On Friday, April 27, Freida Pinto’s Trishna premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York with actor and director Michael Winterbottom introducing the film to US audiences for the first time. There will be another screening today. Says an ecstatic Freida, “I’m really excited for the entire team — British and Indian. It feels like a real victory when independent films get a chance as well. And what could be better than being showcased at a festival that has always represented the finest of cinematic experiences?”
Co-starring Riz Ahmed, Trishna premiered internationally at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9, 2011, and in India at the 42nd International Film Festival of India in Goa last November. The film was shot in Jaipur and Mumbai. Michael had earlier come to India to film The Mighty Heart (2007), co-starring Angelina Jolie and Irrfan Khan.
After adapting Jude the Obscure (Jude, 1996) and The Mayor Of Casterbridge (The Claim, 2000) for the big screen, Michael had turned his attention to another Thomas Hardy classic, Tess Of The D’Urbervilles. He transported Tess, renamed Trishna, from 19th century England to contemporary rural Rajasthan. The peasant girl is wooed by a wealthy Anglo-Indian property developer, Jay Singh, and whisked away to the bright lights of cosmopoliton Mumbai. Here he reveals himself to be a sadist and the relationship turns volatile and sordid.
Describing Trishna as her biggest challenge to date, Freida admits that it was an experience to return to India and shoot a film despite the dust and heat. “We shot for six weeks and except for one day off for a publicity photo shoot, I was on the set every day. I’m virtually the hero of the film,” she reminisces, adding, “Growing up, I was an avid Thomas Hardy fan and it was a high to relive a character from my literature class.”
The film opened in the UK on March 9 and will have a limited release in the US on July 13. It will be followed by a wider release. It is expected to arrive in India later this year, and will be dubbed in 16 languages.