Preity Zinta talks about donning the deglam avatar and opening new doors with her forthcoming film, Videsh
Well it has definitely been a very challenging role for me and I am very excited about it. It was very well received abroad and now I want the people of this country to go and see the film. Its releasing on 27th March and I hope people like this film and appreciate it.
There are also rumours floating that the plot of Videsh is very similar to Aishwarya starrer Provoked, is it true?
I think that whenever a film is on the verge of its release then people always try compare it with a film that has released in past. After people have seen Videsh, they will realize that it′s a very different film. I am pretty sure that, after the film has released, there won′t be any comparison of this film with films from past. I am not comparing Videsh with any other film. I am just keeping my fingers crossed and wishing and hoping for all the best. I just hope that people go and see this film without any pre conceived notion and give it a fair shot. I was not that nervous when the film released in Canada, I said to myself that it has done exceptionally well and made lots of money and it got acclaim from all quarters. But it feels more amazing to be accepted in your own community and I really hope that people like this film when it′s released here.
Have you seen Provoked?
Well, I have seen a part of it. I have not seen the whole film.
It must have been quite a novel experience for you as the role is devoid of any glamour?
Well, even in past I have done deglamourized roles. It was not the deglam role that bothered me; it was more like what will it do to my soul that bothered me. I think when you see the film then you will realize that what a powerful role it has been. It really becomes easy because you leave the trappings of a star and you don′t have to worry about your make up or your hairstyle. And this film is more about soul or make-ups and I am happy that it′s turned that way.
Preity, tell us a bit about the film?
Well the film is inspired by a play called Nagamandala. Videsh - Heaven on Earth is the story of a girl called Chand who leaves her house and then goes to Canada. There she gets married to a guy whom she has never seen or met before. She has no clue what her would be husband is like, then onwards it′s her story and her self-discovery and also of living in Canada.
Would you consider your role in Videsh as a defining role in your career?
I would definitely say that it has redefined me as an actor though it′s not a defining role for me. I would emphasis on this, that playing Chand has redefined me as an actor, it was a new door for me and I am very proud of it. When the film was screened at the Toronto film festival, so many people came to me who were not Indians and they said that where have you been hiding all these years and we did not even know that you could do something like this. So in all, it felt fantastic. Of course people in India know me but even there lots of Indians saw the film and they said that it′s so not you, which for me is the greatest compliment as an actor.
Ok, on a professional front did you get to learn anything while shooting the film?
Definitely this is a film which obviously is a great film for someone who wants to hone their acting skill and take a leap ahead as an actor but it′s also an issue based film and to me it′s really important. If you were to go back in the history of my interviews, you will realize that I have said this often that it′s good to do films that are entertaining but it′s also good to do films that are educative and are issue based because these are the kind of films that go to the layman out there who get influenced by cinema. After that they themselves bring out the issue. It′s a realistic film and is done with lots of dignity and lots of honesty. I was really worried when the film opened in Canada but because of our religion and culture, which is so widespread that everyone got it and it felt great. I felt a big smile on my face when everyone was talking about the film after coming out from the screening.
I am sure you must have been flooded with compliments after the film released in Canada.
I got a lot compliments for this role. For this film I would like to move away from me being praised as an actor, of course you feel great when you win the best actresses award even without knowing that you are nominated or expecting something like this. I was the first Indian to be nominated in Canada for the Genies award, which is like equivalent to Canadian Oscars, and be in the company of accomplished actors like Susan Sarandon. I think these are the things, which I will always look back and say ok, this is my first attempt at a different film and I won an award for it, and that feels great.
What was your initial reaction when Deepa Mehta approached you for this film?
Oh I was very excited when Deepa approached me for this film. To be very honest when I read the script for the first time, I was stunned and then I said this is it. I told myself that you know Preity, that if you want to do something different, this is what you had asked for so I did not think too much about it.
After this, is there any desire in you now to reach out to world audience?
Well an actor likes to be appreciated anywhere, it does not matter which boundary or culture is it. You would like to be appreciated anywhere and everywhere for your craft so off course it feels special to have had the screening at Toronto. I think it′s always the first time thing that does it for you and after that you get used to it. Eventually the final stamp of approval would be only after the film works in India.
You are involved heavily with issue related causes, please tell us a bit?
I work a lot on issue based subjects. I work on female infanticide and I was one of the first few people to start campaigning for HIV issue. I have worked a lot with women who have suffered domestic violence and abuse. Yes, I do feel sometimes that as an actress you can go and work for a charity and help people out there but sometimes doing an issue based film can help lot more people so why not. I have a very strong conscience and feel that when God gives you so much in life, it′s time to give back.
Please tell us a bit about the scene when Rocky slaps you?
Oh yes, there is a scene in the film when Rocky was supposed to slap me, and I am pretty sure that he must be nervous while doing that scene. But I did not know what was going to come out of that scene and then he took one step ahead and got all excited and then it was bang. After that of course I saw trains, planes and submarines in that shoot. It was horrible.
Lastly, how are the expectations for IPL this year?
I am very excited about IPL but how much hard work I do, they are not going to let me play.
Thanks a lot.