“Preity has lost the plot.” Hours after details of Preity Zinta’s complaint against her industrialist ex- boyfriend Ness Wadia went public, Bollywood rinsed and repeated its template. The industry, which prides itself on being a ‘fraternity’, shies away from publicly standing up for the person in the hot seat, especially if it’s a fading star. But this doesn’t mean that B- towners don’t have an opinion. What they can’t say openly, they do so sneakily. The most common texts on the Preity and Ness issue: “Preity has lost the plot.” and “Is Preity mad? Why go to the cops?”
This is classic Bollywood. As a leading male star once told me, “Kissi ke personal lafdon mein nahin padne ka… aaj jo lad rahe hain kal phir se ek ho jaate hain and then you feel like a fool. So it’s better to focus on your work, baaki tenu ya mainu ki.” The silence of Preity’s colleagues doesn’t surprise me but the tone of censure directed towards her gets to me.
If what Preity Zinta claims in her complaint really happened — Ness Wadia “misbehaved”, “used derogatory language”, “intimidated her” and “held her arm roughly”— then it is within her rights to protest. Who is anyone to say whether or not Preity should or should not have filed a complaint? By terming this as a “publicity stunt” or “a fading star’s meltdown because the ex-boyfriend has a younger girlfriend” reeks of blatant sexism. Just because she is a Bollywood actor, would she need publicity? Here, I’d like to quote Shah Rukh Khan who once famously said, “I bring publicity wherever I go. I’m SRK. I’m publicity.” How do I put it delicately? You can be a scion of a big business empire but baby, your face doesn’t sell magazine covers. That power rests only with filmstars in India. (Read: IPL COO records statement, confirms Zinta-Wadia spat)
Sometimes I wonder if there are any friends in this business. Everyone is either just a colleague or a frenemy (friend+enemy). Film people are like gypsies — the camaraderie on the set stays for as long as they are on that particular set. Once the movie is done, new equations are waiting to be explored.
As the case goes on, Preity Zinta will find herself even more isolated. Already stories of an “out-of-court settlement” and her “wanting to sell her stake in the Kings XI IPL franchise” are doing the rounds. The underworld has also made its appearance with Nusli Wadia alleging that he got threatening calls to stay off Preity’s case.
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