She is making a special appearance in a song in his directorial debut Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna, but filmmaker Prem R. Soni says it will be "derogatory to call Preity Zinta an item girl".
"I have nothing against item girls or item songs. After all, they have time and again managed to spice up the proceedings in so many films. However, in the context of Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, it would be really derogatory to call Preity Zinta an item girl," Soni told IANS.
The actress features in the song, Happening.
The 34-year-old director always wanted Preity in his first film even though he got a dream pair in Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
"While I had signed other actors for the film, I always wanted Preity to be a part of it. Actually, I didn't even think about any other options and was dead sure that Preity had to be cast. I told her the same and was adamant that she had to be in it," said Soni.
Preeti plays Haseen Jagmagiya in the film and, thankfully for Soni, she said 'yes' without much ado.
"Of course, she did have her initial reservations since she hadn't played a part like this before. But then she also said, 'What the heck, let me do it'. She laughed and agreed to be there.
"Believe me, my day was made. I had got all the actors whom I wanted for the film and was raring to bring the film on the floors," he said.
Preity's presence enhances the entertainment quotient of the film, says Soni.
"But then she is not randomly walking in and walking out of the frames. As Haseena Jagmagiya, she is quite funny and comes at the point in the film when Salman and Kareena are on the verge of making or breaking their relationship as a married couple."
How about the other angle in the film, Sohail Khan? Does he bring in an extramarital angle?
"Oh, this question has been asked so many times and I am glad that good curiosity is being built around the film, courtesy a smart promotional campaign. However, let me tell you that the film doesn't have an extramarital relationship or cheating angle.
"It just tells the story from the point of view of an outsider. Sohail is someone who looks at Mrs. Khanna (Kareena) and sees the kind of issues that she is facing.
"In fact, whether it is Sohail or even Salman for that matter, both of them have an element of 'main' in them. They see Mrs. Khanna in different ways and this is what forms the crux of the film," said the director for whom 16 is a lucky number.
Soni has been dreaming of making a film for the past 16 years now.
"Call it destiny, luck, fortune or sheer coincidence, but now my film is releasing on Oct 16. There is someone up in the sky who is certainly smiling at me. He wanted that the number 16 sticks with me. God has himself written Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna for me," exclaims the filmmaker.
Also starring Yash Tonk in an important role, the film is a co-production of Ronnie Screwala and Sohail. It is releasing on the same day as Blue and All The Best.