Up close with PZ

She promised to be at work in 2011 and here she is. Preity Zinta is back on screen — the small — hosting a celebrity chat show called ‘Up, Close and Personal with PZ’ on the newly launched Bollywood entertainment channel UTV Stars. “I had promised my fans I would be back in the business. It just happened that very interesting TV offers came before films. So be it!” says she. Earlier this year, the actor known for her exuberant style was also the host of ‘ Guinness World Records – Ab India Todega’ on Colors channel.

“Actors have a certain image that is either created by the media or is cultivated through their body of work. My job on this show is to get the real person behind the star out there. When you work with someone for so long you get a handle on what people think and who they are,” says Preity. ‘Up, Close and Personal with PZ’ is one of the driving shows of the channel and is produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s production banner’s television arm Red Chillies Idiot Box. The best from Bollywood are expected to join the effervescent actress; Shah Rukh Khan himself, arch rival Salman Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Bobby Deol, Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan have already given their consent, with some having shot with her already. Preity says she’s going to be her original self; so you can expect style, fun, glamour, intelligence and guts all rolled into one.

The format doesn’t seem all that new, though we await the inaugural episode in the first week of September to give the verdict on that. There are sections on personal quizzes, career maps, favourites in Bollywood, darkest secrets, hidden talents, an impromptu test of their acting and dancing skills and lots more. “My show is going to be very personal and a lot of fun. It’s not about random questions thrown at a star; it’s an intimate chat. What I personally like is that the format is very alive and totally positive. Besides, we will also get to see the fun side of our stars,” she says.

Ask her why the list of guests revealed to the media doesn’t include any women and she replies, “I am not letting the cat out of the bag on who’s going to be on my show. The best part is that you will be left guessing who’s going to be on the show next time,” she smiles.

Preity is largely seen as camp-neutral; she has never been part of any Bollywood camp and seems to enjoy a good equation with everyone. “I believe that if you respect people, work hard, toe the line and not step on anybody’s toes then the going is always smooth. The key to success is not to get too big for your boots. I am rather fortunate that though I was a rank outsider to Bollywood, people loved me, nurtured me, praised me and brought me where I am today,” she says.

Back to the big screen

When Preity Zinta decided that the IPL was her calling, many were upset. Not because anyone had any issues with her patronising cricket, but because that signalled her departure from movies. Her last full-fledged commercial role was in Yash Raj’s “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” in 2007.

Now Preity, who has lost a lot of weight, returns in the 2012 flick “Ishq in Paris” as actor-producer under her own PZNZ Media banner. The film is reported to include both Indian and French actors. The rest of the cast has not been unveiled. Shooting is under way.

While her list of favourite actors is endless, her favourite female co-star is Rani Mukherjee “simply because we have worked in several movies together”. She feels Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh are promising. So are Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor.

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