Yes, the first lady to be featured on the "Let's talk about" series (also known as the "I have nothing else of interest to post about" series) is Preity Zinta. It was a few days back that I got to thinking how Preity is an odd favourite of mine; I used to not like her and then slowly, without there being any particular moment of realization, she became a favourite. I've not seen all of her film catalogue, far from it, really, but I think I've more or less seen the quintessential Preity films, so let's talk.
She debuted in Dil Se, not the least interesting film to debut in. Her role of course was minor and therefore really didn't leave an impact on me, which I suppose can be said about all of my first films with her. Curiously enough, all of those films had her star opposite Shahrukh Khan. Veer-Zaara and Kal Ho Naa Ho aren't the worst movies out there, and I think she's quite alright in both roles, but something about her in all of these three films left me cold. A lot has been said about their jodi, and I don't want to rag on it, if partly because I know the biggest Preity-Shahrukh fan, Anita, might be reading this post! Let's just say I think it's not so much a fault of the jodi, but that the movies - as movies - left me unimpressed.
But as I watched more of Preity, I was struck by how consistent her work was. Even in a part-trainwreck like Kya Kehna she gives a memorable performance. Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, despite having two other major stars in it, managed to become all Preity's by the "The End" screen. The tragic romance between her and Hrithik in Mission Kashmir was without a doubt the best thing in the movie as far as I'm concerned.
Preity did not always blow me away, but she always did so good I couldn't not like her. And like that, little by little, I became a fan.
I suppose the tragedy of Preity nowadays is that she's not the most sought out actress in Bollywood, though there are so many reasons why she could (and perhaps should!) be. In fact, when I thought about making this post, I had to consciously decide not to let it drift into Rant Zone by detailing why it upsets me so much that box office success decides how much work the star gets offered. The latest three films by her that I've seen, I've simply adored her in all of them:
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna certainly was not great, but Preity's role in it was without a doubt one of my favourite things about it. Then there was Jaan-e-Mann, a flawed but funny, endearing movie alongside Akshay and Salman. And of course, my biggest favourite of the three, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom where we finally got to witness the Abhi-Preity jodi and it fully rocked the house.
Then Preity became busy managing a cricket team and thanks to the non-success of JEM and JBJ, she probably wasn't getting a ton of offers. Thankfully the lady has a few movies coming out, and while Heroes and Har Pall do not look the most enticing films to come out in the future, it's definitely better than nothing.