Posts Tagged ‘Freida Pinto


Frieda Pinto: A Star Is Truly Born!

Superstar Freida Pinto smiles for The Ravi Report

Frieda Pinto needs no introduction. Plain and simple folks. 

“Oh my God, did you see how beautiful she is?” said one alluring brunette with almond-shaped exotic brown eyes who was lucky enough to get a ticket to Pinto’s recent movie premiere in NY.
“I’d marry her in a second,” boasted a stylish male Calvin Klein model who among many models was a  guest at the premiere.
Such is the kind of phenomenon that the young, stylish and sought after actress possesses.  And oh by the way, she’s also a  fine actress and when you see her latest film “Trishna”, you will totally agree.

Ravi Yande with Freida Pinto at “Trishna” NY Premiere

Pinto  is a star in every sense of the word and over the years, as I have met and interviewed her,  I have found her to be the most well grounded, mature and focused individual. As a child, she has always wanted to be an actress and has reached her dream at a very young age. Born and raised in an academic family in Mumbai, India, Pinto modeled, did some plays and  took acting classes at the famous Barry John Acting Studio in Mumbai before hitting it big.

The Slumdog Millionaire superstar who became an instant overnight sensation after the amazing film took home eight Academy Awards, has now become one of Hollywood’s favorite young actresses  working with some of the biggest stars and directors. A chance only a few lucky and gifted actresses get in a lifetime.
Pinto 27,  had very little acting experience before she landed the role as Latika in “Slumdog Millionaire” and to be honest, her part in the film wasn’t even substantial compared to the star of the film Dev Patel. But when Pinto made screen time, you noticed. The captivating facial expressions, the on-screen chemistry with Patel combined with her innocent beauty, all catered to making her role an integral part of the movie. In other words, she had arrived.

Friends of The Ravi Report at “Trishna” premiere

Pinto’s latest film, “Trishna” directed by the brilliant Michael Winterbottom (Yes, THAT Winterbottom) and based on the novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy,  is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking films that I think Pinto has ever done. As the lead actress , Pinto holds the film on her own and one can  see that Latika has grown into a refined  actress.  Winterbottom is a gifted director. Plain and simple.

Pinto plays the role of a simple, lower-caste Indian girl in exotic and beautiful Rajasthan, India who meets a dashing handsome man only to be swept off her feet in a short fairy tale romance. When the fairy tale  is over, reality sets in and THAT’s where the drama gets good. Ok, no more on the story line folks.

Calvin Klein and friend were special guests at premiere

Pinto does an exceptional  job playing the role of Trishna showing the multiply sides of her emotions when acting. Winterbottom clearly knew what he was getting when he cast Pinto in the lead.

Pinto spoke exclusively to The Ravi Report about her journey into stardom and her new film. 
 RR: Freida, always great to see you. You look simply gorgeous. It’s been a terrific journey for you so far, your thoughts?

FP: Thank you so much.  The journey so far has been fantastic but honestly, there is a lot more for me to learn and I have a good feeling that it is going to be upwards for me in terms of what I am going to learn from now on.
RR: You are the lead actress in the film, carrying it completely on your own and you did an outstanding job. What kinds of pressures did you face working as the lead and with a brilliant director like Winterbottom?

Pinto shares a laugh with The Ravi Report


FP: This film (Trishna) is really my genesis and I never thought that I could carry a film and this is the first one. Michael (Winterbottom) really believed in me…and I am so happy that I took on the project.
RR: One thing that is known in Hollywood, is that you do in-depth research when you accept a new film. How has your past performances in films helped with Trishna?
FP: What’s really interesting for me is that I had such a good team and I have worked with the best in the film (Hollywood) industry and if I didn’t work with any of the directors like Danny Boyle, Woody Allen, Julian Schnabel, and Rupert Wyatt, none of this would have happened and I would not have had the understanding of how different directors work and how you can mold yourself into whatever character they envision you to be and understanding different nuances that I would not have understood.

RR: You always speak so graciously to me about your projects Frieda. I will say you are one of the most well- grounded and humble stars I have ever met and it is  always a pleasure to meet you.

FP: Thank you for saying that, it’s kind and I am so grateful for it all. I really and truly am.

Gorgeous models attend premiere

The non-stop working and jet setting actress still makes time for family and friends. With parents in Mumbai and close friends in Hollywood, the captivating actress is constantly on the go.  Now, with the tile of Global Brand Ambassador of Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign, the actress has added one more project to her already full plate embracing it with that million dollar  smile!

“Trishna” is now showing in selected theaters across the country and in India. For more info, visit
The journey continues…and for Frieda Pinto, it’s an AWESOME  one!

Bollywood Superstar’s Detainment: Racial Profiling or Publicity Stunt?

My phone kept ringing and text messages kept coming in until my phone couldn’t hold them anymore.

“Shah Rukh Khan’s been held at Newark Airport” wrote one person. “Did the  “Tom Cruise” of India get racially profiled?” asked one reader.  “I think everyone in America will now see “My Name Is Khan” Great pr for the film!” wrote one person referring to Khan’s new film releasing shortly. The text/phone  messages pretty much contained the same premise:  Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan had been detained last Friday at Newark International Liberty Airport in New Jersey by the United States Custom & Board Protection and according to the star was  racially profiled because of  his last name being of Muslim origin. This of course prompted outrage from the  Bollywood Fraternity as well as emails from my journalist/media friends from India asking me what my thoughts were and how people in NY were reacting  to  this ” incident”.  

Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan says his recent detainment at Newark airport had to do with racial profiling.

Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan says his recent detainment at Newark airport had to do with racial profiling.

Well for starters and of course no disrespect to the mega talented star Shah Rukh Khan,  I think New Yorkers have much more to think about right now (healthcare policy, recession, job security, etc) then to focus on why a multi-millionaire Indian movie star was detained at Newark airport. Also, the word ” incident” would probably not be my first choice  in describing what happened to the superstar  nor does it lessen in value in what did happen to him, but I wouldn’t use that particular word to describe the news story.

From what  news reports are saying, Newark airport officials were  following protocol when Khan’s name flashed up on their screen and asked the  movie star to step aside for questioning which many if  not all of us have gone through at one point or another when travelling abroad.  According to one report by AP, the iconic Indian film star was en route to Chicago for an India Day Parade when he was stopped for questioning. After being held for some time (Khan has gone on record as saying it was a  few hours while Custom officials have targeted the time to being closer to an hour) and after making some phone calls to some important people in India and the Indian Consulate in NY,  Khan  was released .

Khan may not be a household name in America  but over the past several years, the multi-talented gifted actor has certainly created a global following and made national headlines for his films outside of India. Attending film premiers in NY, shooting movies in America, debuting his film “Devdas” at the Cannes Film Festival and constant appearances on CNN and BBC  has certainly given Khan global notoriety and is one of the few Bollywood filmstars to have achieved it.  His sold out Elvis Presley style stage  shows and his  blockbuster films rake in millions around the world. His recent  appearance as a presenter at the Golden Globes Awards along side “Slumdog Millionaire” superstar Freida Pinto watched by a global audience of  millions validates the fact that the iconic 44 year old Indian actor has  indeed a  mass appeal outside of India.

But he is still unknown to Americans.

What happened to Khan at Newark airport was  seen  as shocking  to some and standard procedure to others. Within minutes the news spread like wildfire.

Bollywood Star Held At Newark Airport” wrote the New York Daily News and “Questioning a Bollywood VIP” headlined the New York Times.   So like any good blogger, The Ravi Report  took to the streets of the Big Apple  and  asked what people thought of the news story.

“Who is Khan?” said one very pretty Asian girl sitting in Starbucks in midtown. “I don’t know who he is. If the custom officials had no idea either, why should he get special treatment? He’s not a foreign diplomat or a Security Official. He’s a visitor in America”.

“He is a huge superstar & worshipped in his own country and that’s great…but in America, he’s just a traveller like the rest of us” said one very cute & sexy blond who actually had seen some of Khan’s films at a recent film festival .

A few I spoke to however were a bit skeptical.

“I think it’s all a specially designed marketing plan for his new film “My Name is Khan”. When  his movie opens everyone will go see it because of what happened to him” said an Indian cab driver.

“I think it’s all great pr for his new film. I mean come on, you couldn’t pay someone to get that kind of pr. People all over the world know about his new film now.” commented one very attractive Indian lady wearing  a peacock blue silk sari coming from the India Independence Day parade where the news had spread like wildfire she said.

As I continued to ask people who were exiting the India Day parade, I was surprised to hear that many in fact  believed  that  the news story was to drum up publicity for Khan’s  upcoming movie which ironically happens to be based on the  exact same theme of what happened to the superstar. Khan’s new film recently  finished shooting in America and is scheduled to be released later this year. The film’s premise is about racial profiling Indian Muslims living in America after the 9/11 attacks.

People I spoke to also said  that since Sept. 11, Khan has travelled outside of India many times for film premieres & sold out stage shows often travelling months at a time in the US from airport to airport and never did he or his team complain of any mistreatment or racial profiling by US officials to the news.

The Bollywood megastar has yet to be interviewed on television about the incident (as of this writing Khan was on his way to back to India) so we will have to wait to hear what he has to say about his treatment at Newark airport.  To date,  custom officials at Newark International Liberty Airport have not commented  further except for a statement that has been released to the press stating that Mr. Khan was questioned for about an hour  and was detained a bit longer due to his luggage getting lost.

The journey continues…



It did it. The film about hope and love won 8 Oscars including Best Picture at the 2009 Academy Awards last night. It was incredible. Just incredible. Ok…one more time. Incredible.

Superstars Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto have become international superstars

Actors Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto have become international superstars

My media contacts in LA kept texting and telling me what a strong Indian presence there was at the Oscars this year. Top Bollywood A listers like actors Anil Kapoor and Ifrran Khan graced the red carpets with superstars Freida Pinto, Dev Patel and Loveleen Tandan.”It was so nice to see saris and Bollywood again this year at the Oscars” one text read.  

Although  the win was highly anticipated due to the stream of awards that “Slumdog Millionaire” has been winning since the nation first took notice of the incredible and amazing film, it was still every bit exciting to see the film do so well. I was at an Oscar party in NY with about 500 people and it was pin drop silence before the Best Picture announcement was made then tears & jumps of joy came afterwards.  “This has made India so proud” said one Indian beauty at the party trying to hold back tears. “I really want to go to India now!” said one cute brunette.

Musical genius A.R Rahman won two Oscars including Best Original Score and for his song “Jai Ho”. The maestro has the Midas touch indeed!

Loveleen Tandon, Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy are an award winning team

Loveleen Tandan, Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy are an award winning team

Not only India, but the world. I wholeheartedly congratulate the team and cast of “Slumdog Millionaire” for their tremendous and well deserved success.

You guys rock! Jai Ho!




Ok…so now that  the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” has pretty much become an household name, I think its time for me to share with you some additional great news about the film, the cast and producers just in case you haven’t heard. (which maybe only a few of you since the movie has skyrocketed to fame in the last few weeks and everyone is talking about it! I mean everyone!)

Superstars Dev Patel and Frida Pinto pose for The Ravi Report

Superstars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto pose for The Ravi Report

Since the NY premiere of the film last November when The Ravi Report was front and center at the opening, director Danny Boyle and his cast have been flooded with awards, special recognition and enough nominations and wins to fill Giant Stadium!

Slumdog Millionaire”has so far to date, won four Golden Globes including one for Best Drama, won five Critics Choice Awards and received 11 BAFTA nominations and is rumored to be a strong contender for best picture  at the Oscars this year.  Everyone associated with the film has gotten worldwide recognition. Actor Dev Patel and Freida Pinto have been on Letterman, CNN, NBC Today, Golden Globes you name it, they have been there! Pinto has been written up in almost every leading fashion magazine regarding her sexy and classic style of clothing, jewellery and shoes. Zac Posen is one of her favorite designers she has told the press. Both Patel and Pinto have become instant superstars in their native home land of London and India.

Award winning director Danny Boyle being interviewed on the red carpet

Award winning director Danny Boyle being interviewed on the red carpet

Director Danny Boyle is basically on cloud nine and should be. His film has done remarkable well at the box office(13 mil budget and cleared over 40 mil so far)  and is still climbing the box office charts in terms of popularity and $$$.

So, the question now being asked by many is how does a small Indian film with unknown lead actors get so much attention and win so many awards? Simple. It’s not rocket science. The film has an excellent story with brilliant casting (thank you Loveleen Tandon. You are a God sent) great music from  genius A.R. Rahman and  incredible performances by three of the biggest names in the Indian film industry Anil Kapoor, Mahesh Manjrekar and Irrfan Khan. Mixed all that together with the Midas touch of director Boyle and you my friends have a great film!

The popularity of the film has increased so much that additional theaters across America and the UK have opened up and shows continue to sell out at certain movie houses which brings me to the age old question that everyone has been asking- will “Slumdog Millionaire” bring home the Oscar?

The incredible team of co-director and casting agent Loveleen Tandon, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

The incredible team of co-director and casting agent Loveleen Tandon, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

Well, it’s looking very good these days with the amount of accolades the movie has won and the world wide press it has received.  The feel good film has indeed opened up the hearts of the critics and the public but it has also done something else pretty incredible- it showed the true spirit of Mumbai and the incredible energy the city breeds and all I want to say is if a kid from the slums can become a millionaire overnight then anything is possible!

Academy Awards nominations are on January 22, 2009 and the Oscars will be broadcast live on February 22, 2009 on ABC.



NY Red Carpet Premiere: “Slumdog Millionaire: A Powerful Film With Early Oscar Buzz

New York: A glittering red carpet night at the Imagine Asian Theater in NY on November 8, 2008 when Hollywood and Bollywood came together  for the premiere of one of the most talked about movies so far this year “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Co-director Loveleen Tandon, Director Danny Boyle & screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

Co-director Loveleen Tandon, Director Danny Boyle & screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

Slumdog Millionaire” is an incredible and highly recommended movie and has the Oscar buzz to prove it.  The movie based on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup and screenplay written by the multi-talented Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty) shows the world real India- a country where over a billiion plus people live, many in poverty who have dreams of making a better life for themselves and struggle daily to find the answer.  It’s also home to lavish Bollywood,  incredible culture, music, stylish fashion, global techology and of course people like “Jamal Malik”.

At the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council star studded red carpet NY premiere hosted by founder Aroon Shivadasani,  I had a rare chance to interview the director of the masterpiece,  the highly acclaimed Danny Boyle who was surprised at the incredible reaction the film has received from the American audience in such a short time.

“I was always worried about the American audience reaction. I knew it would do well in England due to the strong connection we have with India but was a bit concerned about what western audiences would think” states the award winning director whose previous films have included “Trainspotting”,The Beach” and “28 Days Later”.

No need to worry here. All the major film critics have embraced it with open arms.

Slumdog Millioniare” was in fact  well received with festival audiences. It took home “People’s Choice Award” from the prestigious Toronto Film Festival this past September and almost every major newspaper has given the film a glowing rating. There’s a reason why the critics and audiences have taken to the film believes Boyle.

“The film depicts the main character Jamal as an underdog and a dreamer who fights to achieve his dream in everyway he can. I think the concept of rooting for the underdog is buried very deep into the American psyche which is why I  think the American audiences are appreciating it” states the award winning director.

Boyle says by living in East London for years he himself has been exposed to Indian culture but his personal experience in India during the filming was something he never had experienced before.

“I only really lived in Mumbai so I can’t really comment on whole of India but what I experienced, the people, the city is vibrant and has a great vibe all the time” states the director.

Without giving to much away, ‘Slumdog Millionaire” is about Jamal Malik (portrayed by newcomer actor Dev Patel who should make room for his Oscar staute) a slum child with no future but dreams of making it big. Through his life experiences, he meets dangerous people, makes friends and enemies and falls in love with the beautiful Latika (portrayed by the stunning newcomer Freida Pinto). Footnote: Both young actors have never acted before in a movie and being their first film, you can see how brilliant casting director turned co-director Loveleen Tandon has a keen eye for talent. Patel and Pinto are simply amazing.

Dev Patel & Freida Pinto at NY premiere.

Dev Patel & Freida Pinto at NY premiere.

Jamal’s life included a series of adventures, mishaps and complex situations that eventually help him  on the popular TV quiz show “Who Wants To Be An Millionaire”.  The “slumdog” becomes a chai seller for a calling center and like the rest of the world, gets hooked on to the show while working at the center. Jamal gets a chance to be on the show, starts to win money and soon becomes a target for the jealous and insecure host Prem Kumar  played by Bollywood megastar Anil Kapoor.

“Anil was great. He was a bit nervous working in an English movie although he speaks the language perfectly. I had never met him before and he helped out in many ways including guiding the studio audience during the scenes” states the director who also roped in other Bollywood top stars including Irrfan Khan (The Namesake” & “The Darjeeling Limited”) and top director/actor Mahesh Manjrekar.

Prem engulfed with jealousy & suspicion makes it extremely challenging for Jamal to continue on the show but goodness  prevails and Jamal ends up winning millions on the show bringing him unexpected fame, fortune and havoc. What happens next is what makes the story interesting and Oscar worthy.

The sold out premiere was also graced by internationally known and award winning movie director Mira Nair, beautiful actress Sarita Choudhury, TV star Maulik Pancholy and actor Ajay Naidu.

Slumdog Millionaire” is one movie you do not want to miss this holiday season and when it gets to the Oscars,  you, like the rest of the world, will root for “Jamal” to win!

Flickr Photos