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Freida Pinto on Slumdog Millionaire

Published November 13, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox Searchlight Pictures
Freida Pinto is definitely worth enduring torture for. As Latika, she provides the inspiration for our hero, Jamal (Dev Patel) to keep going despite a life of hardships that even include getting tortured after winning a game show. For her first film, Pinto was a total discovery to director Danny Boyle.

Freida Pinto Inspires Our Slumdog Millionaire


"The first time I read with the casting director and the second time on it was with Danny," Pinto recalled. "I would go in probably once a month, sometimes twice a month and every time I'd go in for an audition Danny would say, 'Fantastic. I'll see you again.' So every time he says that I'd say, 'Okay, maybe in three days.' 30 days! He'd just keep me waiting for 30 days. I think every time I went in was fun. I'm not complaining because I think it was literally like going to an acting school and I think it was necessary because since I had absolutely no acting experience besides the amateur theatre that I've done."

Two younger actors play Latika at earlier ages, so she drew from that work. However, most of the adult Latika was intuitive from the script. "I read the script first and I read little Latika's part. I was like, 'That's the character. That's the Latika that I can relate to because she's a spicy, stubborn girl. She's got this zest for life and she's playful.' She's a fighter and the moment you come to the girl in the middle, she automatically gets submissive and she's kind of grown before her time. She's 14 but she looks like she could be 18, 20. So it was really important to watch the kids to see how they had grown so I could grow beyond that as well. So Danny had already shot scenes with the two characters and I watched it and it was such an immense amount of pressure because they were so good. They just seemed so effortless. It just makes it kind of simpler to have watched it, so the growth seems not disconnected. It just seems fluid."


Slumdog MillionaireSlumdog Millionaire


The film ends with a Bollywood style dance number, though the film is not a musical. Just getting one moment to let loose was fun. "I loved it. I read the script and the script said, 'And the whole train station bursts into song and dance.' We thought it was a metaphor so it was not really going to happen. When Danny said, 'You know you're actually going to dance?' I jumped up and said, 'Yea! I'm excited. Let's dance.' Because I am from India and Bollywood has such a strong element of song and dance in every film. Dev was just, 'Oh my god, I can't do this. I'm a Brit boy.' Everyone is going to make fun of him when he goes back to England. It was fun for me because I thought dance is such a great form of expression,and just growing up there and letting loose and losing all your inhibitions was such a fun thing."

As a native Indian, Pinto vouches for the authenticity in the British-directed and British-starring film. "I keep saying this to everyone that Danny and Dev should be given Indian passports because I think they have embraced the culture so beautifully. It's not a very difficult culture to embrace, to be really honest, because it's very warm and generous by nature, but Bombay can be quite chaotic. Bombay is a city where you either need to get with it or just get out of there. If you can't get with it and you're going to complain, you just can't live in that city. You have to get used to people honking all the time. Driving in Bombay is crazy."

Slumdog Millionaire opens to theaters on November 14th.

For the poster, trailer and more movie info, go to the Slumdog Millionaire Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox Searchlight Pictures
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