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'There's no sexuality between Hrithik and me'
Subhash K Jha | August 04, 2003 16:55 IST
Preity Zinta has been shooting non-stop for Nikhil Advani's debut film, Kal Ho Na Ho, with Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan in New York.
Her heart, though, is set on her next release Koi�Mil Gaya. The film, which has been directed by Rakesh Roshan, has an unusual romance reminiscent of Balu Mahendra's classic Sadma. There, Kamal Haasan had played the nurturing role to the childlike Sridevi.
In Koi�Mil Gaya, Preity Zinta plays guardian angel and confidante to a mentally-challenged Hrithik Roshan.
A few films which explored this relationship, besides Sadma, were Guru Dutt's Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam (Dutt played comforting friend to an alcoholic Meena Kumari) and Adurthi Subba Rao's Milan (upper class Nutan paired with a naive, lower-class Sunil Dutt).
Zinta says, "Koi Mil Gaya is the world's first science-fiction musical. Sounds funny, but it is true! I was deeply attracted to the film because most of the lead pairs in Hindi films play boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife or brother-sister. My relationship with Hrithik in Koi... Mil Gaya is based on compassion and humanity. There is no sexuality between us. Even in the duet Idhar chala udhar chala, there is purity and innocence."
With characteristic vividness, she recalls the moment the role came her way. "When Rakesh Roshan gave me the script, I was on a high. The relationship between the lead pair is so different from anything portrayed so far. It was very important for me not to behave like a conventional heroine in this film. If I only did the glam-and-pout act, I would have stuck out like a sore thumb and destroyed the film's timeless texture. I had to be one of the kids along with Hrithik. I also had to have strength of character because I had to support Hrithik's character. At the same time, I had to be glamorous."
Zinta's real-life camaraderie with Hrithik helped in making their unusual relationship work. Besides, the pair had already worked together in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir. "I came to know Hrithik through his wife [Suzanne Khan]. Suzanne and I have been best friends for the last 10 years. I remember the first time Hrithik and I met. He was the guy Suzanne was seeing and came with a cake on my birthday. I found him very thin. I remember he told Suzanne, 'What kind of a friend do you have? She comes late on her own birthday!'
"In real life, Hrithik seeks my advice sometimes, as I seek his. We are very truthful to each other. At the same time, we do really stupid things together. We had a lot of fun together, just like our characters in Koi... Mil Gaya," she says, with the mood-elevating smile.