Reportedly, last Saturday, just before she walked the ramp for Salman Khan’s Being Human charity at the HDIL Couture Week, Preity Zinta learnt about BCCI’s decision to scrap her IPL team, Kings XI Punjab, along with Rajasthan Royals that’s come to be associated with another actor Shilpa Shetty, for financial irregularities. Suddenly, on a sticky wicket, the actor tweeted on Sunday, "After working so hard in IPL & putting my everything building this team this is not what I expected! Shocked!" Then went underground, refusing to take any calls or comment on the headline-grabbing issue.
A couple of days before this, Zinta had denied that she’d sold off her 23 per cent stake in the franchise to a London-based private equity firm ISIS. "IPL is not a film set that you can gossip about who’s wearing what. It’s a high-profile subject and doesn’t lend itself to random statements," she reasoned. "Unless BCCI or I make an announcement, I’d advise everyone not to jump to any conclusions."
Kings XI Punjab hit the bottom of the table in Season 3. Preity admits it was a body blow but refuses to dissect performances to pinpoint what went wrong. She shrugs, "There were injuries, particular players were under stress and close games were lost. But I would go through it all again because you don’t learn as much from success as you do when you fall down."
The actor has produced and hosted a reality cricket show for TV on her team. "I’m waiting for a good season to unveil Behind The Seams. Unless something exciting happens with Kings XI Punjab, not many would be interested," she’d sighed.
Leap of faith
For two years, Preity cheered her boys in the dugout through every match in the team colours. Cricket, she agreed, had taken her away from movies when she was at the peak. "It was a big leap of faith but I took a risk because it opened new doors for me," asserted the youngest and only female owner in the IPL league, who even enrolled at the Harvard Business School for a short course in negotiating and deal making.
The ‘break’ from movies was because she didn’t want to come to the sets with cricket on her mind. The offers kept coming. She reportedly turned down Jab We Met, Ishqiya and Robot that gave Aishwarya Rai Bachchan a much-needed blockbuster. “So what? Three people can try on the same pair of jeans but the one who buys it, owns it. Life is all about choices. I’m really happy for my friend Ash who’s never looked better and Rajnirobotkant. Mind it!” she laughed. “I will definitely be back on screen in a glam avatar in 2011 with new movies that I can’t talk about yet.”
But hasn’t she relocated to LA? “Never, Mumbai is my home!” she exclaimed, pointing out that LA is home for her brother, sister-in-law and their little daughter who looks exactly like her. “I was down there for a short break becauseI knew my projects wouldn’t take off before six-eight months. But now it’s back to Mumbai and the movies.”