Stumbling upon a copy of Kal Ho Naa Ho at my local library, reawakened my love for Bollywood movies. Above all, love for a talented, gorgeous, caring star actress Preity Zinta, star of such great films as the aforementioned, Veer-Zaara, and Salaam Namaste to name a few.
One has to only watch this interview to get a sense of her thoughtful and intelligent character:
That’s why I was sad to discover that after the 2007 box-office non hit, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Preity has been conspicously absent from mainstream Bollywood. Fortunately, although Preity is not apart of the top grossing films of this year, she has definitely been making a come-around.
First, is the much buzzed about and criticly acclaimed art house film, Heaven on Earth (Videsh), in which Preity plays an Indian woman who immigrates to Canada for an arranged marriage and becomes the victim of subsequent domestic abuse. For this role, Preity won a Chicago film award and the film is currently in theatres in India.
Second, Preity, along with her business tycoon boyfriend, is a owner of a team in the Indian Premier League. Since the league is new and there are not that many stars involved yet, Preity’s opinion is constantly requested for such events the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers and the league’s forced move for this year’s elections.
Speaking of elections, Preity is an active political voice. Rumor has it that she has turned down an offer from the BJP to contest in the elections. However, she and SRK announce that they will be campaigning for Congress (I gather this to mean encouraging the general public to come out and vote).
Most exciting of all, Preity has been signed to star in a new Yash Chopra directed film under the prestigious Yash Raj Films banner. I am very excited to see what happens next. Update: another film in the works
Sidenote: I do believe that Preity’s absense from mainstream films is a combination of her own desires to explore other roles as well as the sexist system of Bollywood. I am constantly reading about how new, young beauties are edging out the established actresses. In fact, I can’t even think of an actress older than her late thirties who has roles besides the mother. Meanwhile, male actors like SRK continue to be the hero seducing heroines half his age (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi).
Similar to Preity, Rani Mukherjee disappeared from the mainstream after the double flops of Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic and Ta Ra Rum Pum. However, her costar in both movies, Saif Ali Khan, is still enjoying success. Preity’s costar in JBJ, Abhishek Bachchan, is also still doing well.
To me, it seems like the patriarchal society of India prefers looks/youth to talent/experience in their actresses. I feel like the actresses are more pressured to retire from showbiz to become a wife and mother.
Just for the record, I think the three aforementioned actors are very talented and absolutely deserve their success. But the actresses should be able to get the same opportunities and second chances.