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Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta (born 31 January 1975) is an Indian film actress. She has appeared in Hindi films of Bollywood, as well as Telugu, Punjabi and English language films.
After graduating with a degree in criminal psychology, Zinta made her acting debut in Dil Se.. in 1998 followed by a role in Soldier the same year. These performances earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut, and she was later recognised for her role as a teenage single mother in Kya Kehna (2000). She subsequently played a variety of character types; her film roles along with her screen persona contributed to a change in the concept of a Hindi film heroine.

Zinta received a Filmfare Award for Best Actress in 2003 for her performance in the drama Kal Ho Naa Ho. She went on to play the lead female role in two consecutive annual top-grossing films in India: the science fiction film Koi... Mil Gaya (2003), her biggest commercial success, and the star-crossed romance Veer-Zaara (2004), which earned her critical acclaim. She was later noted for her portrayal of independent, modern Indian women in Salaam Namaste (2005) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), top-grossing productions in overseas markets. These accomplishments have established her as a leading actress of Hindi cinema. Her first international film role was in the Canadian film Heaven on Earth, for which she was awarded the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival.

In addition to movie acting, Zinta has written a series of columns for BBC News Online South Asia, is a social activist, a television presenter, and a regular stage performer. She is the founder of the production company PZNZ Media and, along with ex-boyfriend Ness Wadia, a co-owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kings XI Punjab. She is known in the Indian media for publicly speaking her mind and openly expressing her opinions, and consequently has sparked the occasional controversy. These controversies include her being the only witness not to retract in court her earlier statements against the Indian mafia during the 2003 Bharat Shah case, for which she was awarded the Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Award.

Zinta was born into a family from Rohru in Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh. Her father, Durganand Zinta, was an officer in the Indian Army. He died in a car accident when she was 13 years old; the accident also involved her mother, Nilprabha, who was severely injured and consequently remained bedridden for two years. Zinta called the tragic accident and her father's death a significant turning point in her life, which forced her to mature rapidly. She has two brothers; Deepankar and Manish, a year older and a year younger respectively. Deepankar is a commissioned officer in the Indian Army, while Manish lives in California.

Zinta, who describes herself as a tomboy as a child, has emphasised her father's military background as having a lasting impression on how family life was conducted. He asserted the importance of discipline and punctuality to the children. She studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary boarding school in Shimla. Although she confesses to loneliness in the boarding school, she noted that it was compensated by her finding a "... perfect set of friends" there. As a student, she developed a love for literature, particularly the works of William Shakespeare and poetry. According to Zinta, she enjoyed schoolwork and received good grades; in her free time she played sports, especially basketball.

Upon graduating from the boarding school at age 18, Zinta enrolled at St Bede's College in Shimla. She graduated college with an English honours degree, and then started a graduate programme in psychology. She earned a postgraduate degree in criminal psychology, but later took up modelling. Zinta's first television commercial was for Perk chocolates, the result of a chance meeting with a director at a friend's birthday party in 1996. The director persuaded Zinta to audition for the spot, and she was selected. Afterwards, she appeared in other catalogues and commercials, including one for the soap Liril. 

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