Preity Zinta made her debut in films through Mani Ratnam's movie Dil Se (1998), an audio blockbuster. She was conferred with the Best Newcomer award in the Filmfare Awards for her performance in the movie. While Soldier (1998) was the first rung in her ladder towards stardom, Kya Kehna (2000) consolidated her position among the top heroines of bollywood, wherein her role as teenage unwed mother was much critically acclaimed.
The newcomer soon began to tread the off beaten path by choosing meaty roles which helped her hone her acting skills and bring to light the actress in her. Preity reaped success with movies like Mission Kashmir (2000), Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001) and Dil Chahta Hai (2001).
In 2003 and 2004 she played the lead role in many of the box office hit films: The Hero: Love Story of a Spy, Koi...Mil Gaya, Kal Ho Na Ho and Veer Zaara. Preity's natural ease in essaying various roles are commended by her co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan. In 2006 Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna had Preity performing a matured role centering on family and marital relationships.