What is it about Preity Zinta that has made her an unforgettable figure of the glamorous world? Be it an intimate film with intense complex emotions or a fun time cult classic such as Dil Chahta Hai, she always seemed well suited for the screen, her role. Can you think of any other actresses from the 90s era who has not worked in the longest time and yet has managed to make her fans miss her time and again?
Some of Preity Zinta's most popular hits are those that rewind to the past. Dil Se, Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, quickly cross our minds. Preity had an appeal that could belong to any era. Be it Rituparno Ghosh's The Last Lear or struggling student-cum-mom-cum-RJ, Amber from Salaam Namaste; Preity had an appeal which she carried along with herself. It's a sheer shame that Dharma Productions failed to recognize that.
In her career span as an actor, she had collaborated with Karan Johar only twice, (Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna) and both the times she was offered her part after another actress (Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kajol respectively) rejected the given role. But the possible controversies did not seem to bother her. Now, it's impossible to replace Naina Catherine Kapur or Riya Saran with any other face.
It was only directors such as Mani Ratnam, Rituparno Ghosh, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, even Rakesh Roshan who chose to go beyond her dimple face and allow her to be a strong character. Even as Nisha in Koi Mil Gaya, Preity single-handedly managed to give her character more integrity than a pretty face. You felt that when Nisha proudly chose to be the girlfriend of eight class failure Rohit (Hrithik Roshan), over hunky man Raj Saxena, played by Rajat Bedi, the designated bad guy of the Hindi films of the late 90s and early 20s. Despite being placed opposite the legendary beauty of the Hindi cinema Rekha, nothing deterred her spirit.
Before 2016, tabloids drove Preity crazy over the possibilities of a suitor. Random affair stories with cricketers followed too since she strongly wanted to invest in the cricket world. That was one of the things we always admired about Preity. She never chased to follow the same trend which was done by her peers. Not being married did not make her less confident, and unlike various other 'woke' actresses she had a separate opinion on the JNU incident in 2016, and she strongly stood by her statement, owing to the fact that she belonged to an army family and thereby her discipline lied in her love for the nation.
Be a glittery gold costume in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, a plain white Kurti in The Last Lear or be-spectacled look in Kal Ho Na Ho; All Preity Zinta had to do is casually show in front of the frame and do her job; right there she just left an unforgettable memory which makes us want to see more of her.
Today, she's married to someone outside the Hindi film circle, but not a day goes by when we do not wish for her presence back on screen. Not as a 'Goodenough' 90s hero, but a glamourous movie star with the dimples that can make melt a million hearts.
In 2018 when she staged her comeback with Bhaiyaji Superhit many critics had tsk-tsked her decision for choosing such a loose comeback, but did that bother her? In every interview, she had strongly stood by her choice to come back as the quirky woman, since she was tired of playing the same old strong woman on screen. Be it Salaam Namaste, Koi Mil Gaya, Dil Chahta Hai Lakshya, she was always part of a film packed with attractive heroes, the overdose of glamour, sceneries, in a nutshell, a complete Bollywood package.
It's a sheer shame that designers, fashionista couldn't visualize her in the classic face, with which she could have joined the pantheon of Bollywood beauties such as Rekha, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Madhubala. She had what it took to maintain the legacy, to be more than just an actress.