Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Bollywood Catholic becomes the Hollywood Catholic

Recently I found out that Frieda Pinto is a Catholic. Who is Frieda Pinto, you say? Well you would have seen her in Slumdog Millionarie, where she won several awards worldwide (as did the movie). To date she has acted in five movies:

1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. You will meet a tall dark Stranger: written and directed by Woody Allen. It features Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Freida Pinto, Lucy Punch and Naomi Watts.
3. Miral
4. Immortals: an upcoming 2011 fantasy-action film directed by Tarsem Singh and starring Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, and Mickey Rourke. The film was previously named Dawn of War and War of the Gods before being officially named Immortals and is loosely based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and the Titanomachy.
5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Freida worked in modeling, tv adds, hosted a tv show, and took acting lessons all before she appeared in slumdog millionaire. She was born in Mumbai, India, in 1984 to a Mangalorean Catholic family.

Now you may ask, What is a Mangalorean Catholic. Well, its a Catholic from Mangalore... oh, that's in India too. Here's what Wiki says about them:

Mangalorean Catholics are an ethno-religious community of Roman Catholics and their descendants, from the Mangalore Diocese on the southwestern coast of India. They are an Konkani community and speak the Konkani language.

Contemporary Mangalorean Catholics are descended mainly from Goan Catholic settlers who migrated to South Canara from Goa, a state north of Canara, between 1560 and 1763 throughout the course of the Goa Inquisition, Portuguese–Adil Shahi wars, and the Portuguese–Maratha wars. Gradually they learned the languages of South Canara but retained Konkani as their mother tongue and preserved their lifestyle. Their 15-year captivity at Seringapatam imposed by Tipu Sultan, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, from 24 February 1784 to 4 May 1799 led to the near extinction of the community. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan the community resettled in South Canara, and gradually prospered under the British.

Although early assertions of a distinct Mangalorean Catholic identity date from the migration period, a developed Mangalorean Catholic cultural identity only emerged following the captivity. The culture of Mangalorean Catholics is a blend of Mangalorean and Goan cultures. After migration, they adopted some aspects of the local Mangalorean culture but retained many of their Goan customs and traditions. The Mangalorean Catholic diaspora is globally concentrated in the Persian Gulf Arab states and the Anglosphere (english language countries).

Now, in some places in India, Catholics and other Christians are not liked. Every so often there is a rise in violence against them by Hindu extremists. Let us hope that her family does not suffer for their faith. I think its a great thing that Freida has gone from Bollywood to Hollywood, however, I hope she keeps her Catholic Identity.

The Vision statement off the website of her high school says:

Carmel of St. Joseph is committed to offer a life-oriented education that is humanizing and liberating, enabling the students to be socially conscious and justice-oriented. Empowerment of the poor and the marginalized will be a priority, and respect for God’s creation will be fostered. The thrust is in the light of a ‘civilization of love’ – the Kingdom of God as envisaged and promoted by the Foundress, Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima.

In an April 1st 2011 interview with Jane Gordon Feida speaks about her role in the Film Miral and mentions her Catholic upbringing and her perception of the Holy Land:

Miral tells the story of the Dar al-Tifl orphanage in Jerusalem – and was shot on location in Israel. Freida plays a 17-year-old Palestinian orphan who falls in love with a political activist and is drawn into the conflict.

‘I was brought up as a Catholic in India, and as a child I read all these stories about the birthplace of Jesus. You read stories about the Mount of Olives and you build up this image in your head that the Holy Land is going to be a certain way. When you get there all you see are walls and checkpoints. It was a bit of a surprise but, if you can ignore all that, it is such a beautiful place you want to do something to restore the peace,’ she says.

God Bless you Freida! Hold the Cross High for all the Catholics out there, so that we may have a world with peace!


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