‘My mistakes have been constructive’

A10-minute date with Preity Zinta in Chandigarh, amidst her busy IPL schedule, was nothing short of a roller coaster ride. She kickstarts the convo by saying, “If I don’t get food in time, I go crazy!” Ok, we get the idea. Getting onto more serious things, about her last stint on the silver screen, Hero (2008), she says, “Hero wasn’t really like a film for me. To be honest, the only reason I did the movie was because I was in Punjab, and the director told me it’s a 10-day project. Since I was in no mood at the time to travel abroad, I agreed to do it.”

Talking about how satisfied she is in her recent love affair – that with Kings XI Punjab – Preity says, “The ultimate satisfaction, of course, is winning the tournament, but the journey in itself has been very satisfying, since the boys have performed quite well all throughout. We have been a team that has found new talent and cultivated it, be it Shaun Marsh, Paul Valthaty or Parvinder Awana. All in all, the journey has been very hectic, but at the same time, it’s been fun.”

So, what about her plans of returning to the silver screen? “This September, I’ll be back after a gap of almost four years, with romantic-comedy Ishkq in Paris – a movie which I’ve produced, co-written and acted in.”

Ask her if her fans would accept her after this long a break, and she responds, “For today’s audience, the storyline is the only thing that matters. Hence, I am feeling very positive about the movie. But I would like to know, who are these people who won’t accept me? And, where are they when I am down in the dumps?”

And, her most cherished role so far? “Veer Zaara, undoubtedly. It was a definite game-changer for me; also because I got to play the roles of an 18-year-old and a 50-year-old in the same movie. But then again, there was a downside to it. After the movie, I thought to myself, ‘what next?’ In fact, I remember going up to Karan Johar and asking him to give me a ‘different’ role opposite Shah Rukh Khan in his next movie. That’s when Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (KANK) happened.”

In 2003, Preity’s act of testifying against Bharat Shah and standing up against the Indian mafia, made her the first recipient of Godfrey’s Mind of Steel Award at the annual Red and White Bravery Awards, for her courageous act of standing up against Mumbai’s underworld. “It’s amidst controversies that you discover your real self. Fake Bollywood controversies aside. Like in this Bharat Shah case, I discovered my strength. Otherwise, fake controversies doing the rounds in papers don’t really upset me.”

As a social activist, in 2010, Preity was appointed the brand ambassador of the NGO, The Loomba Trust – an organisation that works for the welfare of widows and their children. Preity lost her father at the age of 13, so she says she could relate to the problems faced by widows.

Later, she joined UNAIDS as their goodwill ambassador in India, to promote public awareness on HIV prevention, treatment and support. “People treat charity like a calling card; they use it as and when they feel like, without knowing if their efforts go in the right direction. I personally believe that charity has to reach the person who needs it the most.”

So, with all the charity and social work, do you regret any part of your life? “It’s very important to make mistakes, otherwise you won’t know the other side of life. Fortunately, all my mistakes have been constructive.”

As for her fitness mantra, she says, “Salman [Khan] once taught me that even if you’re not able to go to the gym, walk up the steps. Fitness is a part of you. I am not much of an alcohol person in general, thanks to the calories. If you want to have fun, limit your idiosyncrasies to your friends and your team.”



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