Monday, February 23, 2009

Freida O Freida

Guys, this appeared in Bombay Times this morning.

Shobhaa’s World
Freida O Freida…
What a week it has been! I’m writing this before the Oscars announcements, and my fingers are crossed. With 200 crores riding on it, ‘Slumdog…’ had better win all the big ones, or else the punters will be seriously unhappy. With Pranab’s dismal Interim Budget, the tanking Sensex, and general feeling of gloom and doom, we need something to cheer us up. If a story of hope – romantic and poetic in its own unique way - makes us believe, even briefly that life is beautiful, then Boyle would have done us a favour. Personally speaking, it is Freida Pinto I am most interested in. As Latika, she didn’t do very much for me, but as Freida, I am fascinated by her story. Ever since Mumbai Mirror carried the scoop on Freida’s secret wedding to Rohan Antao in 2007, I am even more intrigued by the young girl’s real life script. It’s the stuff movies are made of. Someone should pen her biography. Better still, she should doher own book. A quickie. At a dinner party last week, two men were slamming Freida for dumping Rohan. I found myself defending her fiercely. It is easy to say, ‘Oh, she used the guy when she was a nobody and then ditched him once she’d made it.’ But look at it from her perspective. When she was just a plain looking , average Jane from the back of the beyond, trying to get ahead as a model like thousands of other hopefuls, she could never have envisaged what was awaiting her just a few short months from then. Freida was frightfully young, immature and a struggler. She didn’t have it easy. She only had Rohan from Goa to fall back on. Rohan must have been an understanding, helpful boyfriend. I’m sure he is a nice guy. The mistake both of them made was to rush into marriage. Going by press reports, it was one of those hasty decisions which Freida at any rate, apparently regretted soon after. It was too late by that time, as her wedding pictures suggest. She could not have dreamt that ‘Slumdog..’ would happen to her… and because of that one film, her entire life would change so dramatically, practically overnight.
So what does a girl in her position do? Stick by her man? The very man who she may have outgrown? Is that possible? Desirable? No way! Remember, she is no longer the same girl. She is a star! Not an ordinary star, but a big international star. She has been catapulted into an entirely different world. Met extraordinary people, received an inordinate amount of attention. She is no longer the Freida who loved a kind but uninspiring boy called Rohan. As things stand today, chances are Freida will make it big on the global scene.If that does happen, she will be courted by the mightiest names in Hollywood. Where would sweet, little Rohan have fitted into this picture?? It is an old, old story. A familiar one. Bollywood is full of similar tales as well. Most times, girls like Freida get slammed for being ruthless, ambitious ‘users’ who discard loyal boyfriends\husbands once they achieve fame and fortune. Yes , they do. So what? Better that than letting the poor chap hang around, ignored and snubbed by one and all. Rohan would have been a liability in Freida’s glamourous, glitzy new life. She was smart enough to distance herself before the whole thing went any further. Of course, there will be an enormous amount of sympathy for the guy. Understandable. He’ll be swamped with interview offers…. especially if ‘Slumdog..’ sweeps the Oscars. If he’s sensible, he’ll spurn all of this and get a life for himself.It is only in commercial Hindi movies like ‘Rangila’ that the heroine realizes who her true love is and promptly turns her back on the seductive world of showbiz. She also spurns the dashing hero who is panting at her pretty feet…. while violins play in the background and the Gods smile down on the lovers. Pity it doesn’t work like that in real life.Freida’s fairytale has just begun.As has Rohan’s nightmare. C’est la vie!


Unknown said...

I agree. But only girls do such things? Why SRK did not dump Gauri, once he achieved super success. Even Aamir Khan stuck to Reena for many years. It shows girls and women in a poor light. Can any sane man trust Freida any more? Her ditched boyfriend will mourn for sometime and he will be happy with some goan girl. Freida can be successful for sometime, but girls like her can never be happy. Freida, I can understand your compulsions, but you have set one more bad example.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Frieda did the pragmatic thing perhaps.

You have to grow together else its all crap.

Perhaps she thought she had grown with greater exposure to the wily world.

Marriages break up for many reasons. This is just one of them.

Better now than when there is a slew of children with divided loyalties. Its just easier and cleaner.

I dont see why Frieda cannot be happy with the choices she has made. For the most part we make choices to better our lives. Perhaps this was her reason.

I dont get secret marriages. Why?

Anonymous said...

Taali kabhi ek haath se nahi bajti

the turncoat said...

eh, isnt this more than jus predictable?

not the pinto episode,
it's u empathasin'

കിഷോർ‍:Kishor said...


This is why I love you -- for being ruthlessly honest. I will also defend her for dumping her BF.

I think she did just an average job as 'Lathika' but looks like there is true high-voltage drama going on in her real life!

But what was up with that hideous Oscar dress? She got it right for the golden-globes but messed up at Oscars.

Bindu Nayar said...

Who cares ? She has knocked the hollywood doors and its opened for as well..that what counts in this world..success..rohan tohan gaya badh mein..seriously...

Anonymous said...

Oscar Special... :-)


Subject: Fwd: FW: Danny Boyle planning to make 'Princedog Billionaire' next?
Date: Sunday, February 8, 2009, 11:37 PM

Danny Boyle planning to make 'Princedog Billionaire' next? /content/ articles/ 2009/01/09/ bollywood_ previews_ slumdog_feature. shtml

After the moving story about a slum kid winning millions on the Who Wants To be A Millionaire game show and its success, Danny Boyle has embarked on a more ambitious 'Princedog Billionare' film.

The story revolves around the real life story of the death of People's Princess Diana and her ill-fated boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed. Unlike the true story. Dodi Al Fayed in survives the car crash and rises with a vengeance to become the first Muslim prince of England with the help of the People's princess!

Dodi Al Fayed, son of Harrods Departmental Store chain owner Muhammed Al Fayed an Egyptian immigrant who strikes it big in England and grows to become a billionaire. His son, Dodi Al Fayed who grows up in the slums of London, also beats the odds of racism and rises in life.

The people's princess Diana is lost almost suicidal after being cheated by her husband the prince for another woman, when she meets the humble Dodi and falls in love.

But as luck would have it, it is frowned upon by the scheming royal family and the equally scheming English establishment. An assortment of henchmen and henchwomen from Mi5 eventually plan an accident in Paris tunnel to kill Dodi and the people's princess.

James Bond is sent by Mi5 to assasinate Prince Dodi and Princess Diana. James Bond actor Daniel Craig, who plays the role confesses "I always wanted to play the dark side of James Bond and Mi5 in a movie". "And Danny Boyle provides me with a perfect opportunity for that in Princedog Billionaire" adds Dainel Craig.

The accident is planned in a Paris Tunnel and the stage is set to be blamed on the chasing papparazi and executed by none other than James Bond 007 and Mi5. However, things dont go exactly as planned by James Bond this time and he ends up falling into the trap he set for Dodi. "This is one movie where James Bond doesnt come off beaming" quips Daniel Craig.

This is the turning point of the film and the story takes a twist from the true story of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed's car crash in a Paris Tunnel.

Dodi and the people's princess are rescued by a sympathetic papparazi who reaches on the spot and pulls them out of the crashed car. After a nearly two month struggle for life, Prince Dodi and the People's Princess eventually survive. Desperate to fight against the injustice done, they decide to reach out to the people of England to challenge the English royal family and the English establishment. In the process he also chastises the wayward prince 'Potty Harry' to give up racism.

An almost fairy tale like rise after his accident in Paris tunnel along with the people's princess, Princedog has all the ingredients of Slumdog's success recipe, though dollops more of it!

Prince Dodi's rise in Princedog Billionaire is comparable to the rise of the slum boy in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Prince Dodi starts off in a humble way in his approach to the people, but eventually becomes a phenomena in the country. The people of England embrace Dodi as the 'People's prince' along with the people's princess Diana. Prince Dodi is eventually designated as the next heir to English crown instead of William as he has people's mandate.

The Music for the film is composed by John Barry of James Bond Music fame. Daniel Craig plays the dark side of James Bond in the movie. However, despite the success, the winning star cast of Danny Boyle of Slumdog are missing from this film. Loveleen Tandon is missing from the direction and A R Rahman will not be composing music for this movie. "The cast and crew of Slumdog are not comfortable with English culture." says Danny Boyle. "I will recreate the magic of Slumdog in Princedog with a new set of crew altogether" says a confident Danny Boyle. "I may chose Dev Patel to play Prince Dodi, but the hunt is still on for an actress who can portray the people's princess Diana" concludes Danny Boyle.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Sir moong: Tongue in cheek or whatever your plot may be... it made me laugh and as a premise it is a fun launching point for a zany script. Kaaafi mazaa ayega. Lots of noses will be tweaked.

I am a bit subversive that way.

Biju Mathews said...

Ha Ha. I knew you would blog about it. I was hoping to do that myself and you have done it excellently as always.

Keep Blogging!

Piper .. said...

do you really think its anybody`s business, what she does in her personal life? Frankly I couldnt care less. I love her smile. She looks pleasant enough. Even beautiful. Isnt that all we`re supposed to care about, as far as film stars go? :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Shobha,

It is an amazing blog... straight from the mind with guts to call the spade a spade


Sidhusaaheb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sidhusaaheb said...

Oh! So, the first thing that a woman who suddenly gains name and fame should do is to dump her husband, according to you and Ms. Frieda Pinto?

Wow! I am afraid that says a lot about the kind of human beings that both of you are.

However, I have a hunch that both of you, along with many other women, would have attacked any man who did something similar to his wife after becoming rich and famous, as being a villain.

Also, why limit this to one kind of relationship only? Would you and Ms. Pinto recommend that a woman who gains name and fame should immediately dump others also, who wouldn't 'fit into the picture' because of not being as rich or glamorous (or as you say, 'uninspiring') and being 'liabilities in her glamorous, glitzy new life', like, for instance, parents, grand-parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, in addition to those that she may have called friends up to that point of time?

BTW, it should be quite interesting to find out what you and Ms. Pinto have to say on the subject, I suppose, if Ms. Pinto turns out to be little more than a 'one film wonder'.

Shabbu said... frank as it frankness you are mightier than frank sinatra... :)
Though easier said here on a sarcastic note, C'mon whoever Mr.Ex-Freida, ditch the bitch. Get a life, its different having a celebrity wife who loves you and a celebrity wife who loves her co-star. You will be a laughing stock forever. If you can woo one freida there are 100 others somewhere. Wish her all the best [atleast by words :) ]. Enjoy life as it comes..Be Practical!! ;)

Rash said...

I don’t understand why our eyes are open in personal affairs of celebrities here…if talking in general when men finding out (Indian Men) excuses like traditional values and respect to the parenthood to dumb women then why we are eager on a relationship of a girl who may be finding difficult to get along with a man who can not merge with her life style and give enough understanding (could be a reason). Being woman lets give a heart to change the society even if men take these excuses as a privilege to have different experience through out their life…

Anonymous said...

i think, as usual, we are getting all carried away here. to think that Pinto will be wooed and courted by Hollywood is highly optamistic.Pinto maybe the flavour of the month, but I don't see her foraying into the world of Hollywood. Yes, she might get minuscule roles like Persis Khambatta or Kabir Bedi. And the Indian Press will make that out to be such a big deal.

Dr. Ally Critter said...

Why is Frieda Pinto's personal life even important? Is she not human? Can she not fall out of love, just like that- no glamor hype involved? And what about the on to his 3 seconds of fame former-fiance? Is he not cashing on her popularity?

Anonymous said...

The inference I can draw from your post is - Marriage is just a past time and one can have any number of spouses depending on one's whims and fancies.
Secondly, from what you have written, it implies that any one can disown any relationship considering their status in life. Which means a poor girl can disown her parents or husband once she becomes famous or rich.
As for Frieda, I bet, she will not get a chance to step into Hollywood and only a year, she'll be soon forgot. I don't believe in commenting on anyone's personal life.

Anonymous said...

I think you can start your own movement and be the mother of that movement. You can lay down principles which teaches people live in accordance with their bodily desires and encourages complete misuse of freedom

Anonymous said...

Shobhaa De,
I saw you speaking on NDTV yesterday and was not surprised to witness another instance of your dishonesty & mean-ness. You said that people wrote in your blog the Slumdog Oscars constitute "a victory for South India".
What Mr.Anonymous actually wrote was: “Mumbai wins an Oscar??? strange. People who had contributed to this project are not just Mumbaikars, madam. So you see, within India, there's no unity.
Let me speak like you. This is the first time South made it big despite North's domination. Cheers to A.R.Rahman.”
Why did you have to deliberately distort the remarks?

Anonymous said...

Let me answer that one for you, Sudipta.
It's because see cannot see beyond her Mumbai and her Raj Thackeray.
In case you missed it, here's the Devil's Advocate interview again:

Anonymous said...

When aamir Khan was sending and promoting his movies to the Oscars, everybody used to make fun of him saying Oscar was also like Filmfare. Then why now, all the Indians are jumping up joyously and why all the political biggies are congratulating and why the entire media has gone hysterical? It shows that though we deny it vehemently when we dont get it, we think Oscar is the ultimate for Film recognition. When we dont get it we make fun of it, when we get it, we go overboard. I want to hear what Mahesh Bhatt will say now.

mohit said...

'Rohan would have been a liability in Freida’s glamourous, glitzy new life.'
Ruthlessly honest ...yes..

It's but one of the many pains and ironies of life.

Frieda could have done the other thing and stuck to Rohan..But then he'd have been overshadowed by her glamour and star quotient.

Its upto them, not for us to judge!

Anonymous said...

Shobha, Oh Shobha...Tu hai badi ajoobha !!!

It's a perfect example of one pseudo supporting another !!!

How come you are so so successfull in getting things completely wrong every time, how does this come to you? Naturally I suppose !!!

Freida is great, Slumdog is British and harmful consumption, blah blah blah...yaar, we can also think and thankfully we don't think like you...

Stop writing please, you bore many of us to death, I don't read your columns, but you could perhaps do a bit of social help by leaving the column spaces for some other real intellectual to fill it.

Santhosh Desai for starters could fill your space on social topics/issues...

Anonymous said...

Well.. well... well! i m not sure if this is the mentality of every typical successful(so called!) women, or it's just a way to depict yourself a bit superior to the other race... I dn't want to mention here anything about Friedo's decision because that's purely her personal affair, and moreover, we don't even know what was the main reason behind such a decision(if at all she was married/engaged), but if Shobha do believe this all story, i can't see any more selfish act than this one... I do agree Friedo is no more a simple girl, but is she so extraordinary now to even disown her own relations...and that too the biggest and sweetest relation ever between a guy and a girl... tomorrow you'll turn up saying disowing own parents under these circumstances is a more PRACTICAL approach!
How can you decide by yourself, that Mr. Rohan "will not fit into that picture", who knows tomorrow he even turn out be having even better stars then Friedo herself. It's easy to break commitments, and people tend to rename their SELFISHNESS to PRACTICALITY. Rohan or any other similar guy for that sake should have his own self respect to put this subject on the table and the decision should be mutual, for the benefit of both of them. Imposing a self decision which affects multiple lives, for me is certainly not justifiable...

sp said...

BOTTOM LINE: To each their own.

Frieda and Rohan,

Do not worry guys about what the world thinks (you do not have any control anyways). Just enjoy your life to the fullest.

One good thing that came out of all this is "You were not made for each other !". Good for you both.

SSQuo said...

I had a similar discussion with a friend very recently. Did she do the right thing?

I didnt care much for her role as Latika, and wasn’t overly impressed with her in real life too (not overly, but she does have a warm face and watery eyes). I think the stories of Jamal’s childhood are the ones that stand out, and I think the kids did a great job. It was really nice to see them at the Oscars, screaming et al especially Azharuddin screaming ‘Unbelievable’. He is adorable.

Re. Frieda, I don’t judge her for leaving her husband. It is a sad thing when marriages break, but when you better understand the reasons behind it, it changes the entire context. In your post, you kinda think for her, so we don’t know the story, but I happened to use similar reasoning during my discussion with my friend. Its just how life works and if her goals, ambitions and dreams are different now, that’s what it is. We cannot make a judgement in isolation, we don’t even know her, Rohan, their lives…well at least, I don’t. Again, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and with all this support she is getting, I hope that these reasons we have used to support her are reality, or close to it only because if it is not, then it makes a dent in the belief of people's choices, moreso than Frieda herself.

Kush said...

Think that Frieda is both right and wrong. Depends on how you look at it.
Yeh mehlon ye takhton ye taajon ki duniya...

Anonymous said...

Hi Mam,
I was just wondering if what Freida did, was done do her by Rohan...

Would you have written the same coloumn supporting him ??

Iam sure the answer will be a big NO !!


A.prem said...

I dont agree at all.

If walking into the glitzy world is the only reason for break up, then all this shit means crap to me.

By being humble and down to earth, you can do what you are born to do and live your life peacefully.
I dunno if its the same in the-glam-world.

She dumped a guy, who probably, meant the world to her when she was just another soul fretting around..!

A.prem said...

Also, after reading this post, my impression about her has changed. Not that it matters [i aint interested in bolly/holly/tollywood at all].. i know it doesnt .. but still!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Ms De, as usual! What I don't understand is why so many people in India consider Freida to be a "a plain looking , average Jane". She is absolutely striking: She has a flawless bone structure, a beautiful, glowing golden complexion, a slender, graceful, figure. These are all her God-given attributes. (She didn't have to starve herself to get that figure like certain Bollywood actresses who went from fat to skinny in a blink). You can tell she's all natural - an authentic, Indian beauty. There may be lots of beautiful girls in India (it's no suprise that India has so many Miss Universe/World winner's) and Freida may be just another one but to call her plain-looking is a bit far-fetched as she's a total stunner and would definitely turn heads wherever she goes, be it Los Angeles, London, New York, Paris... I also find her to be FAR more beautiful than some other Bollywood actresses (not citing names here, but I'm sure you can imagine) whose only glory are their gori-gori looks and famous family names but who have totally uninspring, and disproportional facial features.

Anonymous said...

everytime I read ur blog,I feel as if I am reading Stardust. :-)

t O m S o N said...

Dear Sobhaji,

This time you have got it all wrong! Frieda shouldn't have left her boyfriend/husband. You know it in your heart, dont you?! But the hardcore feminist in you cant accept that.I am 100 percent sure your views would have been different if it was the other way round.Feminism and stuff is great but it shouldn't cloud your sense of fair judgement.


Danny Sam said...


this shows what kind of woman you are.. I bet you would ditch or would have already ditched a guy when you come to fame..

Its not that you are thinking somehting special or proving your point. it plainly shows your character.. one who feels.. money, richness and fame is all that life needs and shouuld be sort after.. what a pity.. what a shame..

Bertie said...

Ms Shobha De.. at least you should have said something jo aapko thodi si to shobha deta..
Anyways, coming to the point.
Heard a lot about you and this was the first post of yours that I read(completely).

Just answer a simple question: Would you have come up with the same post if the roles were exchanged?
I think by now you would have come out with your pseudo-secular, pseudo-feminist brigade and would have been shouting at decibel levels hitherto unknown.

Via this pseudo post of yours, you seem to be glorifying a quint-essential bitch.
Freida/slumdog millionaire are very average episodes if we look at them from the normal bollywood angle. We have had better movies in the past.. a zillion times better ones.

I'd like to quote Rehman here. This is what he said after receiving the oscar. "The score and the song touched THEIR sensitivities/sentiments." a very honest and true statement. think about it. Have we not heard better rehman songs before?

Just because she is liked by the western world doesn't mean we go ga-ga over her. She is a one film-wonder. I'd bet my ass on that.
I rest my case.

P.S. This post tells a lot about YOU as well.

sunami said...

Is Danny Boyle planning a sequel of multiple Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire?

If rumors circulating around in Hollywood circles are true than Danny Boyle is seriously considering making a sequel which would revolve around the twists and turns in the life of the slumdog-turned-millionaire, Jamal Malik.

According to some insiders who have read the script of the sequel, the feel-good story of Jamal takes an ugly turn in the second part when he takes a decision to dump his childhood sweetheart Latika, soon after winning the prize money of twenty million rupees. The sequel starts from the point where the original movie ends. After his monumental win at the quiz contest, Jamal becomes an overnight international sensation. His remarkable rags-to-riches story get international coverage and he gets featured on BBC, CNN, NYT, Washington Post and Fox News. From a poor Mumbai boy living in slums, Jamal is catapulted into an entirely different world where he gets interviewed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Larry King and gets multi-million dollar offers by tabloid editors, biographers, television moguls and Hollywood producers to sell his extraordinary life story.

Jamal Malik now realizes that he is no longer the Jamal who loved a sweet but very ordinary-looking slum girl. With international fame and millions of dollars in his bank, he realizes that he has outgrown the very girl for whom he participated in the quiz show. He starts wondering where Latika would fit into his life now that he is not just a celebrity, but an international star courted by the mightiest names in media and Hollywood. He begins to think that Latika will become a liabilty in his glamorous, glitzy new life, ignored and snubbed by everyone.

He also recognizes that with his international fame and wealth he would be able to court and win the affection of any girl of his choice. As Jamal contemplates his new life full of exciting new possibilities, Latika begins to slowly fade away in his consciousness. With his goals, dreams and ambitions changing overnight, he is no longer able to feel any love for Latika. Seduced by the beautiful new world and the innumerable temptations it offers, Jamal pragmatically decides to break up with Latika.

Shocked by his betrayal, Latika goes ballistic giving interviews to newspapers and TV channels slamming Jamal for discarding him. She receives enormous amount of sympathy and support from millions of people who express disgust at the behavior of Jamal and berate him for letting success go over his head. Feather-brained feminists like Shobhaa De write columns condemning Jamal for becoming a turncoat and express solidarity with poor Latika.

Does Jamal realize the error of his ways and comes back to Latika asking for forgiveness? According to our sources, Boyle has two different endings in his mind - one a very populist ending where he realizes that he has wronged Latika and goes back to her begging her to forgive him and a more realistic ending where both Jamal and Latika realize that concepts like love overcoming all class barriers are humbug meant only for silly, feel-good romance movies and that differences in status, success and wealth are real and should be accepted hardheartedly.

Our sources say that while Danny Boyle prefers the realistic ending, he is likely to choose the more populist ending considering the success that the fairy-tailish ending of rags-to-riches tale of Jamal coming up trumps against all odds, brought him at the box-office and at award functions.

Dazed by the Light I See... said...

However ghastly as it may seem, I totally agree with you Ms.De. Any man who finds this act of Ms.Freida Pinto's despicable, answer this simple question: Would you be able to accept if your wife an international star and you would be known as "Ms.XYZ's husband?
Well as far as I know, most of the males of our species can't accept such situations at local scenes, forget the global scenario. So how so ever detestable it may seem, I think it was a right decision. Do you think she wouldn't have felt hurt by separating. But at her position and the world at her feet at present, she chose correctly.