For an audience that has grown up with the peppy and lyrical “Jungle jungle pataa chala hai...” from a TV version of “The Jungle Book”, the creative team behind Andy Serkis’ adventure fantasy film “Mowgli” is under pressure to make the movie acceptable in India with its darker theme, says actress Freida Pinto. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s widely read classic “The Jungle Book”, the film stars Rohan Chand, Matthew Rhys and Freida, along with voice and motion capture performances from Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris and Serkis.
In India ahead of the release of the forthcoming film, Tabrez Noorani’s “Love Sonia”, which delves into the dark world of child sex trafficking, Freida says there’s not much she can tell about “Mowgli” as yet.
“All I can say is there’s a nice little surprise there for the Indian audience. It’s a film that I am very proud of, and also because it’s a story we all grew up on.
“What the makers of ‘Mowgli’ have actually realised is that the pressure of making the film acceptable in India is definitely high because we grew up on that ‘Jungle jungle pataa chala hai’ (theme song)... But the film is definitely going to have to impress the Indian audience and I think they have just the right amount of creative mixture in that for doing so,” Frieda said.
Serkis has already made it clear that his version of the story is not a fairy tale, and that the audience should not expect singing and dancing animals in the film, which is about human child Mowgli who is raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India.
The movie, which will see Freida play Messua, has been acquired by Netflix for release in 2019.
“Fingers crossed,” said Freida, whose role as Latika in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” opened the doors to the international cinema — not just for her, but for a whole lot of Indian talent.