July 11, 2012 09:53 IST
After a dream debut in Slumdog Millionaire, India's Frieda Pinto has her first film where she plays the lead role Trishna releasing across the US this week. Directed by British director Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, The Trip), the film is an adaptation of the well-loved tragic romance of Thomas Hardy's classic novel 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles', which is set in India.
The protagonist of the film --played by Frieda --is a young woman, the eldest daughter of a poor family in Rajasthan, India. It's a role that casts Pinto in very different light from the glamorous images ones see of her nowadays on the pages of glossy fashion magazines. She won over America's heart with Slumdog Millionaire and seems to now be aiming at winning over the critics too with Trishna.
Frieda Pinto Spoke to NDTV at the premiere of the film in New York.
NDTV: Director Michael Winterbottom has worked in India before but you are Indian and did you have any inputs on the set about the portrayal of India etc?
Freida: Michael Winterbottom spent a lot of time in India. He knew the actors would do our research and come to the set as prepared as he was so it was not as if he was asking me to do any thing that was too colonial, where I would have to say why would you make me do that. There was never a moment like that. He had immersed himself completely into the culture and completely stayed away from clichés. As an Indian you really hate clichés and when a director has disassociated himself from that it makes you feel so good.
NDTV: There were some critics of Slumdog Millionnaire over the portrayal of India but clearly once bitten twice shy clearly does not apply to you here. You went headlong into another film set in India.
Freida: You are never going to be able to make everybody happy. I have made my peace with that. There are going to be people who are not happy, there are going to be people who are upset, and there are going to be people who are sad. I am not here to change their minds. Let the film do that. Slumdog Millionaire has a very special place in my heart but Trishna as an equally special place as it is the first film where the director actually believed that I could handle the entire film. I carry the entire film on my shoulders. Off course, I share the responsibility with Riz Ahmed but this marks a new beginning for me. I am completely ready now to explore the length of my potential. I am so glad that it happened.
NDTV: You are a Mumbai girl but in Trishna you have to play a rural Indian woman. How did you do that? Was that easy to portray?
Freida: I really had to get out of the Mumbai girl mindset for that. I had to get down to the simplicity of life that they have in rural Rajasthan. It was not that difficult because I guess when you have Indianess in your blood you could adapt to this. The people in the film who played my family really helped me a lot because they were not actors. They were real people, being themselves and for me it was easier to imitate them than something I had seen on TV or read of in a book. It was a one-on-one lesson.
NDTV: Lastly this is your life now; hectic appearances at glamorous film premieres in designer wear. Was getting away to the villages of Rajasthan for a month of shooting a pleasant change?
Freida: This is not the only life I lead. I have a life in pajamas as well, reading scripts, going see movies with friends. I still retain my old life. Maybe some of it has changed but I still retain the old me.
Watch: Freida talks to NDTV about Trishna