Diversity not all about skin colour, ethnicity: Freida Pinto
“Diversity becomes a very pointless conversation after a while if people are only talking about colour of skin.”
For Freida Pinto, diversity is not about being “black or brown” or isn’t just confined to what one sees on camera but is what goes behind it. The U.S.—based Indian actor, who found fame with the Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire”, says unless the debate on diversity extends beyond skin colour, it is “pointless and redundant”.
From veteran actors like Shashi Kapoor, Kabir Bedi, and Lillete Dubey to names like Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Priyanka Chopra —— Indian actors have made their mark in foreign filmdom.
While most of them have evaded stereotypical presentation, Freida feels there’s a need to broaden the definition of ‘diversity’.
“Everybody wants to talk about diversity, but I like to broaden the definition. It is not just diversity in terms of ethnicity and skin colour, as in black or brown. It has become a redundant conversation. It is not about representing people on sexual orientation. That should never be a barrier for the kind of roles that people play,” Freida told IANS over phone.
She added: “I think diversity is a compulsory subject matter and, yes, there is a certain issue in films. But look at the world… It does not look like a white persons’ world. There are all different kinds of people in it and all different kinds of actors and languages.”
The 31-year-old, who has worked with actor Christian Bale and filmmaker Woody Allen, feels there is a need to focus on other important aspects of filmmaking than just see what meets the eye.
She said: “It is not only the representation that you see on camera; what about the people who write, what about the people who direct, what about the people who produce? So for me, diversity becomes a very pointless conversation after a while if people are only talking about colour of skin.
Frieda said that, she is glad she didn’t wander on “the path where there is a lot of negativity” in the industry.
“There is a lot of criticism, a lot of temptation that is always around you and I could see it. I was pretty much protected by the group of people around me and I never had one of the things.”
Her journey, the Mumbai girl says, has been a great ride.
“I feel it is important to basically take an opportunity that comes your way, but also kind of be able to sit back and enjoy. It is harder for me to do the latter as I always think I am so young that I have to keep going…I have to keep doing that.
“It is great to have an ambition but it is kind of a little sad when people don’t enjoy their success,” said Freida, who was a model in Mumbai before she hit the jackpot with Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire”.
The actor will be next seen in “Yamasong: March of the Hollows”, besides she will be voicing Mowgli’s adoptive mother in “Jungle Book: Origins”, Warner Brothers’ motion capture live-action adventure.
She is also pitching in to bring women empowerment in the industry via a non-profit production company called “We Do It Together”. She also attended the ongoing Cannes Film Festival for the same.