Freida Pinto received a Breakthrough Performance Award for her debut film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ at the 20th anniversary of the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on January 6, 2009. Photo Credit: Wireimages
January 08, 2009, (
The event presented by Cartier was held at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, California.
Pinto, 24, was bestowed the award for the role of Latika in Slumdog Millionaire. Past recipients of this award include Jennifer Hudson and Felicity Huffman.
Freida Pinto at the 20th anniversary of the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on January 6, 2009. Photo Credit: Wireimages
A very confident looking Pinto oozed charm and elegance dressed in an ice-blue single shoulder RM by Roland Mouret dress paired with her million dollar smile.
As an unknown actress, she made an indelible impression upon moviegoers in her first film role; rarer still when that actress is foreign-born and speaking in a tongue that’s not familiar to American audiences.
Discovered by Danny Boyle while casting his surprise smash, Slumdog Millionaire, Freida Pinto is a dazzling mix of beauty, brains and native talent in whom the camera found love at first sight.
The story line of Slumdog Millionaire is part fairy tale, part allegory and part history lesson: Jamal, a young man from the slums of Mumbai, becomes an overnight sensation on India’s equivalent of the reality show “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” by answering every question correctly. Outraged by his success, and believing that he’s part of a scam engineered by the show or by criminal forces, he’s arrested by the authorities and spends a grueling night proving his honesty by telling the police inspector in charge of his interrogation just how he came to know all the answers.
As the tale unfolds, we flash back to his childhood, beginning with Jamal and his brother Salim taking in a young orphan girl, Latika, and fending for her even as the two brothers themselves struggle to survive in the outcast slums where they’ve been brought up. In the course of that struggle, Jamal falls in love with the girl, but they are separated through circumstances when Jamal saves her from a crook who wants to sell her into child slavery.
Years later, Jamal and his brother have made their way to the big city, but Jamal has never forgotten Latika, and when he gets his chance to be on the show, he uses this golden opportunity in hopes that his childhood love will see him on TV, and the two will be reunited. Things don’t always turn out as hoped, of course, and therein lies the story’s true transcendent power.
In the roll of the grown Latika, Pinto couldn’t be more perfect. Complex, blessed with a serene beauty, and capable of emitting both fire and ice with equal aplomb, she radiates exactly the kind of inner strength and sure presence that are called for by a role in which she portrays a character men want to treat like property, but whom nobody can truly own. A dazzling talent with the kind of screen charisma that comes along once in a great while, Freida Pinto is surely destined for great things.
Other recipients of the Palm Springs awards included Anne Hathaway, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, Dakota Fanning, Amy Adams and the cast of Revolutionary Road, composer Alexandre Desplat.
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