Post-IPL, Preity Zinta has learnt to ‘lose with a smile’

She is dressed casually in a six-pocketer and a sleeveless shirt, with her hair carelessly tied back. While most heroines dread being seen in public without caked faces, Zinta hasn’t bothered with lip gloss. Her throat is hoarse from giving interviews for six hours straight yet she plunges into our half-hour marathon with the energy of a teenager. “The names of all my forthcoming movies begin with ‘H’ (Samir Karnik’s ‘Heroes’, Deepa Mehta’s ‘Heaven on Earth’ and Jahnu Baruah’s ‘Har Pall’); so excuse me if I sound confused,” she warns.

‘Heroes’, which releases alongside ‘EMI’, ‘Fashion’ and ‘Roadside Romeo’ on October 24, has patriotic undertones but Zinta is confident that it stands apart from what has been seen before. “I hate movies with long lectures and I wouldn’t have taken it up if it were run-of-the-mill stuff,” she assures, adding that she is glad the name of the movie was changed from ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ to ‘Heroes’.

“It was too dramatic. I once saw a poster that read ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’, with ‘Banana Padega’ written much smaller in the next line,” she laughs.

‘Heroes’ is a film about two youngsters (Sohail Khan and Vatsal Sheth) who undertake a road trip and meet people en route who change their perspective on the country. The cast includes Sunny and Bobby Deol, Mithun Chakraborty and Dino Morea, and Zinta is paired with Salman Khan. It’s a role, she says, that’s close to her own persona. “Kuljeet Kaur is a simple rural Punjabi girl who helps her husband in the farms yet can weather all storms and be the son of the house when the need arises,” she explains in her newly acquired Punjabi accent.

So does she always take up roles ‘close to her personality’? “Well, sometimes I pick roles that are close to my heart; sometimes I pick roles close to my friends and sometimes I pick the ones close to my bank balance,” she laughs. “Heaven on Earth is close to my heart.”

In ‘Heaven on Earth’, Zinta plays Chand, a Punjabi girl who marries an NRI and is subjected to domestic violence. “Deepa has taken real-life incidents and woven them into the story; the film is extremely moving,” she says.

Upon the suggestion that it sounds similar to ‘Provoked’, the Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-starrer, she snaps back, “There is no similarity in the two films except that both Aishwarya and I play Punjabi girls. You have to see the film to know.”

But Har Pall will mark Zinta’s return to commercial cinema after The Last Lear and Heaven on Earth.

The actress, who is also the only woman to own an IPL team, is looking forward to the next season of the game. Despite the disappointing results, she is excited. “The media has been unfair with me. I admit that when I ventured into it I hardly knew anything about the game but the fours and the sixes. But I have learnt now — I know how to lose with a smile, which is hard. But you know what? The most important are still the fours and sixes.”

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