There's a nice little surprise for the Indian audience in Mowgli: Freida Pinto
The actor talks about her upcoming Jungle Book spin-off film, which has been acquired by Netflix
Freida Pinto says the creative team behind Andy Serkis' adventure fantasy film Mowgli is under pressure to make the film acceptable in India with its darker theme.
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.
Freida, who is in India ahead of the release of her forthcoming film, Tabrez Noorani's Love Sonia, which delves into the dark world of child sex trafficking, 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 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 Jungle jungle pataa chala hai (the song from the TV version of Jungle Book). But I think they have just the right creative mix for doing so," she adds.
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 film, which will see Freida play Messua, has been acquired by Netflix for release in 2019.
"Fingers crossed," says Freida, whose role as Latika in Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire opened the doors to international cinema -- not just for her, but for a whole lot of Indian talent.
"Slumdog Millionaire was the pioneer. The film opened people's eyes and gave them enough curiosity about India and the fact that it's so full of talent in every sphere. So, I first of all credit the film and not me for having opened the doors. I had to blaze through whatever opportunity I was given, to create more opportunity for myself and in that way, create more opportunity for other actors," she says.
Since then, the Mumbai-born actor has collaborated with directors like Woody Allen, Michael Winterbottom, Rupert Wyatt and David O Russell on films that have appealed globally.
"As a person who was first out there in the West, I was happy that people accepted me. I would have to be written as an American Indian or American woman, but now I look at it differently. I want to be accepted as I am -- an Indian woman with brown skin, who's modern, who can transform herself into various characters and is an actor who has got enough credibility. So write roles with respect to that, as opposed to roles that need to be a white person," she says, adding, "We need representation for brown people."