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ugababe Senior Member

Joined: 17 December 2004
Posts: 913

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 5:18pm | IP Logged
Interview : Character Sketch - Preity Zinta

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In a career spanning less than a decade, Preity Zinta has portrayed a variety of roles essaying complexities of human relationships. An unwed mother in Kya Kehna, an unconventional fiancee in Dil Se, a courageous reporter in Sangharsh and Mission Kashmir, an imbalanced millionaire in Armaan and a haunting beloved in Veer Zaara.

In an introspective interview, the actress analyses her various characters, and says that enrichment of life comes from observing and absorbing experiences.

A decade later, would you say that Kya Kehna was the right vehicle to launch your career?

I guess so. I have no regrets at the way my career has shaped up. It was an unconventional role but that was a part of the attraction. I never wanted to do run-of-the mill roles. In fact, when I joined films, my friends teased me. They said, now that you've become an actress, you too will have to run around and dance in the rain. And I protested. I said, I'll do all that but also something substantial. And I have. Over the years, I've consciously attempted to include meaningful roles in my kitty.

Were you apprehensive about playing an unwed mother, did the stigma worry you?

Strangely no and I give full credit to the script for that. At no point did the film justify pre-marital sex. It's not as if my character, Priya is dismissive of the episode. She acknowledges that she's made a mistake, is full of remorse, but adds that she's a victim, not a criminal. The film addresses two important issues. One, sex education. It's unfortunate that in a country as over populated as India, parents still shy away from discussing sex with children. Two, more important, you don't cancel people from your life just because they make mistakes. It unfolds an important message for life.

What attracted you to the cameo in Dil Se - Shah Rukh Khan, Mani Ratnam or just instinct?

You have to understand that I have never been the regular Hindi film buff. I don't come from a family that watched too many films. In my growing years, I had seen just a couple of Hindi films like Sholay, Amar Akbar Anthony and Mr. India. I particularly enjoyed Mr. India because of the hero's disappearing act but I wasn't exactly familiar with the trends and traditions of Hindi cinema. Of-course I had heard of Mani Ratnam and Shah Rukh Khan but they were not the only reason for my agreeing to do Dil Se... I liked my role in the film. I like the idea of her discussing virginity with her-to-be-fiance. Also, that she had no qualms in admitting that she was dumped by her previous boy-friend. I thought the character was refreshing. Somehow, I knew, I was going to play her while Mani Sir was narrating the role to me. It was instinct, I guess.

And is the instinct always right?

The instinct is always right, it's our reasoning with instinct that complicates issues. Often actors make concessions for a producer or a colleague and say 'yes' to a project that their heart does not agree. This lack of conviction reflects on screen. It's a gesture one always lives to regret. As mature artistes, we have to learn to not fall into that trap. It's difficult but one has to learn to say 'no'.

Were there any second thoughts about playing a prostitute in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke?

I didn't want to play the prostitute. I wanted to play the wife but the director was adamant on making me play the other role. I wasn't at all comfortable with the idea. Not because I have moral hang-ups but because, I was unfamiliar with her mannerisms and therefore unsure of my projection. Abbas-Mustan were determined though. They took me to various dance bars, even drove to the famous address on Grant Road. The experience was a revelation. Initially, I felt very depressed about their circumstances but gradually, I accepted it as a reality of life. Also, there is a possibility that they are not as distressed as we imagine them to be. Chori Chori Chupke Chupke emphasized the importance of sacrifice in a relationship.

So whose sacrifice would you say was greater, the wife's or the prostitute's?

Undoubtedly, the prostitute. The prostitute puts her life on hold for the happiness of the couple to fulfil a promise. When that is accomplished she has to define a new path for herself, which we are not sure, if she will be able to.

Who have been some strong influences on your growing years?

Family, friends and books. I have a very crazy choice in reading. I can be engrossed by an Archie comic, Tinkle, biography or thriller, depending on my mind frame. When I was in the eighth standard, my father gifted me a copy of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I did not understand the content but I loved the character of Howard Roark, a strong, able man who overcomes big storms in his life. Over the years, I've read the book innumerable times and everytime I'm filled with admiration for Howard's wisdom and endurance. In his own way, he has been a strong influence on me too.

You seem to be drawn to pursuits of courage. The investigating reporter in Sangharsh and later TV anchors in Mission Kashmir and Lakshya?

I feel I'm inherently a fearful person. But courage to me is not about denying fear, but overcoming it. I'm attracted to these characters because they are women of substance. I cannot see myself playing a mere object of desire. Sensuous, yes, but not a victim. There has to be something intellectually or emotionally captivating about the character for me to want to portray her on screen. How else can I grow as an actress and as a person?

Are you usually as clairvoyant about all your roles? In times of creative conflict, who do you seek out?

It can never be one specific person simply because the conflict varies from film to film. Call it coincidence but somehow, there is always someone in your immediate surrounding, who knowingly or unknowingly resolves the conflict for you. It's not even necessary that the conflict be directly addressed. Most of the time it's a stray comment that resolves matters. Sometimes, you are not even aware of the solution. It's when you face the camera the following day that you discover that the block has disappeared. Eventually all solutions have to come from within you.

Critics had applauded your performance in Armaan, did you enjoy playing the vamp?

I enjoyed the process of exploring the grey area. It was a new expression for me and therefore a challenge. The portrayal had to be a balance between compassion and cruelty.

And Koi Mil Gaya?

Koi Mil Gaya was a breezy role. I had to be subtle and let my co-star take centre stage. That's the only way the character could have worked. It was a very demanding role for Hrithik and very easy film for me. What was important though was a foundation of trust between us as a lead pair and that faith was reflected in the film.

And Lakshya?

Lakshya was a very tough film for the entire unit because the physical shooting was very strenuous. We were grounded at a height of 80,000 feet and the weather was bitingly cold. One by one all of us were falling ill and losing courage but we stuck on together when we thought of our jawans who endure so many hardships to preserve our security. The entire experience made me feel very proud of our soldiers. It also made me realise that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

What did you learn from Shalini in Dil Chahta Hain and Naina in Kal Ho Naa Ho?

Shalini believes in love, has faith that what was meant for her cannot be taken away. Naina is bottled up. She appears a grouch but it's only a defense. When the time comes, she is prepared to drop her inhibitions. There is an aching vacuum in her life and it requires a special person to fill that space. So when love beckons, she is transformed completely. My only problem during the shooting of Kal Ho Naa Ho was that I had to think of all the miserable things in my life to be able to portray the introverted character.

And Zaara?

Zaara was a big challenge. I had never played a role where I'm so much older and all the time dressed in Indian clothes. I hardly ever wear Indian clothes in real life. Zaara belongs to a conservative, Muslim family while I'm completely the opposite in real life. When Yashji called me to his office, he said, "Zaara is someone I couldbe drawn to and not someone my son, Uday Chopra would desire". I remembered that. There is a melancholy about both Veer and Zaara that haunts you long after the film is over. Perhaps that's what classics are meant to be.

Would you say you are a different actress with different directors?

I think I give the same amount of sincerity and professionalism to all my films. The level of affection may vary depending on the relationship. But I don't think it's necessary to be friends with your filmmaker to be able to give a good performance. A happy, healthy atmosphere always helps the shooting but a competent director is able to extract a good performance out of you irrespective of the circumstances.

You have worked with some of the best directors, how would you describe the experiences?

I've worked with Karan Johar only as a producer so far not as a director and I'm looking forward to the experience. With Farhan Akhtar, I've done Dil Chahta Hain and Lakshya and feel that he is very chilled out as a director. We've spent a lot of time out and therefore shooting together was very comfortable. We had a lot of fun during Rakesh Roshan's shooting of Koi Mil Gaya too and Yash Uncle of course, spoilt me silly during Veer-Zaara feeding me with the best food on his sets. He is the coolest dude in film firmament.

And your new director Siddharth?

It's always refreshing to work with debutants because they bring a different energy to the project. Their passion is almost infections. All of us in the film, John Abraham and the crew are thoroughly enjoying the shooting in Melbourne. Everywhere we go people follow us, singing Hindi film songs. Isn't that amazing?

What's your favourite philosophy about life?

That it is understood backwards and lived forward.

hope you guys enjoy the article!!!


*Shona* IF-Rockerz

Joined: 06 March 2005
Posts: 6585

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 5:22pm | IP Logged

Thanx soo much for the article, Khushi!Tongue

sukh IF-Rockerz

Joined: 19 November 2004
Posts: 5154

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 5:24pm | IP Logged
thanks a lotWink
queenbee4eva Senior Member

Joined: 31 January 2005
Posts: 310

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 5:29pm | IP Logged
thnx for the article but i want to say somethign about bolywood
ppl...there not whatt u think they are iwont to say something but
i cant in front ofso many ppl if u watched the ita tru program pm
and i can tell u if u didnt pm anyways...its really sick and
involves priety...srry u guys.....
rabeeak2003 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 26 August 2004
Posts: 3898

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 5:33pm | IP Logged

The for the article buddy. Priety is a great versatile actresses, who can do ANY role. I just like her and her cute bubbly smile is just adorable. Kaash, mere bhai aaise dimples hotewww.india-forums.inwww.india-forums.inCry

Well buddy, come on . It has a movies sections and actors and actresses section too. Enjot there too. Hope to see you on



mango Goldie

Joined: 08 December 2004
Posts: 9229

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 5:39pm | IP Logged

thanks a lot for the interview


_anonymous Goldie

Joined: 07 January 2005
Posts: 2029

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 6:08pm | IP Logged
Thanks 4 da article!
PreityGirl Senior Member

Joined: 22 December 2004
Posts: 663

Posted: 12 April 2005 at 6:10pm | IP Logged
Thanks soooooo much for the article!!! Preity Zinta is aWeSoMe.....and i really agree with her philosophy about life!! Big smile  Tongue

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