Bollywood star Preity Zinta in Birmingham for Diwali celebrations

Preity Zinta
Actress Preity Zinta Credit: Diva Partnerships Birmingham Limited

By Tejinder Kaur-Thanki, Content Editor

Indian film actress Preity Zinta will be in Birmingham this weekend, as part of the city's festivities counting down to Diwali.

The star is known for her popular films like "Dil Se" (which translates to "From the heart"), "Veer Zaara", "Kal Ho Na Ho" (which translates to "Tomorrow may not come") and "Dil Chahta Hai" (which translates to "What the heart wants").

Preity's famed blockbuster collaborations with fellow Bollywood superstars like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan, have made her a household name since her Hindi film debut in 1998.

She is also being honoured by the West Midlands for her services to charity, and will be presented with a number of awards during her visit.

Preity Zinta Credit: Diva Partnerships Birmingham Limited

The superstar will join Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), for a weekend of events counting down to Diwali including:

  • a gala dinner at Millennium Point

  • a cultural programme at Birmingham Town Hall, where she's set to make a guest appearance on stage to light the divas

Preity Zinta Credit: Diva Partnerships Birmingham Limited

Mayor Andy Street said: "Diwali is a special time for the Indian diaspora and communities right across our region are looking forward to celebrating the Festival of Lights.

"From the very outset of my time as Mayor, the WMCA has worked closely with local groups and the Consulate General of India to mark this occasion in suitably grand style - with dance, special guests and entertainment.

"This year, events will be spread across the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November including a star studded gala dinner at Millennium Point with Bollywood star turned self-made businesswoman Preity Zinta and a cultural programme at Birmingham Town Hall.

"I look forward to seeing local people at the festivities and joining in the celebrations myself.”

Hundreds of South Asian students attending Birmingham's colleges and universities will be attending the weekend's festivities.

They'll be joined by many families keen to meet an actress famed for taking on more offbeat and distinctive roles, like an unwed pregnant teenager in "Kya Kehna" (which translates to "What to say?"), or the "negative" role of a rich and selfish woman in "Armaan" (which translates to "desires").

As part of her visit, the actress will also tour Digbeth - home to "Peaky Blinders" creatorSteven Knight’s Digbeth Loc studios, and the plethora of local film and media schools.

She'll also receive an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University (BCU) next year, in recognition of her contribution to Bollywood and the business world.

Preity, who has won two FilmFare awards (India’s equivalent of the Oscars), has also turned her interests to investments, with her production company and co-ownership of the Punjab Kings cricket team in the hugely-popular India Premier League.

Speaking about her upcoming visit, Preity said: "I’m very excited to be part of the Diwali celebrations in Birmingham and look forward to meeting all the wonderful people there - marking the Festival of Lights together."

What is the festival about?

Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil as well as knowledge over ignorance.

It also marks a new beginning symbolised by the arrival of a new moon.

The festival is significant for various reasons according to the different faiths participating:


For Hindus, it marks Rama and his wife Sita's eventual defeat of the evil spirit Ravana and celebrates their triumphant return to their kingdom in Ayodhya after a 14-year exile.

The story narrates that oil lamps were lit by passers by to guide them on their way home and to rejoice in their victory.

The festival of Diwali also celebrates the day Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha.


For Sikhs, Diwali marks and celebrates the release of the sixth Guru, Hargobind Singh from a Mughal Empire prison in 1619. Sikhs mark the day as Bandi Chhor Diwas.

However, Diwali was celebrated even prior to this.

In fact, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar - which is the most holy place in the Sikh world, was laid on Diwali in 1577.


The founder of Jainism is Lord Mahavira. During Diwali, Jains celebrate the moment he reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or eternal bliss - and freedom from the cycle of reincarnation).

It is said that the earth and the heavens were illuminated with lamps to mark the occasion of Lord Mahavira's enlightenment.