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Freida Pinto

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Freida Pinto
Malala and Freida Pinto meet the Youth For Change panel cropped frida.jpg
Born Freida Selena Pinto
(1984-10-18) 18 October 1984 (age 30)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater St. Xavier's College, Mumbai (B.A.)
Occupation Actress, model, presenter
Years active 2005–present

Freida Selena Pinto (born 18 October 1984)[1] is an Indian actress and model. Hailing from a Mangalorean Catholic family, she wanted to become an actress from a young age. Prior to making her cinematic debut, she worked as a model and a television presenter, and acted in plays while attending college. Pinto continued modeling for four years and enrolled herself in an acting course at the "Barry John's Acting Studio" in Mumbai.

Pinto rose to prominence by playing the leading lady in the 2008 British drama film Slumdog Millionaire, a film that marked her debut. Her performance was well received and she won the "Breakthrough Performance Award" at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. In addition, she was nominated at various award ceremonies such as British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards. Since then she has starred in a number of British and American productions including You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Immortals (2011), and Trishna (2011), where she played the titular character. Outside acting, Pinto is a part of the Agassi Foundation, a philanthropic organization started by Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, which provides education for deprived children.

Early life and modeling career[edit]

Pinto was born into a Mangalorean Catholic household in Mumbai.[2][3][4] Her mother, Sylvia, is the principal of St. John's universal School, Goregaon; and her father, Frederick, is a senior branch manager at the Bank of Baroda.[5] Pinto has an elder sister, Sharon, who works as an associate producer of NDTV, a news channel.[6] When Pinto was five years old, she aspired to become an actress.[7] Pinto studied at the Carmel of St. Joseph School in Malad, Mumbai, where she actively participated in sports and sang in the school choir. Sushmita Sen won Miss Universe 1994, inspiring the ten-year-old Pinto to "be like her—appreciated and a source of inspiration."[8][9] She completed a degree in arts with a major in English literature, and minors in Psychology and Economics, from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai in 2005.[7][10][11]

Pinto is an accomplished dancer in Indian classical dance.[12] She actively participated in plays and amateur theatre while attending college.[9] Later, she joined Elite Model Management and modeled for two and one-half years.[7] Pinto was featured in several television and print advertisements endorsing products such as Wrigley's Chewing Gum, Škoda, Vodafone India, Airtel, Visa, eBay, and DeBeers.[5] She continued to model for four years and appeared in runway shows and magazine covers including Femina and FNL.[5][6]

Acting career[edit]

Beginnings and breakthrough (2008–10)[edit]

Pinto along with the crew of Slumdog Millionaire
Pinto along with the crew of Slumdog Millionaire during its screening at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival

Before her entry into films, Pinto anchored Full Circle, an international travel show which was aired on Zee International Asia Pacific in English from 2006 to 2008.[13] During this time, she visited countries such as Fiji, Malaysia and Thailand.[5] During this time, Pinto auditioned for numerous films, all of which turned out to be unsuccessful. Later in an interview while being questioned about her rejections she added, "I'm glad things happened the way they happened. I needed to be rejected, and I needed to learn that it's part of the game... I can have 100 rejections, but I'm sure there's going to be one particular thing that is almost destined for me to have".[14] After many unsuccessful attempts, Pinto finally received a call from Danny Boyle to play the female lead in his upcoming film Slumdog Millionaire;[15][10] The film co-starred Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, and Irrfan Khan. Pinto played the role of Latika, the love interest of the lead character Jamal, played by Patel[16] Dubbed as India's answer to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the film was made on a moderate budget of USD 15 million.[17] Slumdog Millionaire turned out to be a sleeper hit, receiving universal acclaim mainly for its plot and soundtrack.[5] The film opened to international acclaim at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival winning the Cadillac People's Choice Award.[18] It emerged as the most successful film at the 81st Academy Awards winning eight of the ten nominations, including major categories such as Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.[5] The film also gained nominations at various award ceremonies including the Golden Globe Awards, where it won four awards. Pinto herself was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the 2009 BAFTA Awards.[19] In addition, she won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture alongside other cast members from the film.[20][21] The film was instrumental in launching a career for Pinto in Hollywood.[17]

Pinto next starred in Woody Allen's comedy-drama film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, alongside Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Anupam Kher and Naomi Watts.[22] The film premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, receiving negative reviews.[23] Pinto played a supporting character named "Dia".[24] Her next release was the science fiction film Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), a reboot of the Planet of the Apes series. She played Caroline, a primatologist, and was cast opposite James Franco. Pinto played the central character in her next film Miral, a biographical film based on a novel by Rula Jebreal. The film opened to negative reviews. A review from East Bay Express noted, "Pinto handles the central role with a certain dignity, but the real drama is in Miral's rejection of violence in favor of Hind Husseini's (Abbass) example of education and negotiation."[25] Following that, Pinto starred in 2011 fantasy-action-drama film, Immortals, in which she played the oracle priestess Phaedra.[26] The same year, she played "Princess Lailah" in the 1930s-set period drama film Black Gold; she was cast alongside Antonio Banderas and Mark Strong.[27]

Trishna and the future (2011–present)[edit]

In 2011, Pinto starred in Michael Winterbottom's British drama film Trishna alongside Riz Ahmed; she played the titular character in the film. An adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles, the film first premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Described by The Guardian as a "seductive, allegorical study of male-female relationships",[28] the film features Pinto as the daughter of a peasant who falls in love with a London-based hotelier, played by Ahmed.[29] Unlike her previous films, Trishna gained positive response from critics.[30] The film was universally acclaimed as it was nominated for the Best Film Award at the London Film Festival and Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival.[31]

In October 2013, Pinto was seen in Bruno Mars's single Gorilla. She was criticised by the Indian media for a sequence involving shedding her clothes and getting intimate with Mars.[32] Nevertheless, MTV described the act as "one gloriously cinematic scene", while James Montgomery of the channel further added "Thanks to Pinto's wattage".[33] Pinto's next release was the biographical drama film Desert Dancer that revolves around the life of a dancer. Pinto underwent rigorous dance training consisting of eight hours of rehearsals a day lasting for 14 weeks, as demanded by the role.[34] In 2014, she acted alongside Christian Bale in Knight of Cups.[35]

Media image[edit]

Pinto attending the 41st International Film Festival of India in Goa (2010)

Soon after the release of Slumdog Millionaire, Pinto garnered immense popularity and was frequently included in the "Most Beautiful Women in the World" list. In 2009, she was featured in People magazine's "Most Beautiful People List",[36] and "List of World's Best Dressed Women".[37] The same year, The Daily Telegraph reported that Pinto was the highest-paid Indian actress, although she never appeared in a Bollywood film.[38] She was also included in Vogue's 2009 list of the "top ten most stylish women".[39] On 13 May 2009, Pinto became a new spokesmodel for L'Oréal.[40] A controversy arose when she appeared in a TV commercial promoting L'Oreal, as many thought it to be racial discrimination from countries that are possessive about fair skin. The commercial showcased Pinto in what many perceived to be a lighter skin tone due to make-up or editing.[41]

In 2011, Pinto was included as the only Indian celebrity among the "50 Most Beautiful Women in Film", a list complied by Los Angeles Times Magazine.[42] The following year, People named her one of the "Most Beautiful at Every Age".[43] She was featured in the "Top 99 Most Desirable Women" poll conducted by AskMen three times consecutively between 2010 and 2012.[44][45][46] Following that, Pinto was voted the "Hottest Indian Chick" in a controversial poll conducted by GQ in 2013.[47]

Personal life[edit]

Before making her film debut Pinto was engaged to former publicist Rohan Antao; the relationship ended in January 2009.[48] After that she started dating her Slumdog Millionaire co-star Dev Patel. The couple lived together in Los Angeles, United States.[49] Later in an interview, Pinto stated that she does not want to act with Patel as she feels they will not be able to meet out the "chemistry" they had in their debut film.[50] In December 2014, the couple announced that they had split after almost six years of relationship.[51] Pinto was criticised by the Indian media for having "shunned" the Indian film industry.[52] However, Pinto claimed that she is unable to find roles that suit her in Bollywood while stating that she enjoys watching Bollywood films and is keen to act in one in the future.[53]

Pinto joined Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in support of their philanthropic organisation, the "Agassi Foundation". She is the only Indian actress to have participated in their annual fund raiser titled, "The 15th Grand Slam for Children", aimed at raising funds for the education of underprivileged children.[54] In 2012, Pinto joined Plan International's "Because I am a Girl" campaign as Global Ambassador, promoting gender equality to lift millions of girls out of poverty. In 2013, she appeared in a video clip for Gucci's "Chime for Change" campaign to raise funds and awareness of women's issues in terms of education, health, and justice.[55] In April 2013, Pinto collaborated with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim for the Call to Action – Girl Rising campaign. The documentary film Girl Rising made by Academy Award nominee Richard E. Robbins, showcases the power of education in transforming girls' lives around the globe.[56] In July 2014, Pinto spoke at the Girl Summit in London, where she called for more progress toward the end of female genital mutilation and child marriage.[57]


Film roles
Year Film Director Role Notes
2008 Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle Latika Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Palm Springs International Film Festival – Breakthrough Performance Award
Central Ohio Film Critics Association – Best Ensemble
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Black Reel Awards of 2008 – Best Ensemble
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Female Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared nomination with Dev Patel)
Nominated—Choice Movie Actress: Drama
Nominated—Choice Movie Fresh Face: Female
Nominated—Choice Movie: Liplock (shared nomination with Dev Patel)
2010 You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Woody Allen Dia
Miral Julian Schnabel Miral
2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes Rupert Wyatt Caroline Aranha
Immortals Tarsem Singh Phaedra
2012 Day of the Falcon[a] Jean-Jacques Annaud Princess Leyla
Trishna Michael Winterbottom Trishna
2014 Desert Dancer Richard Raymond Elaheh
Unity Shaun Monson Narrator Documentary
2015 Knight of Cups Terrence Malick Helen
Blunt Force Trauma Ken Sanzel Colt
Yamasong: March of the Hollows Sam Koji Hale Geta Post-production
2017 Jungle Book: Origins Andy Serkis Filming


  1. ^ Also known as Black Gold and Or noir


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  57. ^


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