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The film became something of a passion project for Pinto, who undertook a year of rigorous dance study, which she describes as "physical, emotional, mental, endurance training." Prior to Desert Dancer, Pinto says, "the only dancing I've done is clubs, on bar tops, and at home in front of my mirror." But Pinto, who grew up in Mumbai, India, thinking she was an "ace Michael Jackson dancer and impersonator," was up to the challenge, and she looks like a complete natural in the film.These days, dance serves primarily as a mode of fitness for Pinto.The last six years have seen Pinto land a major beauty contract with L'Oréal, travel the world for film and modeling work, and grace innumerable red carpets as a global style icon.With impeccable manners, 30-year-old Pinto asks for her order to be corrected. She's working through lunch and talking with me at the restaurant in New York's Crosby Street Hotel during what's an already long press day for her new film, Desert Dancer. The movie, which began filming almost three years ago, is about a group of friends in Iran whose shared passion for dance leads to trouble.
"It's a great way to stay in shape," she explains, adding that she alternates dance with yoga and hiking. "One thing would just bore me." Boredom isn't a concept with which one would expect Pinto to be familiar.Her life famously changed thanks to her role in Slumdog Millionaire, which won the Oscar for best picture in 2009.