Christian Bale, Andy Serkis in Mumbai for Mowgli premiere
Andy Serkis, the director of the film, said that his film separates itself from other Jungle Book adaptations by being very centered on Mowgli
Academy Award-winning actor, Christian Bale, was in Mumbai with actor-director Andy Serkis for the premiere of their much-awaited motion-capture film, Mowgli: Legend Of the Jungle. The Batman actor plays Bagheera, the black panther in the film. Bale and Serkis were also joined by Indian-American child actor Rohan Chand who plays Mowgli, actor Freida Pinto, Abhishek Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, and Kareena Kapoor Khan for the press meet of the film, which also gets a release in Hindi, in Mumbai.
Andy Serkis, the director of the film, said that his film separates itself from other Jungle Book adaptations by being very centered on Mowgli. "Mowgli is about a sense of belonging, something many people across the world don’t feel. There's a comment in the film on how we are losing many parts of paradise every day," he said.
Christian Bale, who started off by mentioning that he had already shot for The Dark Knight Rises in India, said that the film's India connect makes the country "most appropriate" for the premiere. When asked about the performance-capture experience, Bale said that the technology has opened up a fascinating new world of possibilities on what an actor can transform into. "Serkis has mastered the performance capture technique. He constantly guided me on that," the actor said.
Bale also added that he appreciated the similarities Bagheera shares with Mowgli and Sher Khan. "Bagheera is cunning, reckless, but also wounded. However, he has turned all his pain to positivity. Sher has done the opposite," he said.
Rohan Chand, who plays the titular character of Mowgli, said that he did much research on YouTube to get into the character of a boy who gets raised by wolves. "A boy growing up in the jungle has to be fierce. I also admire Mowgli's perseverance. He was dealt a bad hand in life. His parents were killed. It's amazing how resilient he is. I wanted to incorporate all these aspects while playing him," the child actor said. c, who plays the wolf mother, Messua, was all praise for her director, Andy Serkis. "It was great to work again with him after the Apes film. Andy shows what focusing on performance can bring to a film," she said.
Abhishek Bachchan, who has voiced for Bagheera, the black panther, in the Hindi version, termed the Mowgli experience as 'liberating'. "It was quite new to play an animal. The real challenge though was Indianising it. The English to Hindi translation was difficult, as the two languages have different meters," he said. Bachchan also added that Andy Serkis' adaptation of Jungle Book is the most loyal, in all the adaptations of Kipling's Jungle Book. "There's more layering, depth, and darkness to this story," the Manmarziyaan actor said.
Anil Kapoor, who has voiced Baloo, the bear, in the Hindi version, also stressed that Andy Serkis' version is more textured than any of the previous adaptations. Kareena Kapoor Khan, who plays the python, Kaa, in the Hindi version, said she had to be slightly theatrical when dubbing. "Kaa's voice needed to be hypnotic, slightly seductive and powerful. When the dubbing was over, I wished she had more scenes," she said.
Madhuri Dixit, who has voiced for Messua in the Hindi version said that it was a very different experience for her. "The wolf mother embraces the man-cub as her own. She's beautiful, protective and ferocious. I loved bringing out all her different facets."
Mowgli: Legend Of the Jungle is set to be released in select theaters on November 29 and has its Netflix release on December 7.