Ten-year-old actor Neel Sethi promoting his upcoming film “The Jungle Book” at J.J. School of Arts, in front of “The Jungle Book” author, Rudyard Kipling’s bungalow, in Mumbai, Mar. 28. (Santosh Hirlekar | PTI)
Child actor Neel Sethi, all set to make his debut with Disney’s big-budget fantasy film “The Jungle Book” as ‘Mowgli,’ says he is fond of Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, writes Justin Rao. In an unprecedented move, the Indian Censor Board has decided to give this ‘kids’ movie a rating of U/A – citing the movie is ‘scary.’ (#Bollywood, #Siliconeer, @Siliconeer, #NeelSethi, #Mowgli, #TheJungleBook, #RudyardKipling, #PriyankaChopra, #Quantico)
The “Quantico” actress has voiced the character of ‘Kaa,’ a snake who is one of Mowgli’s mentors and friends, in the Hindi version of the film.
“I love Priyanka Chopra because she plays ‘Kaa’ in the Hindi version. She is now in Hollywood too. I would love to act with her, and everybody in Bollywood. I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” Neel told PTI in an interview in Mumbai, Mar. 29.
Besides Priyanka, the 12-year-old youngster also looks up to “Captain America” star Chris Evans and Matthew Perry, known for his role as ‘Chandler Bing’ on the hit sitcom “Friends.”
“I really like Chris Evans, because he is Captain America and is a really nice guy. I like Mathew Perry because of ‘Friends’. I love the show.”
Even though he is based in New York, Neel watches Hindi films and was impressed with the critically acclaimed Irrfan Khan starrer “Talvar,” which he found “very cool.”
The actor is open to do Bollywood films in the future as they have a “different acting style.”
“I like everybody in Bollywood. There is a different acting style (in Bollywood). May be, in future, I would like to do a film here. It will be every exciting.”
Directed by Jon Favreau, “The Jungle Book,” based on Rudyard Kipling’s book, narrates the story of an orphan boy Mowgli who is raised in the jungle by a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.
In the film, Neel plays the only human being and he said he was hand-picked by Favreau from over 2,000 hopefuls for ‘Mowgli.’
The actor, however, bagged the role in his very first audition and was not aware of the number of people he was competing to essay the iconic character.
“My dad took me to the audition. When they were told I got the role they were so excited and amazed,” he said.
Once he started filming, Neel credits Favreau for guiding him as this was the first time he was venturing into acting.
“It felt good. I didn’t know what to do because it was my first time. Whatever the director told me I started doing that because he knows everything about it. He taught me everything.
Jon (Favreau) is a very nice guy and it was really fun working in the film. I liked it.”
When asked if he was nervous while doing the film, Neel said, “I wasn’t nervous at all, not really. Because I didn’t know how big the film is.”
Neel who is currently visiting Mumbai, has managed to see the Gateway of India, before he flies back to Los Angeles.
“The Jungle Book” will release in India on April 8, a week before it hits theatres in the U.S.