Even as Preity Zinta's character in Samir Karnik's Heroes garners rave reviews it comes as a surprise to know that the role of the brave and dignified war widow is modelled on Preity's mother, Neelu Zinta.
Not only that, once Preity signed on, she worked for days on her character, language and body language with her director Karnik.
Says Preity, "The minute I read the script I knew I wanted to do it. You've no idea how many people discouraged me from doing Heroes. 'Arrey why do you want to play the mother of a growing child?; Tujhko log buddhi kahenge''. But I was adamant. I fell in love with my character. She reminded me of my mother. So many people have told me I look like her, especially in my shaadi ka joda.''
In Heroes, Preity plays a rustic Punjabi woman thrown into a crisis. ''It was easy for me to identify with the Punjabi woman in Heroes whose husband has died in the war. I come from an army background and I know what it is like to lose someone at the battlefront."
Preity unabashedly modelled the war widow's role in Heroes on her own mother. ''I always thought I looked like my father. But as I grow older, I think I've begun to resemble my mom. The other Punjabi woman I play in Heaven On Earth was much harder to play. I had no reference points except my director who held my hand as I suffered with my character for all the physical abuse she has to face."