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Pix: Freida Pinto wins over Toronto

Last updated on: September 12, 2011 14:59 IST

Pix: Freida Pinto wins over Toronto

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Arthur J Pais in Toronto
When Freida Pinto walked the red carpet last week in Toronto at the premiere of Trishna, based on the Thomas Hardy classic (Tess of the D'Ubervilles) but set in Rajasthan and Bollywood, she made a bit of history.

Of the five films she has acted in, four have been shown at the Toronto International Film Festival in three years. Trishna is very significant as she owns it, plays the title role and has given her most well-rounded and captivating performance yet. It is also her most substantial role.

The dark and tragic story of a chaste woman from a poor family who is seduced by a rich man who gets to see her more as a commodity as the story progresses, the film, directed by Britain's Michael Winterbottom is sensuous in its early scenes.

But by the time it moves into its last quarter, it becomes a story of tortured sex and callous male attitude, leading to a brutal murder and a powerful but downbeat ending.     


Image: Freida Pinto
Photographs: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for BlackBerry
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'Freida Pinto has all the pouting beauty that Trishna requires'

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Pinto received good reviews, which is no ordinary feat as she is paired with British actor Riz Ahmed who is pure dynamite. He is reportedly playing a disenchanted American immigrant in The Reluctant Fundamentalist being directed by Mira Nair based on an international bestseller of the same name.

'Freida Pinto has all the pouting beauty that Trishna requires, as well as the awkwardness and vulnerability' wrote Screen International

With Slumdog Millionaire, then You Will Meet  a Tall Dark StrangerMiral and now Trishna, all premiering at TIFF, Pinto says she feels very much at home in Toronto.

The Toronto festival is among the most influential on the film circuit. It is here that Oscar winners such as American Beauty, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire, Black Swan and The King's Speech, made their first solid impression and began their award winning journeys.


Image: Freida Pinto and Michael Winterbottom
Photographs: Aaron Harris/Getty Images
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Freida: The $1 billion actress?

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Last week was an auspicious week for the actress. Return of the Planet of the Apes became her highest grossing film, beating the $360 million worldwide box office of Slumdog Millionaire. Her role in the film was flimsy but the worldwide success of the film that cost about $93 million (an average price tag by Hollywood standards) has given a solid heft to her career.

Apes is expected to end its run with about $425 million worldwide. By then, the total box office of movies Pinto has acted in would reach $800 million.

If Trishna does good art house business and her next film, Immortals, does solid business in mainstream theatres, Freida Pinto has a good chance of reaching the $1 billion milestone by the end of this year.


Image: Dev Patel and Freida Pinto
Photographs: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for BlackBerry
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The sexual frankness of Trishna may shock Indian viewers

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Several actors of Indian origin including Lisa Ray and Nandita Das have had more than one film at TIFF. John Abraham has had Water and Kabul Express but none of them has had four films shown here.  

The sexual frankness of Trishna and its violence may shock some Indian viewers but those who are familiar with international films, and those who have read the Thomas Hardy classic, may accept them as necessary.

Image: Freida Pinto
Photographs: Matt Carr/Getty Images
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Trishna shows a tourist version of India

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The film eschews a tourist version of India. The scenes of festivals, street life and elements of Bollywood could have been edited better, but they do not harm the film.

The British newspaper The Guardian has rightly complimented director Winterbottom for his handling of exotica. 'The technical qualities are superb. India is more than just a backdrop, the camera captures a studious, almost documentary-style vision of the country, one that never segues into kitsch, post-Slumdog cultural tourism,' the newspaper wrote.


Image: Dev Patel and Freida Pinto
Photographs: Aaron Harris/Getty Images
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