JEDDAH: Indian actress Freida Pinto turned heads at the opening of Australia’s Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in an Elie Saab gown. The cobalt blue number was from the Elie Saab resort 2018 collection and featured net detailing on the front.
Pinto posted a photo of herself in the outfit standing against the backdrop of the Melbourne skyline, captioning it: “Always a pleasure to be back.”
She chose another outfit, a black gown featuring embroidery, created by the Lebanese designer, for the evening’s red carpet event.
The label, which has been a popular choice among Hollywood’s A-list stars for the red carpet, also posted Pinto’s image on its Instagram account, with the caption: "Shades of blue | A radiant @freidapinto in Elie Saab resort 2018 while in Melbourne.”
Saab has long been a favorite of the Indian actress. Her forest-green gown from Elie Saab’s fall 2017 haute couture collection worn to a Cartier event in Paris in July this year or the shimmery blue gown she wore to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2017 were both showstoppers.
In Melbourne, the Slumdog Millionaire actress hoped to raise awareness about the topic of sex trafficking through her latest film Love Sonia, which was screened at the opening of the film festival.
The film, directed by Tabrez Noorani, received rave reviews and a standing ovation in Melbourne, following its successful premiere in the UK recently. It is nominated in three categories at the Melbourne festival — for best Indie film, best director and best supporting actress for Pinto and Richa Chadha.
Love Sonia is a hard-hitting story about a 17-year-old girl who risks her life to rescue her sister from the sex trade and then gets caught up in it herself. It was shot in India, Hong Kong and Los Angeles and stars Chadha, Mrunal Thakur, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Anupam Kher and Demi Moore. The latter agreed to be part of the movie due to her NGO that works to abolish sexual slavery and human trafficking.
Global human trafficking is estimated to be worth around $150 billion, and every year, millions of vulnerable children and women are forced into sexual slavery. For over a decade, Noorani worked alongside NGOs to rescue girls forced into sex work. The plot of Love Sonia is based on real women’s experiences.
The theme of this year’s Melbourne film festival is “inclusion,” and many of the films tell the stories of marginalized communities. The event will conclude on Aug. 22.