Freida Pinto has certainly made a mark in the west. Her very first film, Slumdog Millionaire (2008), took her straight to the Academy Awards. While the actor has previously said that she was never too sure of what she wanted in terms of her career, she’s happy with the way it has shaped up, and is enjoying every bit of it.
Here, she talks about being called ‘Latika’ (her character from her debut movie) even today, her work plans in India, and more.
How does it feel when people still refer to you as Latika?
I would take that as a compliment. First of all, I’m no longer 23. But, somehow, I’m still put in that category. Thank you very much for thinking that I am still that young. With such characters, some actors may think, “Oh my god, this character is pulling me back.” But I have immense gratitude for what the film has given me. For years, Leonardo DiCaprio was called ‘Jack’, his character in Titanic (1997). There are certain characters that go down in history and people remember them. So maybe I can be one of them. I’m going to enjoy it.
You’ve joined hands with Jessica Chastain, Queen Latifah and others to launch a production company to further female empowerment in TV and films. How’s that going?
I’m so excited about that. It’s taken us a while to figure out how exactly we are going to go about it. We have been receiving such amazing responses. Editors, writers and actors have been calling us. We have many diverse stories about women by women. Some of these stories are controversial to take on.
You’ve made a mark on the global front. Do you think that has paved the way for other Indian actors?
Before me, there were quite a few Indian actors [who have made a mark abroad]. There have been so many people before who’ve done English cinema, American cinema, cinema across the world, and television. Their visibility has made the feat easier for everyone else.
You haven’t done any work in India. You’re now producing content in the west. Would you like to do something like that here as well?
I’m already doing it. I want to focus on South Asian films because I belong to this world, and I feel that in terms of stories, we are underrepresented on the global platform. We certainly have striving cinema in India as well. But we need a bigger platform to be able to tell our stories better, like in the case of Slumdog Millionaire. I want to focus on stories that are specifically about women. I want to focus on India because I want to give back to my country in the best way I can, which is through storytelling.
You’ve been shuttling between continents, and you’ve previously said you enjoy a nomadic lifestyle. Has that changed?
I’ve absolutely enjoyed having bases in London (UK), Los Angeles (USA) and India. But now, it’s more about LA and Mumbai. I’m getting older now, so I want to enjoy the nomadic life without it being a burden. I want to be able to take a vacation or a break every now and then, while still doing my work.