February 1, 2001,
More than a pretty face
back in business
Ash & cash
More than a pretty face
PREITY Zinta was signed at first sight by Shekhar Kapur for a film called Ta Ra Rum Pum Pum, which never got made. During the three years that followed the director got busy in Hollywood and pursued the success of his Bandit Queen with Elizabeth, and now a biopic on Nelson Mandela.
Meanwhile Preity, has made waves in Bollywood with a series of outstanding releases like Mani Ratnamís Dil Se, Abbas-Mastanís Soldier, Kundan Shahís Kya Kehna and Vidhu Vinod Chopraís Mission Kashmir. Her latest are Farz and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke.
These films have not only placed her among Mumbaiís top-ranking actresses, but also established the fact that there is more to Preity than a pretty face. More than that, she has proved that eventually persistence and professionalism pays in an acting career.
"I am an eternal optimist," says the popular Ms Dimples. "It was a little heart-breaking in the beginning when I couldnít do the film with Shekhar Kapur. But as time passed, I found work with other directors. I was determined to stay put in Mumbai and make it in life."
Like many upcoming stars of her generation, Preity has no film background to speak of. She arrived in Mumbai in 1997 on a holiday and met Kapur is a chance encounter. "He took one look at me and asked a few questions," she narrates. "The next thing I knew I was in Ta Ra Rum Pum Pum..."
Much as the film was abandoned midway, Preity learnt a valuable lesson from that encounter: "I began to recognise the power of destiny. I had no intention ever to be an actress. I wanted to be an air pilot actually. But destiny took me to Mumbai and without trying too hard, here I am as an actress."
Preity did not even train in an acting school: "Just seconds before a shot, I become a different woman altogether. I am not Preity, I unconsciously turn into the character of the film. The first time I realised this, I felt I had the makings of an actress. I was born to act!"
But then, she is not one to either take talent for granted or rest on her laurels. For as she points out, at the root of every success story there is a history of hard work, dedication, honesty and above all, the determination to make it big in life.
"I may be gifted, but that is no substitute for the effort I put in to achieve excellence. I know I would succeed most of the time. I also know I may fail some time, but through every experience, I will be nearing where every good actress wants to reach."
On a philosophical note she says: "I believe in the language of the heart. And the heart rarely talks because it knows exactly when, how and why to speak. It speaks in the language of its beats. At times I wonder who is greater ó the heart or the mind?"
If there is, however, one aspect of her career she regrets, it is of having to play the archetypal heroine seducing the hero. In the absence of any "challenging role" coming her way, she continues to repeat herself in "playing the seduction game".
"They donít make films the way directors like Mehboob Khan, K. Asif or Guru Dutt did," explains Preity. "Those films demolished all stereotypes and explored the inner psyche of women to create icons like Meena Kumari, Nargis, Waheeda Rahman and so on. That standard of filmmaking is lacking today."
She, however, hastily adds that as a little girl she hasnít been much of a Hindi film watcher and is in no position to pass judgement on the great classics. But if she were to name her ideal in Hindi cinema, it would be Guru Dutt. The only other actor who comes close to him is Amitabh Bachchan ó of course.
NO, contrary to what you thought, Ram Gopal Varma is not hibernating after Jungle. He is neck deep in yet another film Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, a remake of Hollywood hit Fatal Attraction. Of course, it goes without saying that Urmila Matondkar is once again playing the lead.
Fardeen Khan and Sonali Kulkarni play the couple in love. Ramuís ex chief assistant director Rajat Mukherjee is directing the film. The Ramu- Urmila combination has proved a winner at the box office time and again in films like Rangeela, Satya and Jungle. Will it once again come up trumps? Wait and watch.
MENTION the name Crispin Conroy to Manisha Koirala these days and you will see a faint blush on her face. For all of you who are dying to ask, "Crispin who?" hereís news. Australian Crispin Conroy is the latest special somebody in the lovely Ms Koiralaís life. Has she found true love at last? The lady is not telling.
All she is willing to say is, "Heís a very nice, very sweet guy". Ask her about her marriage plans and she says that just because she likes somebody it doesnít mean she is going to marry him and frankly they havenít thought about it right now. Oh no, here we were hoping...
THE autumn of this amazing actress seems to get rosier. There are no regrets, no spells of nostalgia and no looking back. And, at an age when life should be on a slow roll, Rekha seems to be swamped with offers. Itís another matter though that she rejects most of them.
Back in 1970 when she made a somewhat hesitant debut with Sawan Bhadon, even the best astrologer in the business couldnít have predicted what was in store for this amazing actress. Sheís had her share of romances, scandals and marriages. Sheís done practically every kind of role but she says sheís still waiting for the right ones. And which would that be? Rekha smiles mysteriously, "It could be Zubieda. Letís wait and see."
Ash & cash
NOW, now, whatís happening to the Queen of Hearts, Aishwarya Rai? We all were convinced that the numero uno actress has been professionalism personified in hit after hit. But industry insiders say that may now be a thing of the past.
Apparently, she walked out of Indra Kumarís forthcoming film after committing to do it. Rumours have it that the sum she demanded was unheard of. It sounds hard to believe but people are ready to swear by it. In fact, they add that Indra Kumar is so furious that to get even with Ash he has signed none other than her arch-rival Karishma Kapoor. Ashís loss is Loloís gain!
TRUST Nana Patekar to be different. Heís still living in his small Versova apartment; the actor says that he wouldnít leave it even for Bukhingham Palace. "Itís been with me since my struggling days, so why should I abandon it now."
The apartment has been aesthetically done up perhaps by an accomplished interior designer. But Nana denies it. The only thing he says that has been renovated is the bar. Not because he has suddenly developed a taste for Scotch but because he can now afford the firangi stuff for his friends. As for him he still loves his Indian rum. No foreign brand can come between him and his heady stuff.
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