“I am not one to regret anything” – Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta who turns a year older this week is back in the thick of Bollywood. In a freewheeling interview with Subhash K Jha she talks about her voluntary decision to take a sabbatical from acting to focus on her stint as the owner of an IPL team. With characteristic candour she evaluates her current film career and also lays bare her inner thoughts on matters pertaining to money and the heart.

What plans for your birthday?
I think I’ll only invite those friends who bring expensive gifts along.

Do you feel your career as a movie actor has suffered because of your participation in the IPL?
Of course it has. But it was extremely conscious decision. It was a new challenge that I wanted to take on. Having done so, if I were to do it half-hearted I’d have been accused of taking on more than I could handle. But I must say this film industry has given me everything. And I owe my entire success to it. I wouldn’t have wanted to shoot for three days and then taken off for a foreign country with the IPL for a fortnight. I couldn’t balance both careers. Now that the IPL is settled I am back to doing movies. I am now entering the most interesting phase of my career.

Last year you produced Ishkq In Paris which went horribly wrong?
I wouldn’t say it went horribly work. But yes, it didn’t work out. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. On our very first day of shooting temperatures fell to minus 23 degrees in Paris. It was the coldest European winter in 65 years. Then the train we were shooting on broke down, someone committed suicide. Every mistake I could make, I made. I am someone who has an opinion and I like to assert myself. I should have been more assertive. The only consolation is, no one in this movie industry lost a single penny because of my movie. Every actor has a failure. It’s okay. There are lots of things that have worked. This didn’t. So what? I’m the kind of person who runs even harder after I fall.

The past few years have seen a lot of upheavals in your life. Do you regret the IPL phase?
I am not one to regret anything. I am not much of a planner either. I don’t know why but my name was brought into every controversy regarding the IPL’s relationship with the entertainment industry. Which is okay. I am okay with the good bad and the ugly. I can handle it. When the going is not so great you know who you are and who your friends are. So bring on the bad and the good. I can take both on my chin. I am a gutsy gal.

Is there someone else in your life since Ness Wadia?
That was over in 2009. You think I’d remain single all these years? Whatever is happening with me is good. People say I am looking happy. That’s because I am. But if I frown for two seconds that gets pasted on the internet. I am still the same person that I was five or ten years ago. It’s the people around me who have changed. Equations change, perspective change. That’s life. There is very little to complain about. If you sit me next to Bill Gates I’ll feel like a non-achiever. But if you place me next to someone who is terminally ill I’d feel blessed for the gift of life.

In other words, respect yourself?
It doesn’t matter how the world looks at you. It’s how you look at yourself that matters. I’ve great friends, a great life. As for my career, abhi toh picture baqi hai, mere dost. If after 30 years I can convey even an iota of the grace possessed by Jaya Aunty (Bachchan) or Tanuja Aunty, I am blessed.



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