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The Mumbai- based model Freida Pinto whose debut film, Slumdog Millionaire, has won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, talks about her big launch
Slumdog Millionaire is a Hollywood comedy that revolves around the concept of a reality show and how a contestant uses this medium to contact a girl. I play the role of this 18-year-old feisty girl, Latika who is orphaned during childhood and finds a new family with two brothers Jamal and Salim. Together they become the 3 musketeers and start on life's beautiful and ugly journey!! Somehow her life takes an uncertain and dangerous diversion and from then on her ultimate quest in life is to reunite herself with the one she truly loves.
The casting director and co-director of Slumdog Millionaire, Loveleen Tandon, called me for an audition. This was followed by rigorous months of screen- testing with Danny Boyle the old-school way. It was only after the entire process, which was fun yet gruelling, that I got finalised as Latika.
Right from school, I have been actively taking part in all dramatic events. I modelled for a good two-and-a-half years and after I bagged the role I learnt most of what was required from Danny Boyle himself!! Post the film shoot I was really keen on joining a film school for the experience! So I attended the 3-month acting workshop of none other than acting guru Barry John!
My first shot was at Dariya Mahal in Versova! It was way back in November 2007. I was so nervous that I couldn't sleep all night because of the anticipation. I wont reveal the scene but I can tell you that it was pretty intense and though. I had just three or four lines on that day but I was worried I would forget those as well!! However Danny warmed me up to the scene with rehearsals and some solid director-actor chat. From then on it was smooth sailing.
In terms of acting in Danny Boyle's film the only challenge I faced was to tone down exaggerations! Indians are so wonderfully expressive but it doesn't always work for the camera. Besides that, where I stand today is because of my family's constant support and encouragement.
This industry is for fighters and those who do not give up! It is very important to believe in yourself. Even when a hundred people rejected me, I did not lose hope and finally one of the biggest directors of all times believed in me! Also working in this film has taught me a lot, not just in terms of acting but also about myself, which is an integral part of being a good actor!
I definitely respect a lot of actors in our Indian film industry and would love to work with them someday! Tabu is my favourite. I also admire Konkona Sen Sharma's body of work! I think she's one actor who can hold her own and can tackle anything thrown at her. Madhuri Dixit is the true symbol of versatility. Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi are fantastic too. Among the Hollywood female actors, Meryl Streep tops my list! Among the male actors without a doubt it is Aamir Khan! Internationally Johnny Depp is versatile and Jack Nicholson is my ultimate favourite!
As of now I am completely tied up with the press work for Slumdog Millionaire! But I hope to pick up work soon!