The Newest Star on the Mangalorean Horizon—Freida Pinto
Gerry D’Mello, Bendur
Daijiworld media network, Canada
Nov 25: ‘A Star is Almost Born’, is how one of the headlines about the new movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, describe its chief female protagonist Freida Pinto. The 24-year-old model turned actress, though born and bred in the metro, traces her roots to Mangalore. The movie, by British director Danny Boyle, has won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
The second daughter of Frederick Pinto (Neerude), senior branch manager, Bank of Baroda, and Sylvia Pinto (Derebail), principal, St John’s High School, Goregaon, Freida has set film circles abuzz with her spectacular debut. Her sole sibling Sharon Pinto is an associate producer with NDTV.
Before being selected for Slumdog Millionaire, Freida anchored the international travel show, ‘Full Circle’ on Zee International Asia Pacific in English. Besides this, she also featured in several television and print commercials for products such as Wrigleys Chewing Gum, Skoda, Hutch, Airtel, and De Beers. Ramp shows and magazine covers are also part of her resume.
Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of how Jamal, a contestant on reality show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ uses this medium to contact his childhood love, Latika. Dev Patel plays the male lead. The movies also stars Irrfan Khan, Anil Kapoor, and Mahesh Manjrekar.
Going by the success of her first film it is safe to assume that audiences are sure to see plenty more of this lovely, young, new, star on the block!
Some excerpts from Freida’s chat with Gerry D'Mello of Daijiworld Media Network Canada
Q: Could you tell me something about ‘Miss Freida the Super Star’?
A: Well, I’m someone who has achieved something finally. I have always wanted to get into the acting field. It was always my childhood dream to be in front of the camera and to entertain people. I consider myself very lucky and very blessed. From being a child standing in front of the mirror and doing all these roles as a performer to actually getting a role written just for me is a huge blessing.
Q: Now you are on your way from Bollywood to Hollywood. First of all, what made you jump into such a highly competitive arena like Bollywood?
A: It’s more like Bollywood came to me. It just came to me. I just wanted to act, and so when Bollywood came to my door, who am I to shut the door and say “No”? So when Bollywood came to me, I just accepted the role!
Q: Was the first audition process tough for you?
A: Yes, the audition was tough for me, no doubt. The 6 months of auditioning and then the 6 months of filming was a huge experience. It was like going to Pre School, then High school and finally Graduating.
Q: Prior to your selection for the role in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, have you attended any acting classes?
A: I attended acting classes only after the film because I had a lot of spare time, about 6 months, from the last day of shooting to the release of the film. I wanted to keep myself active by doing what I love, that is acting. Most people find it funny that I attended acting classes only after the film!
Q: Undoubtedly, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ will be a box-office hit. Can you tell me the main reasons for this thrilling success?
A: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ has already won the Cadillac People’s choice Award here in Toronto. The reason why I think it is a success is because it is based on a universal topic. It is about an underdog who has a dream and he goes gunning for his dream, won’t stop at anything until he gets what he wants. So it’s a universal theme. You struggle in life, you literally fall flat on your face many times and then finally you pick yourself up and get what you want, after a lot of struggle. It is a very inspirational story and most people can relate to it which is why everybody is going crazy, because the film has perfect comic-timing, a love story and a class struggle, deceit, redemption. It’s also got a very interesting ending to it.
Q: Which profession do you like the most: modelling or being on screen?
A: I have always loved acting. Modelling was something I had to do for visibility in India. Doing a lot of TV commercials also helps you with your acting. When acting on camera, you can’t have inhibitions. Acting is always what I wanted to do; however, modelling has helped me for acting on camera.
Q: So what are your future plans?
A: My future plans are to just do what I do to the best of my ability, to have people recognize me as a talented actor and to just be an actor for the rest of my life.
Q: You exude such a high level of confidence. But there are a lot of challenges to face in the filmy world. What challenges do you face and how do you tackle them?
A: There are a lot of challenges not only in the filmy world, but in life generally. My upbringing and education have contributed to my confidence. The best thing to do is to just deal with the challenges and to find ways to deal with them.
Q: Although born and brought up in Mumbai, are you proud to call yourself a Mangalorean?
A: Yeah, I’m proud myself to be an Indian first and a Mangalorean ‘cause my parents are from Mangalore. My dad is from Neerude and my mom is from Derabail. I had been there few times and I love Mangalore.
Q: What is your message to your fans at Daijiworld?
A: My only message to my fans is to ‘Go for your dream, believe in yourself and it will happen.’