Preity Zinta

  • Actor, Writer, Producer, Screenplay, Dialogue Writer

Jan 31, 1975  in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

Also Known as: Preetam Singh Zinta

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Known for her bubbly personality, chirpy nature, and the dimpled smile that won her legions of fans, Preity Zinta is an Indian actress who debuted with a small role in the 1998 movie, Dil Se. The same year she went on to star in the action movie, Soldier. In 2004 she became the first actress to receive a Filmfare nomination for both, the Best Actress and Best Villain awards in a single year. Preity won the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival for her first international film role in Deepa Mehta's Heaven on Earth (2008). Apart from being a successful actress, Preity is also a social activist, a stage performer, and a successful business-woman. Her production company PZNZ Media is a co- owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kings XI Punjab since 2008.

Preity was born to Durganand Zinta, an officer in the Indian Army, and Nilprabha. At 13 she lost her father in a car accident. Her mother was also bedridden for two years after the accident. Preity has an elder brother Deepankar, who is with the Indian Army, and a younger brother, Manish, who lives in California. Preity completed her schooling from The Lawrence School, Himachal Pradesh. Her loneliness in boarding schools lead to her developing a keen interest in literature and she found solace in the works of William Shakespeare. She later graduated with English honors from the St. Bede's College in Shimla and also pursued a graduate program in psychology. She further pursued a postgraduate degree in Criminal Psychology.

Preity married her long-time American partner Gene Goodenough at a private ceremony in Los Angeles on 29th February 2016. Goodenough is Senior VP for Finance at NLine Energy, a US- based hydroelectric power company.

Preity was introduced to the glamorous world of movies after a chance meeting with a director at a friend's birthday party in 1996. The director offered her a chance to appear in a commercial for Perk chocolates. She accepted and the rest is history.

Preity's Bollywood career however was off to a bumpy start. She was initially set to star in Shekhar Kapur's Tara Rum Pum Pum, opposite Hrithik Roshan. But it got shelved. Preity then started shooting for two films simultaneously- Soldier (1998) and Kya Kehna (2000). As fate would have it, both the movies got delayed and she made her debut with a small role in Mani Ratnam's Dil Se (1998). Within a screen-time of 20 minutes, Preity shared screen space with Shah Rukh Khan and got a Filmfare nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her first lead role was opposite Bobby Deol in Soldier. In 1998 Preity got her first Filmfare Award, for Best Female Debut, for her role in Dil Se and Soldier. She ventured down South with movies like Premante Idera (1998) and Raja Kumarudu (1999). In Tanuja Chandra's thriller Sangharsh (1999), Preity plays CBI officer Reet Oberoi, who is on the trail of a serial killer. Although she starred alongside seasoned actors like Akshay Kumar and Ashutosh Rana, Preity won a lot of accolades for her performance.

In 2000, Preity played Priya Bakshi, a single teen mother, who battles social prejudice, in the movie Kya Kehna. Apart from the Filmfare Award nomination for Best Actress, Preity received several other nominations too. She went on to appear in movies such as Mission Kashmir (2000), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), and Lakshya (2004). Although these movies established Preity as a top actor, her other movies like Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001), and Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002), proved to be box-office disasters. In 2003 Preity had lead roles in the top three highest grossing movies of year; The Hero: Love Story of a Spy, Koi Mil Gaya, and Kal Ho Naa Ho. Preity won a lot of praise for her performance in Kal Ho Naa Ho. The same year she also displayed villainous tendencies, by essaying a schizophrenic wife in Honey Irani's Armaan. For her skillful performance in both the movies, Preity earned the Best Actress and Best Villain nominations at the Filmfare Awards. In 2004 Preity starred in Lakshya and Veer Zaara. Both the movies performed incredibly well at the box office and won multiple awards. The next two years saw the actress appear in two hit Yash Raj productions: Salaam Namaste (2005), and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). She received widespread acclaim for her performance in both the movies.

In 2006 Preity starred in Shirish Kunder's romantic musical Jaan-E-Mann. She received heavy criticism for her role and the movie was a box office disaster. Preity followed it up with, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007). The movie was critically trashed, but did above average business. Preity went into art-house cinema mode with Rituparno Ghosh's The Last Lear (2007). Starring alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Arjun Rampal, she received rave reviews. Preity realised her dream of working with director Deepa Mehta, when she made her international debut with Mehta's, Heaven on Earth (2008). Preity won the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival for her portrayal of a battered housewife in a foreign land. The year 2008 also marked a drastic shift in Preity's career. She went on to star in box office duds like Heroes (2008), Main Aurr Mrs Khanna (2009), Ishkq in Paris (2013), and Happy Ending (2014).