New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Freida Pinto feels there was a time when the world ridiculed Indians for speaking so many languages and celebrating so many festivals. The actress says the world needs to imbibe the ethos of Indian culture in this “dark time”.
The actress is excited about her new animated show “Mira, Royal Detective”, weaved around with the Indian culture and traditions. She feels people will be amazed to look at the myriad colours and diversity of India.
“I think the first thing is that the world is going to be absolutely enthralled by the fact that there are so many languages and festivals that we celebrate,” Freida told IANS in an interview.
“We, in the past, have been ridiculed for speaking so many languages and celebrating so many festivals. Now, they are going to see the beauty of these and then realise what they are missing on. They will want to celebrate a few of them here in America and I think they rightfully should, similar to celebrating Christmas, Easter or any other festival,” she added.
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Representation Matters! In 2008 when Slumdog Millionaire was released I knew how important that film would be in the way the South Asian narrative would be viewed for the better. I felt so lucky to be part of it. It would mean more opportunities and more acceptance. But that alone was not going to be enough. Because “normalizing” can only achieve scale when we start young. Being part of Mira, Royal Detective is one of my proudest achievements to date. I get to play Queen Shanti who appoints a kind, empathetic, intelligent and confident little girl named Mira to be the Royal detective to her kingdom. This show is groundbreaking on many levels- first of it’s kind ever in the animation world, an all South Asian voiceover cast and the best part NO APU accents. Thank you very much. I couldn’t help but tear up at the premiere watching the littlest of little kids of all races and ethnicities, to their teenage siblings and their parents completely enthralled while watching Mira Royal Detective. Thank you Disney Junior for putting your time, resources and sincere efforts in making this adorable little animation series that I predict is gonna be monumental in shaping culture. #MiraRoyalDetective @disneyjunior
The US-based Indian actress, who found fame with the Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire”, continued: “I hope they celebrate Eid, Holi and Diwali and understand the significance of these festivals. All these festivals are tied to Mother Nature but also in good and evil, the same way all the other religious festivals are tied into. So, I think it will be a great learning and perception building as well.
“Also, as a point of view of how much the Indian culture and tradition is weaved around family, friendship and togetherness. I think the world really needs it right now. We need this at this dark time,” she added.
Freida has carved out a niche of her own in world cinema through her roles in films like “Miral”, “Day Of The Falcon”, “Immortals”, “Desert Dancer” and “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes”. Freida was also seen with Christian Bale in Terrence Malick”s film “Knight Of Cups”, which brought to light Hollywood”s underbelly. Her work resume also includes projects “Guerrilla”, “Yamasong: March of the Hollows”, “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” and “Love Sonia”.
The actress feels that lack of awareness of Indian culture led to stereotypes.
“There”s this beautiful thing about the Indian culture that it”s very welcoming but because of the lack of awareness of the culture over the years, it has been reduced to stereotypes. And this show (”Mira, Royal Detective”) shatters all of these. No one speaks in a particular accent; we all just keep our own, just to make it universally understood. This will make people seen and heard and not make them feel ridiculous while watching a show like this,” she said.
Set in the fictional land of Jalpur, “Mira, Royal Detective” follows the life of Mira, a commoner who is appointed to the role of royal detective by the queen. Freida has voiced the character of Queen Shanti who appoints a kind, empathetic, intelligent and confident little girl named Mira to be the Royal detective to her kingdom.
“Playing Queen Shanti in ”Mira, Royal Detective” is extremely special because firstly, I never grew up watching a show like this. The fact that the show now gets made with a whole South Asian cast, theme, songs along with clothing, language etc just means that we get to normalise the South Asian and Indian culture. We get other people to watch this and be a part of it as well. It”s like we all are invited to this one big party at ”Mira, Royal Detective”,” she said.
The series features an all-star cast of prominent South Asian actors including Jameela Jamil, Kal Penn, Freida, Hannah Simone, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Aasif Mandvi and Aparna Nancherla amongst others. It will also introduce 16-year-old newcomer Leela Ladnier as the voice of Mira. The show will premiere in the US on March 20 on Disney Channel. It will go on air on Disney Channel India on March 22.