The power of no is greater than yes: Preity Zinta

interviews “You’re next,” the PR lady informs me, as I sit on the sofa in the midst of a media jamboree at Preity Zinta’s fourteenth floor office in a
Bandra highrise off Carter Road. The interview will take some time. Preity’s behind schedule, with hacks before me having overshot their time limits. As I strain my ear, I can faintly hear her sharply answering the questions of the journalist before me.

The thought of interviewing a filmstar on management is already causing me quite a bit of a trepidation. Just as I prepare to go in, another journo leans forward and whispers, ‘She is talking about the break-up’ . Great! The world wants to know about the breakup (her break-up with Bombay Dyeing scion Ness Wadia) and I want to talk business . Just what the doctor ordered.

After dropping the initial thought of changing the storyline to the more with-it business of break-up , I decide to stick to the original brief. Just then the door opens and she sees off another one of my ilk with a warm handshake . It’s my turn NOW. Clad in a monochromatic ensemble, the lady flashes her famous dimpled smile, “ Hello …Preity,” she says.

Civilities over, sitting across a standard office table complete with a swivel chair, the hazel-eyed actor and I negotiate the terms of the interview . “I want to discuss business: not the breakup” I say. “Thank God. Then I can unwind and talk freely!” she replies. I too heave a sigh of relief and without much ado, dive into the interview .

Over the next 40-45 minutes, we cover some ground on her career, movies, the IPL stint and her business plans. She has an interesting spin on everything and is capable of taking a very pedantic tone on the mantras of success and life lessons. She has the ability to shoot off totally irreverent answers to a serious query and then can also throw you off balance as she leads the interview into another direction with her giggles and oneliners.

For journalists looking at bowling a googly with the hope of stumping her, she doesn’t offer much chance because she plays with a straight bat and always on the front foot. “I always follow my heart and my guts. If I want to do something, I have immense belief in hardwork and myself. I have it in me to do well anywhere and in anything I do.

I have a deep desire to excel in everything I do,” she says. When these lines are delivered with a pumped fist and an earnest expression, you buy her story. Mind you, she has a track record of success to back her words, having made it in the big bad world of Bollywood with no godfather and zero formal training.

Question her about her success in films and her path to glory in a relatively short time and Zinta gets philosophical. Was it just luck? “Luck always favours the brave. And you must remember that brave are the people who follow their heart, brave are the people who take chances in life,” she says emphatically. “Which also means you have to say no sometimes . I believe the power of no is greater than yes.”

Straightforward, passionate, and bold is how she comes across and many of the characters (Priya Bakshi in Kya Kehna and Naina in Kal Ho Na Ho)
she has played in her films, fit that description. Does she conform to that image herself. “That’s me and that works for me. I am comfortable with myself” she says. As a proud Rajput girl from the hills, she loves to go back to her roots to explain how she is and why she is the way she is.

“My father said live your life like a warrior. A warrior treats people as equals. He doesn’t overestimate other people and doesn’t underestimate himself either. People in life treat you the way you treat them,” she says.
But warriors are a risk-taking lot and true to her fighter nature the jump into the IPL ring was a very risky one.

For a filmstar to jump into the uncharted territory of IPL could have been disastrous: first, the break from films could have been a costly error, and second, success in a new venture can be a tricky affair. “I had been in films for ten years.

In films and in life, there is always someone younger and hungrier. In films, I might not be the younger, hungrier person; in IPL, I am,” she says. For her, the IPL was a crash-course in business and she didn’t know a thing about business (or cricket for that matter) before that bet. “I would love to go to a business school for a month to understand business in a different way. But I guess, nothing beats practical lessons,” she says.

Zinta is a hands-on businesswoman. Last year, she was incharge of ground operations in Punjab and this year, she and Mohit Burman of Dabur handled sponsorships. “I was involved 1,000 per cent out of 100 last year. I was involved 1,020 per cent this year,” she laughs.

For her, the IPL also was a lesson in ‘man’ management. “After IPL, I understood what production people go through and what a thankless job it is. In films, there are 200 people running around me and in IPL, the lead actors are the cricketers. I learnt to step back,” she says.

Throughout the discussion, she reiterates that she drives herself hard and wants to achieve a lot. Has she set goals for herself? “When I entered films, I rose to the top. In business, too, I want to be at the top. In the next ten years, I would like to be in the top ten list of Forbes,” she says. Now that’s a tall order , but I’m sure of she will definitely make a play for it. With that, my time with her is finally over and it was time for the — I could hear the PR lady saying it — “next!”.

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3 Responses to The power of no is greater than yes: Preity Zinta

  1. luna says:

    such a nice interview 🙂

  2. jumbojet says:

    It was yet another PR stunt. We are sick and tired of it…NEXT!

  3. mitali says:

    Actually it is surprising why Preity should try so desperately to be what she is not and cannot be …why is she so insecure these days dude?

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