Collections have changed but not cinema: Preity

Mumbai: At a time when grossing Rs 100 crore is the new benchmark for a film`s success, actress-turned-producer Preity Zinta says collections have not changed cinema.

"It is brilliant that films are earning Rs 100 crore. And that is the way it is going to be ahead. It`s a different ball game. Because of the billion people in our country, the kind of viewership is different," Preity told PTI.

Having won accolades in the last 14 years of her journey in the industry, in which she did some 35 odd films, Preity is positive about the changes ushering in.

"I think collections have changed but cinema has not. Cinema will always remain constant, emotions remain same. The collection, demographics have changed," she said.

The bubbly actress is charged up for her upcoming film `Ishkq in Paris`, also marking her debut as a producer. She launched her own production company PZNZ Media last year.

"I think pressure is always there in life for anything you do. But I always chose to look straight. I used to think if I can handle IPL, then I can do anything. But as a producer it was very tough," the 37-year-old actress said.

After creating a storm at the box office with her films like `Koi Mil Gaya`, `Kal Ho Na Ho`, `Veer Zaara`, `Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna` and others, Preity switched gears and became an owner of IPL team Kings XI Punjab.

"When I started with IPL, everyone was like how can you be the number one actress and leave everything. But that time I wanted to follow my heart. I was not getting excited about acting and films then," she said.

Preity was last seen in Deepa Mehta`s 2008 Canadian film `Heaven on Earth`, which was dubbed in Hindi as `Videsh`.

Director Prem Raj coaxed Preity to act in `Ishkq in Paris`, marking her comeback after a gap of 2-3 years.

"The real story is we needed to make it with two newcomers, we never wanted an established star. As a producer I had first decided we will make it as a small budget film. When we were developing our script, one day Prem told me you have to be part of it," she said.

"I initially said no. Prem asked me if I was scared to do it. I thought about it and later agreed," she admitted.

With the film Preity also makes debut as a writer, who has co-written the script with Prem Raj.

"When Prem and I sat for this film, we worked on the script first. There is some experience that I have considering the work that I have done earlier in the industry. I just wanted to make sure that our script is amazing," Preity said.

"I wanted that if I put my name on a film I should not be embarrassed. I want to be part of entertaining films which have a message," she said while revealing that she never wanted to be an actress.

"Since the time I was born I have told my mother that I want to be a Prime Minister, truck driver, air hostess, join Army and everything except a heroine. I never wanted to be an actress. I didn`t know if one could become an actress because I used to think films were real," Preity said, who was a tomboy, so nobody told her that she could be a model.

But destiny changed for her when she came to Mumbai. "It was when I came to Mumbai and I was studying criminal psychology I ended up meeting Shekhar Kapur. My best friend`s boyfriend went to audition for Shekhar`s film and he felt I was destined to be an actress," she said.

Preity later auditioned for the movie and told everyone that she had signed a film with Shekhar Kapur, only to find later that he was going ahead with another flick.

Finally, her filmi career began when Kundan Shah signed her for `Kya Kehna`, but the film got delayed and her third film `Dil Se` alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala released first. Since then there was no looking back.

"It was Kundan Shah who taught me everything. I also learnt a lot from Shah Rukh Khan. He is a very good teacher, very enterprising. He was so patient with me. I thank both him and Manish for the help and support, she said.

"When I entered the film industry all I wanted was to keep doing good work. I never exposed, had no affairs with anyone from here. I never got into films because my family was starving or to take care of them. It was all about being independent," she expressed.