Preity Zinta is 34 years old today. In a recent interview, this focussed actress and pretty tough businessperson explained the origins of her suggestion that she had British blood in her veins — whatever that means. “I’m the rare combination of British and Rajput blood,” she says before going on to claim that the Zinta clan was born of a marital alliance in the 18th century between high-ranking Rajput and British families.
Preity most famously demonstrated her strength of mind when she testified against the Indian mafia in the Chota Shakeel case, out of which she received a series of death threats and the Red & White Bravery Award. “To be brave is not to be fearless,” she said at the time, “It is when you fear something and you get over it, then you can be called brave. I am human. It is not that I fear nothing. But getting over a fear is a continuous process and I have been successful so far.”
Preity was involved in a very interesting range of films last year — Deepa Mehta’s heartrending Heaven on Earth, a stunning performance in The Last Lear with Amitabh Bachchan and Arjun Rampal – and the ensemble movie Heroes with Salman Khan, Amrita Arora, Riya Sen and the Deols amongst others. Coming up soon, she will be seen in Har Pal with Isha Koppikar, Shiney Ahuja and Dino Morea.
But that’s not all for our busy little bee. The IPL cricket season is about to start and Preity has high hopes for King’s XI Punjab Lions team and is in the throes of organising a regional T20 tournament between Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. “My aim is to promote cricket at the grass-root level and to nurture new talent, she explains, “I also want everyone involved to have fun.”
And then there’s the rumour that Preity will replace Farhan Akhtar on Oye It’s Friday. “Yes, Preity is one of the probable candidates,” says a source, “Apparently, Anupam Kher is another name that was doing the rounds. Though things are not yet finalised, it is likely to be Preity who will host the show.”
About her birthday Preity says, “My thoughts on my birthday are, I want to stop thinking and start doing things. It breaks my heart to see the slums in Bandra just opposite where I stay. People live like animals there! After Slumdog Millionaire, I realised, ‘Shit, this is how Mumbai is being seen in the West! I want a clean Mumbai. First of all, we need to look into the problem of illegal immigrants. In India, ‘Mehmaan Bhagwan hota hai.’ I urge immigrants to come to Mumbai through the right channels and they’ll be welcome. There are slums coming up all over Mumbai because of arbitrary migrants.”