Int’l recognition for Preity

MUMBAI: Bollywood star Preity Zinta is ecstatic after winning the best actress award at the 44th Chicago International Film Festival for playing a battered Punjabi wife in Deepa Mehta’s Heaven On Earth.

The award was announced on October 25 and will be given on October 29. She has bagged the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress “for her strong yet subtle performance as a woman struggling to keep her dreams despite brutal realities” in the Feature Film Competition section.

“It was my director Deepa Mehta who informed me on Saturday afternoon that I had won. I couldn’t go to Chicago, and neither could Deepa. Without any lobbying I’ve done it. I am so happy and excited,” said Zinta.

“I’m walking on sunshine. I can’t believe where I am,” added Preity who is also getting rave reviews for her performance in the just released Heroes.

Preity is immensely thankful to Anupam Kher for her convincing performance in both the films. “I attended his acting school to get my Punjabi right for both the roles. He taught me how to pronounce the words properly.”

What really pleases Preity is that this international award will help sell Heaven On Earth to a global audience. “It is a film in Punjabi and I felt the language would limit the appeal. But trust Deepa to break the cultural barriers.”

Preity says she has no marriage plans right now. “I don’t feel the time is right. I’d want to get married only when I want to have children. Right now let me enjoy this moment. Everyone, who thought those dimples needed to shut down now, this one is for you, guys.” Added Mehta, “I’m happy Preity is getting rave reviews for Heroes.

I’ve seen bits of her performance in Heroes. And, in fact, it was that performance which reassured me that I had made the right choice for Heaven On Earth.”