• Sunday, March 03, 2024

Entertainment

Freida Pinto on exploring opportunities outside Hollywood

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – NOVEMBER 30: Freida Pinto attends the Opening Night screening of “HWJN” at the Red Sea International Film Festival 2023 on November 30, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for The Red Sea International Film Festival)

By: Mohnish Singh

Actress Freida Pinto, who rose to fame with her role in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, talked about her future projects and said that she doesn’t want to confine herself to Hollywood, reported Variety.

“I’ve always looked at cinema globally,” she told Variety. “After Slumdog, I could have easily played all the Indian roles, the girlfriends and sidekicks, or just gone and done something only in India.”

Talking about playing challenging roles like playing a Palestinian girl in Miral, which is a biographical political film directed by Julian Schnabel.

“I know it’s not okay these days because the world has opened up and there’s so much talent,” Pinto said. “But — and I don’t mean this in a pompous way — with a film like Miral, where I’m playing a Palestinian girl and it’s such a controversial subject matter, they needed someone then who could put butts on seats. I now see that’s why they chose me, but at the time I thought: I can see myself as x, y, and z, and I feel that in me too. The way I think now is not the way I thought back then, at all. But those films opened doors and made people more aware of a whole region, which has so much talent and so many stories that are not being told frequently enough. I wouldn’t do it now, but I’m very proud of what I did then.”

As the actress attended Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival, she shared how it feels to be in Saudi Arabia where Bollywood stars are greeted with such adulation, according to Variety.

“Bollywood is all over the region. The Middle East and Northern Africa. I believe it’s also huge in Japan. When I was filming in Israel and Palestine, I remember going into the old city of Jerusalem, and they were selling DVDs of old Bollywood movies and they would say “Hind,” which means Indian in Arabic. They would ask me, even though I was in character, if I knew all the old Bollywood actors, which I said no.”

“I think what works is the escapism, which is something Bollywood cinema does best. I love what we do in the Western world as well, but there’s something magical about Bollywood and it’s always about family, love, and culture, and it’s immediately relatable for the Middle East. Coming together, respect for your elders, all of that is represented in Indian Cinema and although Saudi Arabia and India are different countries, there’s no disconnect, when it comes to that. The Western world and their beliefs are more nuclear than the extended family,” she added.

Sharing about her plans, she said, “The opportunities are changing now. We’re celebrating ‘Minari’ and ‘Parasite’ at the Oscars. You’re in a bubble if you think Hollywood is the only thing. There’s Asian cinema that isn’t tapped into or explored, and they’re all doing well in their own countries as well as elsewhere. I don’t want to be just doing Hollywood and working with the filmmakers who we hear about over and over again. That’s why I would love to work with Nadine Labaki. I loved her first film ‘Caramel’ and I’ve been hoping an opportunity would come and now with my own production company I can create that opportunity for myself if I wanted to.”

2024 looks to be a big year for Pinto with a slew of projects potentially coming to fruition, including roles in Season 2 of Apple TV+ show Surface and a film adaptation of Onjali Q. Rauf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class.

As a producer, she has four projects near “the finishing line,” including a Deepa Mehta film. “It’s all coming together,” she said, reported Variety.

 

Pakistan Weekly

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