Preity Zinta who turns a year older today is back in the thick of Bollywood. She talks about her decision to take a sabbatical from acting to focus on her stint as an IPL team owner. With characteristic candour, the actress evaluates her current film career and also lays bare her inner thoughts on matters pertaining to money and the heart. Excerpts...
What are your birthday plans?
I’ll only invite those friends who bring expensive gifts.
Do you feel your career has suffered because of your participation in the IPL?
Of course it has. But it was an extremely conscious decision. It was a new challenge that I wanted to take. Having done so, if I were to do it half-heartedly, I’d have been accused of taking on more than I could handle. But I must say this film industry has given me everything. And I owe my entire success to it. I couldn’t balance both careers. Now that the IPL is settled, I am back to doing movies. I am now entering the most interesting phase of my career.
You will produce more films?
Yes. But not just to give myself acting opportunities. Not all the films I produce will star me. Besides movies, I will be doing other things. If you read the first interview of my career, you will see I said I don’t want to just act. And here I am. I still feel the same way.
Last year you produced Ishkq In Paris which went horribly wrong...
I wouldn’t say it went horribly wrong. But yes, it didn’t work out. Every mistake I could make, I made. I have an opinion and like to assert myself. I should have been more assertive. The only consolation is, no one in this movie industry lost a single penny because of my movie. Every actor has a failure. It’s okay. There are a lot of things that have worked. This didn’t. So what? I’m the kind of person who runs even harder after I fall.
The past few years have seen a lot of upheavals in your life...
I am not one to regret anything. I don’t know why but my name was brought into every controversy regarding the IPL’s relationship with the entertainment industry. I am okay with the good bad and the ugly. I can handle it. When the going is not so great you know who you are and who your friends are.
Has the IPL stint alienated you from the film industry?
I have no complaints against anyone. If I’ve been away from the entertainment industry it’s because I am not into selling myself. You won’t see me buying space to get written about. I want to be appreciated for the work that I do.
Is there someone else in your life since Ness Wadia?
That was over in 2009. You think I’d remain single all these years? Whatever is happening with me is good. People say I am looking happy. That’s because I am. But if I frown for two seconds that gets pasted on the internet. I am still the same person that I was five or ten years ago. It’s the people around me who have changed. Equations change, perspectives change. That’s life. There is very little to complain about. If you seat me next to Bill Gates I’ll feel like a non-achiever. But if you place me next to someone who is terminally ill I’d feel blessed for the gift of life.
In other words, respect yourself?
It doesn’t matter how the world looks at you. It’s how you look at yourself that matters. I have great friends, a great life. As for my career, picture abhi baqi hai, mere dost. If after 30 years I can convey even an iota of the grace possessed by Jaya aunty (Bachchan) or Tanuja aunty, I am blessed.