Nepotism is an oft-debated topic in Bollywood award shows and interviews but it is not a new concept, says Preity Zinta as she believes it is natural for parents to help their children. Preity, an outsider herself, said the industry is dominated by people who have made a name for themselves, irrespective of where they come from.
“It is an age-old thing that parents will help their children. Nepotism does exist. But then there are stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and others who are not from industry and are superstars,” she told PTI in an interview.
“There will always be nepotism and you can’t change that but one should never underestimate those who have a hunger to prove themselves in the industry,” she added. The actor said growing up, she always wanted to be financially independent.
“My dad passed away when I was young. There was a strong desire within me to be financially independent. I was doing criminal psychology, I wanted to crack crimes. I am a great investigator, I can find out anything. I used that part of me in developing characters,” she said.
Preity, who stars in Bhaiaji Superhit opposite Sunny Deol, said she took a break to focus on her IPL team. Looking back, Preity said she had no knowledge about cinema when she entered Bollywood but knew that hard work wins over talent.
“I never thought I would become a big actor or star, I didn’t even think it was possible. Then I was sure I would work till I am excited. After I did Veer Zaara and Salaam Namaste, I reached a point where nobody let me experiment.
“I felt I should try something different. I went and met all the producers and directors with whom I had worked and said, please don’t offer me any films as I am getting into sports. They thought I was crazy and part of me was. It was new and so I was excited and nervous. Also, it was my dream to be an entrepreneur,” she said.
Preity, 43, said the film’s offer came to her at a time when she was feeling restless as her entrepreneurial journey was now on autopilot. “That’s when Sunny Deol called me for this film. I am grateful that whenever I have wanted to do something different I have got an opportunity.”
“I have much respect for Sunny as he is older to me. Shah Rukh and Salman are my buddies. I heard the script and I loved it and I laughed a lot during the narration,” she explained.
Preity said she was initially reluctant despite liking the character but her husband Gene Goodenough encouraged her to continue doing what she loves – acting.
She said she felt like a newcomer on the sets and for a moment she felt that she had forgotten how to act.
“I was shaking so much. There was a very intense four-page scene which I shot first. When I do an intense or emotional scene, I don’t like any kind of distraction. I did the first scene and everyone started clapping. I went into my vanity van and had tears rolling out of my eyes.”
She says, as an actor, she needs to feel excited, nervous and challenged to bring her best onscreen.
“I am the worst person when I am too confident, then I don’t put efforts and feel I am amazing and I fall flat on my face,” she concluded.