good party and nights on the town. In reward, rumors of wild behavior surround her extracurricular life. Recently a website reported that she became intoxicated on an international flight, and her garbled muttering provoked a couple to complain to the flight attendants. Preity allegedly responded to the couple by angrily assuring them she came from a good family. The Hindustan Times seems to agree, though for a rather strange reason:
"'Some people think I'm a south Indian, some call me a Muslim while there are some who think I am Himachali,' [Preity] quips. But those who are in the know are aware that her ancestors were true blue British. In the early 18th century, when the Rajputs had earned a reputation for 'killing for their honour', marital alliances between the two races became quite common. Thus emerged the Zinta clan. That's quite a pedigree: a mix of British and Rajput blood. Should be enough to make the leading families of filmdom red with envy!"
BollyWHAT? does NOT endorse such imperialist ideology, and hopefully neither does Preity!
2000 Kya Kehna*
2000 Mission Kashmir*
2000 Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega*
2000 Prince No. 1
2001 Chori Chori Chupke Chupke*
2001 Dil Chahta Hai*
2001 Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke
2002 Dil Hai Tumhaara
2003 Khullam Khulla Pyar Karen
2003 Kal Ho Na Ho
2003 Koi Mil Gaya
2004 Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha
* acclaimed performance