SIPA
Danielle Emig
Apr 08, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

Freida Pinto celebrated the release of her new film, Desert Dancer, with a special screening last night at New York's Museum of Modern Art, where she discussed the intense training the cast went through to prepare for the film. The Indian beauty (in Elie Saab), with co-star Reece Ritchie, thanked the audience for coming to view her "passionate project," which follows the true story of an Iranian dancer, Afshin Ghaffarian.

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The cast trained with choreographer Akram Khan six days a week for four months, regardless of injuries and blistered toes. "I have an immense respect for dancers," Pinto told InStyle. "I always respected them before this film, but after the amount of training and sacrifices we made, it's even greater." Ritchie only had good things to say about his co-star: "It was hard for both of us but she was willing to cross over into the deep end."

Set in Iran during the 2009 election when dancing was illegal, the film follows a group of friends who form an underground dance group and learn through YouTube videos before performing an interpretive dance in the desert. Pinto plays Elaheh, a tortured young Iranian student, heroin addict, and love interest to Afshin.

Watch the trailer for Desert Dancer below, in theaters April 10.

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