Bollywood's dimpled beauty Preity Zinta, who has appeared in several Bollywood, Telugu, Punjabi and English films, turns 39 today. The actress, who has been away from the big screen for a while now, made her acting debut as a supporting actor in Mani Ratnam's 'Dil Se' opposite Shah Rukh Khan and wooed all with her small role. She played the role of a south Indian girl Preeti Nair who is madly in love with her fiance played by SRK. She was noticed and appreciated by all in the industry.
A 1999 Bollywood psychological crime thriller, 'Sangharsh' directed by Tanuja Chandra featured Preity Zinta, Akshay Kumar and Ashutosh Rana in the lead role. The film inspired from Hollywood's Oscar winning movie 'The Silence of the Lambs', had Preity playing CBI Officer Reet Oberoi, who falls in love with a killer played by Akshay Kumar. The film was not a box-office success, although Preity Zinta's performance was appreciated by critics.
In the year 2000, Preity Zinta featured in Kundan Shah's 'Kya Kehna', which dealt with the issue of teenage pregnancy. The movie was a superhit and established Preity Zinta in the league of A list actresses.
In 2001, Preity Zinta earned positive reviews for her role in Farhan Akhtar's National Film Award-winning 'Dil Chahta Hai'. Depicting the contemporary routine life of Indian affluent youth, it is set in modern-day urban Mumbai and focuses on a major period of transition in the lives of three young friends (Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna). Preity Zinta played Aamir Khan's love interest, Shalini. The film was a box-office success in India. Preity was a beautiful, vibrant and wavering between endearingly naive and confused.
Preity Zinta was awarded with the Filmfare Best actress award in the year 2003 for playing Naina Kapur in 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan too. Here she was a modern, strong headed NRI living in United States of America with her family.
Preity Zinta went on to play a TV journalist Romila Dutta in Farhan Akhtar's war drama 'Lakshya', alongside Hrithik Roshan in 2004. The film was based on the 1999 Kargil Conflict. Preity's character was reportedly modelled after TV journalist Barkha Dutt, the only female reporter assigned to the story. The film was a critical success, yet her performance received mixed reviews.
Later in 2005, Preity Zinta was noted for her portrayal of an independent, modern Indian woman in 'Salaam Namaste'. After having played a teen mum and a surrogate mother, she went on to play an Amber Malhotra, living in with her boyfriend played by Saif Ali Khan. This was one of the first Bollywood films to showcase such a subject. Preity was nominated for several awards for her role in 'Salaam Namaste.'
Preity Zinta received further success in 2006, starring in Karan Johar's drama 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' with an ensemble cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji and Kirron Kher.
Preity played the role of Rhea Saran, an ambitious fashion magazine editor. The Indian Express said, "The lady has not just looked glamorous but she has walked with poise, sat with grace, smiled with composure and spoke with calmness. Who would have thought that the bubbly girl could so skilfully shed her age-old tag and walk away as the don't-mess-with-me lass. So all those who are in search of the peppy Preity, well guys you've dialed the wrong number this time." The film became one of the biggest box-office hits in India.
In 2008, Preity Zinta went international with her Canadian film 'Heaven on Earth' directed and written by Deepa Mehta. Preity played the leading role of Chand, a young Indian Punjabi woman who finds herself in an abusive arranged marriage with an Indo-Canadian man, played by theatre actor Vansh Bhardwaj. She was awarded the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival.
Preity Zinta played a Pakistani girl Zaara Hayaat Khan in the epic love saga 'Veer Zaara' directed by the legendary Yash Chopra in 2008. For her portrayal of Zaara, a role which required her to master the fine nuances of Urdu language, Zinta received her fourth Filmfare Best Actress nomination. Veer-Zaara was Preity Zinta's second highest-grossing film and third major success in two consecutive years.