Actress, Freida Pinto, has become the new face of Free People, a bohemian clothing brand for women “who live free through fashion, art, music and travel.” The actress and model appears in several clothing ads in the fashion brand’s April catalogue. She also stars in Free People’s short-film, Rangeen, which tells the simple story of Maya (Pinto) and Tom (Thomas Bull) who meet in Rajasthan and fall in love during the Holi festival.
The film is beautifully shot but, apart from the stylish wardrobes of Maya and her friend, Maritza, it has nothing to do with fashion. In fact, the film seems less interested in advertising Free People products than in celebrating the beauty of India.
“At Free People, India holds a special place in our hearts — it forever has and will continue to inspire our designs and visual elements of our stores. Its rich culture is one that I hope to experience one day,” writes editorial manager, Julia.
While her statement does exemplify the stereotypical westerner’s romantic view of India, to the credit of the directors, Guy Aroch and Carlos Veron (neither of whom are Indian), Rangeen manages to take place in India and milk the scenery without playing the location up as “exotic” or “other.” This is likely because the film is told from the perspective of Maya rather than the westerner, Tom (in contrast to Outsourced, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Vanity Fair, Eat Pray Love etc.).
Yes, Rangeen presents a glossy, romantic version of India but it’s no worse than Midnight In Paris‘ glorification of France or Lost in Translation‘s wonderfully zany depiction of Japan. It’s a sweet film that utilizes the festival of Holi, not as an indication of the setting’s otherness, but as a metaphor for love. It also features some fabulous outfits.