Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let's talk about ... Preity Zinta!

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.

10 comments:

Nicki said...

I think Preity's quite underrated. She's one of my faves. It's sad that she's always been consistent, like you say, but mainly got noticed for being in the Yash Raj banner. I always adored her after watching Dil Se and Soldier. I've actually seen all her films except a few.

Anita said...

I am most definitely reading! ;)

I find it funny how the way you came about loving Preity was the OPPOSITE of me. I saw Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega, Dil Chahta Hai and thought she was just another actress. It wasn't until Armaan and Koi Mil Gaya that I actually noticed her and set her apart from the usual actresses. Kal Ho Naa Ho, Dil Se and Veer-Zaara sealed the deal, of course. Actually, Dil Se and KHNH are both in my top three movies! :)

As for her recent repertoire, I actually like that she's doing off-beat films. It's a nice change. Seeing her in The Last Lear was interesting, as will be seeing her in Heaven on Earth. :)

memsaab said...

I've been told by people in the industry that Preity is looking old these days. Of course, she doesn't look as old as I do! so I scoff at such remarks...but sadly, she's getting to be over-the-hill for heroine roles in B'wood. I don't think she SHOULD be, but they aren't any kinder to the over-30 crowd than Hollywood.

piyaara said...

The first time I saw Preity was in 'Dil Se' too. Despite her role being small, she made a big impression on me and I sought out her other films after watching.

I remember thinking during the film;

"Shahrukh, dump the dull, laugh-a-minute terrorist and marry Preity, she's a lot more fun!'

bollyviewer said...

Isnt it interesting how she grows on one? I saw her first as the cute Cadbury's (or some other brand of chocolate) girl on TV ads and was somehow put off by her incredible cuteness. Her Dil Se debut did nothing for me either. But before I knew it, I'd fallen for those dimples and the cute naughty look. Then came Mission Kashmir where I realised that she fit into serious melodrama quite well and could rock Kashmiri costumes like nobody else. Since then I've liked her inspite of her (for the most part) unremarkable films and performance. Havent seen Last Lear yet. Perhaps she gets to flex her acting muscles there, finally.

theBollywoodFan said...

I liked Zinta in Jiya Jale (it's a fantastic song). In Mission Kashmir, she was fabulous. Then came Dil Chahta Hai in which she was fantastic, and I think she played a character with more emotional depth than many give her credit for. Since then, she's had bigger hits (box office quandaries work both ways!), but we agree on Kal Ho Naa Ho, Veer Zaara, and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.

I don't feel too strongly about her either way; I find her peers (Rani/Kajol/Tabu) to be much better actors with much better presence and awareness (therefore, more likeability) outside of film.

And as a cricket fan, I can tell you she's lost some popularity amongst us because of how she's tried to make everything be about her (sports franchise owners who meddle with their teams are usually not well received; that likely holds true across the globe). Then again, I think Shah Rukh (coaches would much rather report to him) beat her to the 'it's all about me' game while in the stands =)

Having said that, I am looking forward to The Last Lear. And with Salman in Heroes should be interesting too. Given the number of actors in it, one wouldn't expect her role to have much scope, but as you note, she has that ability to leave a last impression, and I don't doubt that'll be the case again. Especially in that wardrobe, she's looking gorgeous! (Wish she'd worn more of that at The Unforgettable Tour, where I thought she was surprisingly not very impressive at all).

Cheers!

ajnabi said...

Yay for Preity! I just read an interview with her about the "Heaven on Earth" film in which she says hopefully it'll change people's opinion about whether or not she can play a typical Indian girl. I'm a big fan of hers for reasons I can't define as well as you have here, so I'll stop blabbering now. ;-)

veracious said...

Nicki - Nearly all her films? So cool. :)

Anita - Haha, knew it! And yeah, our Preity journeys have been very different.

Memsaab - Old? Eh, maybe more her age than previously..

Piyaara - :D

bollyviewer - I also heard praise for her in Heroes, looking forward to that.

thebollywoodfan - I think she's much better than some of the overappreciated crop of the present (Katrina Kaif and what have you). But she's not the bestest Indian actress ever, either.

ajnabi - Oooh, very interesting. I should see that film.

call me tapan said...

hey do you know priety zinta won the best actress award in chicago international film festival for the movie heaven on earth by deep mehta. welll they are talking abt domestic violence in far canada. but in india its just common .like recenty in a survey they say that 48 % women in the state of orissa are facing domestic abuse and the number is higher in states like bihar and UP . in bihar its 55% .himachal pradesh is better off with just 5 % of women suffereing from abuse

call me tapan said...

well hope you will see more of her in the next few months. i am eagerly waiting for the movie heaven on earth