Ness & I are friends, not best friends: Preity Zinta

A lot has happened in Preity Zinta’s life in the last year. She was in the news when team Punjab, owned by Ness Wadia and Mohit Burman ran into trouble with BCCI. Then there were rumours that they were planning to sell their stake in the team. Her working relationship with her ex-beau Ness was also under speculation. Amidst all this, she took a big leap and launched her plans to turn producer. Too much was happening in PZ’s life. It was finally time for a tete-a-tete.

Last year, you were not visible beyond the IPL. On a break?
Not at all. Lots of exciting, interesting and new things have been happening in my life, so the preparation and planning behind those things happened last year. I have been visiting the US frequently as my brother and my six-year-old niece live in Los Angeles. I was also busy scripting my first home production Ishkq In Paris with Prem (Soni).

Have an IPL strategy this time?
We have Adam Gilchrist as our coach and captain, so the strategy is left to him. For years and years, as owners, we would think about our strategy, about what we should or shouldn’t do but today our strategy is simple – you gotta leave it to the captain and coach.

Your ex-captain Yuvraj Singh has returned from US after being operated for cancer. Did you know about his situation?
Yes we had to let him go from our team. During our court case with the BCCI, the situation was such that we couldn’t retain our players because to retain them we just had four hours and we had to sign contracts with all the players. It wasn’t physically possible as they were all over the world. The court case hit us very hard as a team financially, emotionally and with our players. That was a big downer for us but anyway we recovered after that. Coming back to Yuvi, he told me about the situation and I thought he was joking and didn’t believe him. It was impossible for me to comprehend something of such a magnitude. I read about it in the press and then I felt terrible! I did send him a message when he was in the USA. I wish him all the best. Yuvi is a Punjab da sher – a fighter and I’m sure he will recover completely!

What’s happening to the case filed by the BCCI?
We are in talks with them. It’s a slow process and yes, I’m hoping everything will be fine as they have been very good and positive towards us. Recently, there was a rumour that we were going to sell our shares in the team because of income tax and other problems but I don’t think I will ever drop out of it completely. IPL is my baby. I have worked very hard for it and learned everything about cricket from scratch.

You were dating Ness Wadia, a co-partner in your team. Have you moved on from that relationship?
Of course! What do you think? I’m a loser? Yes, of course we are friends. When you date someone for that long how can you not be friends? But we are not best friends. We don’t talk to each other everyday because that’s weird! I’m sure if something ever went wrong he would stand by me and vice versa but there’s nothing more than that. I remember an article last year when a paparazzo took a picture of us chatting happily together and next thing I knew we were getting back together! That’s not happening. Today I am scared of talking to someone because I will be linked to him. In my career as an actress, I have never got involved with anybody from the world of films. I have always kept my professional and personal life separate as that’s my policy. The only time I got mixed up both professionally and personally was with Ness. I don’t think I would ever do that in the future. It becomes too complicated…

You were linked to Yuvraj also…
That was really shocking! I can handle such rumours in films but in business it’s difficult and to be linked to my own cricketers is a bit too much. But later I realised that I was linked to my cricketers as I was the best-looking woman in the IPL tournament! Ha ha! And that’s why they linked me with every guy. Every owner – male or female hugged their team members but only I was linked with Yuvi! I want people to know if I’m having an affair with somebody, but I will be discreet about it. It is NOT discreet when you are hugging that person in front a billion people. And specially when I was dating Ness and already in a relationship. Those rumours upset me because I am straight forward and respectable by nature.

So today you are single and ready to mingle?
Yes thank God! But you know what? These days I get scared telling people that I am single because when I say that, I get linked to everybody I meet. So I have a new strategy today – when people ask me if I am single I say ‘I am dating somebody and it’s a big secret’ as that’s safer than saying I’m single. I am very happy in my space. When I get married I will tell everyone because I have always been honest about what I do. Yes I will get married and have amazing kids.

Why did you decide to be a producer?
It was actually a simple thought. We wrote the film and decided we are going to make it. I thought if I produce it I would know exactly what is happening in it. There are no surprises. It’s also taking one step forward. Sometimes you have to take a chance in life. I like to keep growing and I am very inquisitive about what’s going to happen around me. Now that I entered IPL and went to Harvard I understand the structure of business more.

Tell us about your meeting with Dalai Lama…
He comes every time for our games. I was very upset when we lost the last IPL. My face was red and I was staring at the ground almost in tears when he told me ‘you know it’s okay if you lose.’ I looked at him and said ‘it’s not okay because I play to win!’ So then he told me, ‘if you really want to win you should play in your field’ and he said a million words in that one line. I looked at the cricket field and thought that however much I know the game of cricket I cannot take a bat and play like this. Two days later I came back and met my friend Prem. And he told me we have to do something together. He came to me with the script and helped me fall back in love with movies. I was completely jaded with films at that point in my life.

You are co-scripting the film. Are you ghost-directing it too?
No way! It’s very wrong to say that just because I am producing the film I am directing it too. It is completely Prem’s baby and in fact, some of the best scenes written in the film are his too. I don’t want to take away the credit from him. He’s the bigger writer amongst the both of us. He’s a very large-hearted and a magnanimous guy. I wrote because I have a quirkiness in me and that I have given to every film of mine. I would like to state categorically, that this movie is 100 per cent original. It’s a romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of Paris.

In your film you are launching a new actor and not an established star. Why?
Because most of the established actors I wanted to work with were busy with their home productions. We sat for one year to work on the script. We had a choice of waiting for 15 months or doing this film. So I told Prem let’s slash our budget and make a small budget film and if we are confident and try a new actor – chalegi toh theek hai nahi toh we were at least brave enough to try it. I’m very impressed with this new guy. To work with someone who has done 35 films and be at par with her is great. I would shake when I worked with Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in Dil Se.

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One Response to Ness & I are friends, not best friends: Preity Zinta

  1. avinash tiwari says:

    i want to play in ipl.

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