Actress Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta
Preity Zinta
31/01/1975
Shimla, India
7.9/10
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Actress Preity Zinta Biography

Preity Zinta is an Indian film actress. She has appeared in Hindi films of Bollywood, as well as Telugu, Punjabi and English language films. After graduating with a degree in criminal psychology, Zinta made her acting debut in Dil Se in 1998 followed by a role in Soldier the same year. These performances earned her a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award, and she was later recognised for her role as a teenage single mother in Kya Kehna (2000). She subsequently played a variety of character types her film roles along with her screen persona contributed to a change in the concept of a Hindi film heroine.

Zinta received her first Filmfare Best Actress Award in 2003 for her performance in the drama Kal Ho Naa Ho. She went on to play the lead female role in two consecutive annual top-grossing films in India: the science fiction film Koi... Mil Gaya, her biggest commercial success, and the star-crossed romance Veer-Zaara, which earned her critical acclaim. She was later noted for her portrayal of independent, modern Indian women in Salaam Namaste and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, top-grossing productions in overseas markets. These accomplishments have established her as a leading actress of Hindi cinema. Her first international film role was in the Canadian film Heaven on Earth, for which she was awarded the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival.

In addition to movie acting, Zinta has written a series of columns for BBC News Online South Asia, is a regular stage performer, and along with ex-boyfriend Ness Wadia she is a co-owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kings XI Punjab. She is known in the Indian media for publicly speaking her mind and openly expressing her opinions, and consequently has sparked the occasional controversy. These controversies include her being the only witness not to retract in court her earlier statements against the Indian mafia during the 2003 Bharat Shah case, for which she was awarded the Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Award.

Zinta was born into a Hindu Rajput family from Rohru in Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh. Her father, Durganand Zinta, was an officer in the Indian Army. He died in a car accident when she was 13 years old the accident also involved her mother, Nilprabha, who was severely injured and consequently remained bedridden for two years. Zinta called the tragic accident and her father`s death a significant turning point in her life, which forced her to mature rapidly. She has two brothers Deepankar and Manish, a year older and a year younger respectively. Deepankar is a commissioned officer in the Indian Army, while Manish lives in California.

Zinta, who describes herself as a tomboy as a child, has emphasised her father`s military background as having a lasting impression on how family life was conducted. He asserted the importance of discipline and punctuality to the children. She studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary boarding school in Shimla. Although she confesses to loneliness in the boarding school, she noted that it was compensated by her finding a "... perfect set of friends" there. As a student, she developed a love for literature, particularly the works of William Shakespeare and poetry. According to Zinta, she enjoyed schoolwork and received good grades in her free time she played sports, especially basketball.

Upon graduating from the boarding school at age 18, Zinta enrolled at St Bede`s College in Shimla. She graduated college with an English honours degree, and then started a graduate programme in psychology. She earned a postgraduate degree in criminal psychology, but later took up modelling. Zinta`s first television commercial was for Perk chocolates, the result of a chance meeting with a director at a friend`s birthday party in 1996. The director persuaded Zinta to audition for the spot, and she was selected. Afterwards, she appeared in other catalogues and commercials, including one for the soap Liril.

n 1997, Zinta met film-maker Shekhar Kapur when she accompanied a friend to an audition, and was asked if she would audition too. Upon seeing her audition, Kapur insisted that she become an actress. She was originally scheduled to make her screen debut in Kapur`s Tara Rum Pum Pum opposite Hrithik Roshan, but the filming was cancelled. Kapur later recommended her for director Mani Ratnam`s movie Dil Se. Zinta often recalls that when she joined the film industry, her friends teased her that she would typically "wear white saris and dance in the rain", thereby motivating her to play different parts.

Zinta commenced shooting for Kundan Shah`s Kya Kehna, whose release was delayed until 2000. The delay of another film, Soldier, meant that her first release was Dil Se (1998) opposite Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala. She was introduced as Preeti Nair, a middle-class Delhi girl and Khan`s fiancée. The film was considered an unusual launch for a newcomer, as her role called for only 20 minutes of screen time. However, she was eventually noticed for her role, particularly for the forthright character she played. Her scene with Khan, in which she asked him, "Are you a virgin?", became well-known, and her portrayal earned her a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award nomination. She played her first leading role in the action-drama Soldier (1998), a commercial hit of the year. She won the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award for her performance in both Dil Se and Soldier.

Zinta next acted in two Telugu films, Premante Idera (1998), opposite Venkatesh and Raja Kumarudu (1999), opposite Mahesh Babu. She followed with the leading role in the thriller Sangharsh, alongside Akshay Kumar. The film, based on The Silence of the Lambs (1991), was directed by Tanuja Chandra and written by Mahesh Bhatt. Zinta portrayed the character of Reet Oberoi, a CBI officer who falls in love with a captured killer played by Kumar. The film was not a box-office success, although Zinta`s performance was appreciated by critics.

Zinta`s first role in 2000 was in the drama Kya Kehna, which unexpectedly became a box-office success. The film addressed themes of single parenthood and teenage pregnancy, and gained Zinta wider recognition from the public as well as film critics. Her portrayal of a teenage single mother who fights social prejudice earned her several award nominations, including her first nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare Awards. India Today reported that Zinta belonged to a new breed of Hindi film actors that breaks away from character stereotypes.

Later that year, Zinta starred in Vidhu Vinod Chopra`s drama Mission Kashmir alongside Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan. Set in the valley of Kashmir during the Indo-Pakistani conflicts, the film dealt with the topic of terrorism and crime. Zinta`s role was that of Sufiya Parvez, a TV reporter and Roshan`s childhood love. A review in The Hindu said about her performance, "Preity Zinta is her usual cherubic self and lends colour to the otherwise serious proceedings". It was an economic success, becoming the third-highest grossing film of the year in India.

In 2001, Zinta earned positive reviews for her role in Farhan Akhtar`s National Film Award-winning Dil Chahta Hai, co-starring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna. Depicting the contemporary routine life of Indian affluent youth, it is set in modern-day urban Mumbai and focuses on a major period of transition in the lives of three young friends. Zinta starred as Aamir Khan`s love interest, Shalini. According to critics, the film broke new ground by showing Indian youth as they are today. Despite the critical reception, it was only a moderate box office success in India it performed well in the big cities but failed in the rural areas, which was attributed by critics to the urban-oriented lifestyle depicted in the movie. Rediff.com wrote of Zinta that she "... is beautiful and vibrant, wavering between endearingly naive and confused".

Three more 2001 releases featured Zinta, including Abbas-Mustan`s romantic drama Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, which was released after a one-year delay due to the trial of producer Bharat Shah. This film was one of the first Bollywood movies to address the controversial issue of surrogate childbirth. Zinta`s performance as Madhubala, a golden-hearted prostitute hired as a surrogate mother, earned her a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress nomination. Rediff.com noted, "Preity Zinta, who clearly has the meatiest part of all, makes the best of it. Her transformation from the cocky and unabashed prostitute to a sensitive and warm person is amazingly believable." Following her portrayal of a range of characters in Kya Kehna, Sangharsh and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Zinta gained a reputation for playing roles that go against Indian traditional mores and was often recognised for her versatility as an actress. Critics attributed her roles in these films as to establishing a new image for leading actresses in Bollywood.

In 2002, Zinta collaborated once again with director Kundan Shah, as the protagonist in the family drama Dil Hai Tumhaara, alongside Rekha, Mahima Chaudhry and Arjun Rampal. Although the film did not succeed at the box office, her portrayal of Shalu, an adopted daughter craving love, was critically acclaimed. Taran Adarsh from indiaFM noted, "... Preity Zinta, in an author-backed role ... steals the show with a sterling performance. Her scenes with Rekha (second half) and Alok Nath (pre-climax) are simply outstanding. Here`s a performance that is sure to win accolades from the junta and critics whole-heartedly."

Zinta was the female lead in India`s three highest-grossing films of 2003: The Hero: Love Story of a Spy, Koi... Mil Gaya and Kal Ho Naa Ho. The Hero, co-starring Sunny Deol and Priyanka Chopra, is a patriotic drama about a spy network involving terrorists and an Indian army officer. Zinta played the part of Reshma, a villager who falls in love with the officer and becomes part of this network. The film, involving stunts never seen before in the cinematic history of Bollywood, became the most expensive Hindi film ever produced at the time. Despite being the third highest-grossing film of that year, it failed to recover its production costs at the box office. She next starred in Honey Irani`s directorial debut, Armaan, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Kapoor. This drama is set in a hospital and follows the travails of its personnel and its principal, Dr. Akash, who struggles arduously to sustain the institution financially. Zinta played Akash`s schizophrenic wife Sonia Kapoor. The film received predominantly positive reviews, and Zinta was particularly praised. The Tribune concluded, "Zinta has outclassed everyone with her convincing performance." For her performance, she received nominations for Best Villain at different award ceremonies, including Filmfare.

Rakesh Roshan`s science-fiction film Koi... Mil Gaya, about a developmentally disabled young man, followed. Co-starring with Rekha and Hrithik Roshan, Zinta played the role of Nisha, a young woman whom Roshan befriends. She received another Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare for the role. The movie was a financial and critical success and became the most popular film of the year, as well as Zinta`s highest-grossing movie, with a domestic total of Rs 425 million it won the Filmfare Best Movie Award, among others.

Zinta`s final release of 2003 was Kal Ho Naa Ho, a tearjerker set in New York City. It was directed by Nikhil Advani and written by Karan Johar, co-starring Jaya Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan. The film was received favourably by critics and became India`s second-biggest hit of the year after Koi... Mil Gaya. It also did well internationally and became India`s top-grossing film of the year overseas, earning over Rs 750 million worldwide. Zinta played the role of Naina Catherine Kapur, an insecure and angry young Indian-American woman who falls in love with a man who has a fatal heart disease. She won several awards for her performance, including the Filmfare Best Actress Award. Derek Elley from Variety wrote, "Zinta, who`s been carving a growing following the past three years or so, has never been better, definitively moving from juve roles to a charismatic young woman with her sexy, assured Naina."

In 2004 she starred as TV journalist Romila Dutta in Farhan Akhtar`s war drama Lakshya, co-starring with Hrithik Roshan. The film was based on the historical events of the 1999 Kargil Conflict Zinta`s character was modeled after TV journalist Barkha Dutt, the only female reporter assigned to the story. The film was a critical success, yet her performance received mixed reviews Rediff.com noted, "Zinta has quite a good role and a good deal of footage in the film, and she does a fairly decent job of it without ever being spectacular." Later that year, Yash Chopra cast her opposite Shahrukh Khan as the female lead in the love saga Veer-Zaara, the top-grossing Bollywood film of that year in both India and abroad, earning over Rs 900 million worldwide. The film, which relates the love story of an Indian officer, Veer Pratap Singh, and a Pakistani woman, Zaara Haayat Khan, had a strong international release, including a screening at the Berlin Film Festival, and won several Best Movie awards in major Indian award ceremonies. For her portrayal of Zaara, a smart Pakistani girl, Zinta received her fourth Filmfare Best Actress nomination. Variety hailed her as "the most interesting young actress of her generation," writing that she "is her usual lively self as the willful Zaara." Veer-Zaara was Zinta`s second highest-grossing film and third major success in two consecutive years. It marked the beginning of her work with Yash Raj Films, one of the largest production houses in Bollywood.

In 2005, Zinta appeared in two movies. Her first release was the folk comedy Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen, co-starring Govinda, a production that had been delayed since 2002. The film garnered negative reviews and poor box office returns. Zinta`s role was small, and was not well received. Her next release was Siddharth Anand`s comedy-drama Salaam Namaste, co-starring Saif Ali Khan. Produced by Yash Raj Films, it was the first Indian movie to be filmed entirely in Australia and went on to become the year`s highest-grossing Bollywood production overseas, with revenues of Rs 570 million internationally. The film tells the story of a contemporary cohabiting Indian couple. Zinta played the female protagonist Ambar Malhotra, a single modern young woman who leaves India to make her own life in Australia. The film was well received by critics, and Zinta`s performance earned her nominations for Best Actress at a number of award ceremonies. Taran Adarsh wrote, "After Kya Kehna, Preity Zinta accepts the challenge of portraying an unwed mother yet again in Salaam Namaste. The actor is terrific, delivering her most accomplished performance to date. Her lip locks with Saif Ali Khan will catch a lot of people unaware, but that`s the sign of a thorough professional." The New York Times noted, "She is cheerleader-homecoming queen-fraternity sweetheart pretty, so even when her characters are being unkind it`s hard not to like her."

Zinta received further success in 2006, starring in Karan Johar`s drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna with an ensemble cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji and Kirron Kher. The film became one of the biggest box office hits in India, earning Rs 458 million, and grossed over Rs 480 million overseas, the biggest Bollywood success of all time in the overseas market up until then. It was her fourth overseas top-earner in four consecutive years. The film tells the story of two unhappily married couples in New York, and an ensuing extramarital affair. Zinta played the role of Rhea Saran, an ambitious fashion magazine editor. She described the role as an attempt to shed her vivacious public image. The Indian Express concurred that this was successful: "The lady has not just looked glamorous but she has walked with poise, sat with grace, smiled with composure and spoke with calmness. Who would have thought that the bubbly girl could so skillfully shed her age-old tag and walk away as the don`t-mess-with-me lass. So all those who are in search of the peppy Preity, well guys you`ve dialed the wrong number this time."

She then starred in Shirish Kunder`s romantic musical Jaan-E-Mann, a story set in the United States about two men, played by Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar, who love the same woman. The film received positive reviews from critics, yet performed poorly at the box office. Zinta played the role of Piya, the cynosure of two men. She was mostly criticised for taking a role of minimal importance, though her performance was generally well-received. Raja Sen described her role as "ornament throughout," but further stated that she "comes vividly alive in the film`s last scene, a moment that makes you lament why filmmakers today don`t let the babyfaced actress have more fun instead of forcing her to sob copiously. She doesn`t have much to do in Jaan-E-Mann, but looks appropriately attractive." Zinta said that the film was a great relief after the more emotionally intense Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, as Jaan-E-Mann was "easy, happy and much more simple".

In 2007 Zinta portrayed a British Pakistani woman, Alvira Khan, in her third project with Yash Raj Films, Shaad Ali`s comedy Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, alongside Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol and Lara Dutta. The film was a critical and commercial failure in India. She was criticised for her performance The Times of India described her as "too plastic" and Rediff.com concluded, "From accent to emotion, Preity is plain and simple insufferable in this film."

In 2007, following the failure of two of her commercial releases, Zinta began working with art film directors, and turned towards neo-realistic movies, known in India as parallel cinema. She acted in her first English film, Rituparno Ghosh`s The Last Lear, as a struggling theatre actress opposite Amitabh Bachchan. The film premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and was received well. The first reviews were approving, with Rajeev Masand writing, "Preity Zinta gets through her scenes competently, never allowing her cute-as-a-button image to take away from the impact she makes here as a conflicted, mature woman." Zinta said about her first art film, "I did think with art films that they don`t pay you, they don`t feed you, but I was wrong, and I`m so happy to be here."

Zinta next starred in Samir Karnik`s Heroes (2008), a road movie about two final-year film students who, as a part of their assignment, travel a thousand miles across North India to deliver three un-posted letters written by army personnel who lost their lives during the 1999 Kargil war to their families. The story unfolds the journey of these students in three chapters and follows how they meet and are inspired by the families of the soldiers. Zinta is featured in the first chapter as Salman Khan`s war widow, Kuljeet Kaur, a woman who becomes the sole breadwinner of the family and single-handedly raises her son. In preparation for the role, Zinta attended Anupam Kher`s acting school to learn the dialect and mannerisms of a Punjabi woman. Both her performance and the film received rave reviews Anand Singh of Hindustan Times wrote, "Karnik is merely interested in wringing tears the old-fashioned way, and not in starting a debate. He succeeds—mainly because Preity Zinta brings to a role a gravitas and dignity that is seen on the faces of ordinary women—this may be her coming of age as an actress."

By April 2008, Zinta completed shooting for Jahnu Barua`s drama Har Pall and Deepa Mehta`s Canadian film Heaven on Earth, a Punjabi language drama based on the true story of a non-resident Indian battered wife. Her performance in Heaven on Earth earned her the Best Actress (Silver Hugo) award at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival, for "her strong yet subtle performance as a woman struggling to keep her dreams despite brutal realities."

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Preity Zinta Fans Reviews (4)

Salaam preity maim m Muslim from Pakistan u my elder sister I pray to Allah 2015winner 100% KXIP ....

Gulzar Ali waris, Pakistan Lahore on 22-04-2015

Prity is our pahari women and she is very strong

BL Chauhan, Shimla on 13-07-2014

masha allah what a beauty mam !!! i like u vry much n ua dimples woow lots of lov to u

safwan ashraf, bangalore on 04-05-2015

hi preity, guess what my bihday also is on 31st of Januay

nafeeza, mauritius on 22-01-2014

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