Birthday Love: Five career defining roles of Preity Zinta

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31st January marks the 46th birthday of the very much loved Preity Zinta. Her dimpled smile has always managed to light up the screen along with her tremendous performances spanning over two decades.

Zinta is known for her versatility and has worked with some of Bollywood’s leading co-stars, such as Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan. BizAsiaLive.com looks back at five defining roles that Zinta has played, giving tough competition to the traditional Indian heroine of Hindi cinema.

‘Kya Kehna’ (2000)
In this film Zinta essays the character of Priya Bakshi, an innocent student who falls in love with Rahul Modi (Saif Ali Khan) who is known for his reputation as a playboy. The two soon get involved and although Bakshi wants their relationship to work, it soon becomes clear that Modi isn’t interested in commitment. She later finds out that she is pregnant with his child and is left to deal with the prospect of being a single parent. Directed by Kundan Shah, this film tackles the topic of teenage pregnancy whilst out of wedlock and the societal challenges that young women face.

Zinta showed very early on in her career that she had the ability to hold a film by herself and wasn’t afraid to take on unconventional roles. ‘Kya Kehna’ went on to win Best Film at the Filmfare Awards and Zinta was nominated for Best Actress.

‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ (KHNH) (2003)
Finding herself caught in a triangle of friendship and love, Zinta as Naina Catherine Kapur, an MBA student, captured the hearts and emotions of the audience as she tried to figure out her feelings. Starring alongside two heavyweights, Shah Rukh Khan (Aman Mathur) and Ali Khan (Rohit Patel), ‘KHNH’ was a refreshing modern-day love story set in New York City. Zinta’s style is completely transformed in this Karan Johar directorial and maintains equal screen presence as her co-stars. With a super-hit soundtrack to compliment the film, ‘KHNH’ triumphed at the box office and Zinta went on to win the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.

‘Veer-Zaara’ (2004)
Yash Chopra’s period-romantic drama was about Zaara Hayaat Khan (Zinta) a daughter of a Pakistani politician and Veer Pratap Singh (Khan), an Indian Army Officer who end up falling in love with each other, only to find that fate had other plans for the star-crossed lovers. Zinta and Khan’s chemistry was unmissable and proved why their pairing continued to be a favourite with fans. This role was more evolved and very different to anything Zinta had done before, proving her ability as a multi-talented actor. Packed with plenty of intense drama, the film reflected a more united relationship between India-Pakistan and that religion did not matter when it came to true love.

‘Salaam Namaste’ (2005)
Switching back to present times, Zinta reunites with Ali Khan once again and it was great to see the camaraderie between the two. Set in Australia, this is a tale of two Indians who leave their homeland to try make a life in a new country. Zinta essays the fun and feisty Radio Jockey, Ambar Malhotra and Ali Khan as Nikhil Arora, a trained architect-turned-chef. Directed by Siddharth Anand, this storyline was probably considered quite ahead of its time and bold also, as they were in a live-in relationship before marriage. You could say ‘Salaam Namaste’ (2005) and ‘Kya Kehna’ (2000) shared some similarities, bringing Zinta and Ali Khan full circle from their maiden film together.

‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ (KANK) (2006)
Another progressive film for Zinta courtesy of Johar, as he explores the topic of adultery in ‘KANK’ (2006). Rhea Saran (Zinta) is a fashion editor of a leading magazine and is married to Dev Saran (Khan). They find themselves drifting apart as Dev continually resents her successful career. Zinta’s character depicts a hardworking wife and mother who is let down by her husband. Also starring in ‘KANK’ (2006) was Abhishek Bachchan (Rishi Talwar) and Rani Mukherjee (Maya Talwar) who also gave equally good performances.

BizAsiaLive.com would like to wish Preity Zinta a very happy birthday.

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