Celebrity Interview: Preity Zinta ...


By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, (IANS) Ever chirpy actress Preity Zinta would have been happy if it wasn't for the July 11 blasts. Both her delayed films "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" (KANK) and "Jaan-e-Man" have been finally wrapped up within a day of each other.

"My luck is such, I tell you! Both films started in New York. Both got delayed together. Both continued shooting almost together. Both ended with me shooting for a part of a song. My dates did clash. But I sorted them out. Now 'Alvida...' will come out in August and 'Jaan-e-Man' later," Preity told IANS.

Preity still can't get over the suddenness of the blasts.

"7/11 will go down as one of the darkest days in Mumbai. I was in court for the second hearing of my case against a tabloid. I had no clue what was happening even when I got out and was caught in the traffic.

"There was a huge ambulance in front of me. My phone was jammed. No one called, so I had no idea. It was only when I turned on the TV at home that I realised what had happened. I couldn't sleep the whole night," said Preity.

"It's time we did something drastic, like New York after 9/11. The city has lost its rough edges. Earlier you couldn't walk freely in certain parts of NY. The streets are safe now. Crime has dropped. Mumbai shouldn't be an easy target.

"It is so sad to see the working class hit so badly. Visuals of severed limbs will remain with me. We feel so helpless. We seriously need to think of the city's security. Stop the unchecked influx of migrants in the city. Check the slums."

Preity feels that instead of shutting down discos and pubs after such a tragedy the government should look at the root of the problem.

"How does that help anything? You need to clamp down on the root causes of such happenings. I can't imagine terrorists sitting in clubs after perpetrating their crime. What's the deal here?"

Preity's battle against a tabloid continues.

"The second hearing went well. The next hearing is in August. I am fighting for my right to dignity. It's the first time I had to look down at my toes in embarrassment (after a taped conversation purported to be between Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai were published in which Preity was allegedly referred to in the most unsavoury language and also refer to Salman's connections with the underworld)".

"Happily female journalists have supported me in this fight. Whenever I leave the industry I should do so with my head held high."

She has just shot a song for KANK with Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan.

"The film is over. We just finished a song. I danced my head off with Amit-ji and Abhishek. They are both so tall. I had to really crane my neck and feet to keep with them. This was my first song with the two.

"Amit-ji is outstanding. He wasn't well. His mom was in hospital. His house was flooded. And he was dancing away with me and Abhishek! If this isn't dedication, what is?

"We are just novices in front of Amit-ji. But I wonder what he must have been like when he was younger! I tend to grumble about little things like a broken down AC or a postponed schedule. Amit-ji never complains. I recently read the book on the making of 'Sholay' to get to know Amit-ji and Jaya Aunty."

She gets sentimental about the KANK wrap up party.

"I was the first to leave after Amit-ji. I had to leave early because of my court case the next day. But we had a blast."

Talking about her performance at International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, Preity said: "They wanted an Arabian Nights performance. I didn't have my own songs. So I had to dance to others' songs. But I got an amazing response."

She is quite relieved after wrapping up KANK and "Jaan-e-Man".

"Now that both my films KANK and 'Jaan-e-Man' are over I can afford to fall sick. I feel some virus coming on. In fact, I almost collapsed in court. When I walked out of court I felt so ill.

"And my joy at the completion of my films is clouded by what happened in Mumbai. I am scared that Mumbai is getting used to such periodical attacks. There should be special time-conserving courts for terrorist cases. But the innocent people shouldn't be arrested and tried. Our judicial system is fine. I am just fighting a legal battle myself, so I should know."

Preity is slightly wistful about not being part of the "Salaam Namaste" team a second time around.

"Their film is called 'Tara Rum Pam Pam'. That was meant to be the title of my first film Siddharth Anand has Rani (Mukerji) this time. That is okay. I am doing Shaad's film 'Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom' with Abhishek. Rani was in Shaad's last film."

After the premiere of "Alvida...' Preity leaves for London for 'Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom'.

"I am really looking forward to it. I am working with my friends here. Abhishek and Bobby are my pals. Shaad, if you remember had assisted Mani Rathnam during my first film 'Dil Se'. The only new person for me in 'Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom' is Lara Dutta. I hardly know her. But she is sweet. This film will rock."