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Christian Bale, Andy Serkis meet Bollywood

By Hitesh Harisinghani
Last updated on: November 26, 2018 14:18 IST
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Are you ready for Mowgli?

It was a rare sight to see two centres of film-making -- Hollywood and Bollywood -- share the same stage to talk about Netflix's Mowgli: The Legend of the Jungle, Andy Serkis's take on Rudyard Kipling's classic story about a man cub raised by wolves in the jungles of India.

The film's Indian voice cast -- Abhishek Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan -- and their Hollywood counterparts -- writer-director Serkis, Batman Christian Bale, child actor Rohan Chand and Freida Pinto -- introduced the film's Hindi trailer in Mumbai, and walked the red carpet for its world premiere.

It was interesting to see talents from two industries mingle over a story, written by a British writer, who was born in colonial India. The tale itself follows a boy caught up between two different worlds -- mankind and animal kind.

Mowgli: The Legend of the Jungle will stream on Netflix from December 7.

Hitesh Harisinghani/ brings us scenes from the world premiere:

Kareena Kapoor Khan lends her voice to the film; she plays Kaa.


Christian Bale traveled to Mumbai with his missus Sibi Blazic.

Bale, who has voiced Bagheera, an elder brother-mentor to Mowgli, said it was important to present the film in India.

The actor said he found a lot of similarities between the three central characters -- Mowgli, Bagheera and film's antagonist Shere Khan.

But Bagheera, despite being caged by humans, does not hate the man cub and forms an emotional bond with him.


Bagheera is also the only character, who understands how Mowgli is torn about his identity.

"Like Mowgli, Bagheera had to work out who he was. He has taken the damage and turned it into love and positivity whereas Shere Khan has taken it and turned it into bitterness and hatred," Bale said.

Serkis is ahead of the pack when it comes to performance capture and Bale said he would often turn to his director to understand the nuances of the technology.

"He (Serkis) has always been a phenomenal actor. He has really mastered this whole performance capture thing... He would guide me on that," Bale said.

Video: Hitesh Harisinghani/

"Nobody wanted to cross Bagheera's path, except Mowgli," Christian Bale tells us in this video. 


Madhuri Dixit, seen here with husband Dr Sriram Nene, said she had a blast while doing the voice for Mowgli's wolf mother Nisha, a role originally performed by British actor Naomie Harris.

She described the character as 'ferocious' and said Nisha is really protective of the man cub who she adopts as her own despite the difference.


Abhishek Bachchan, who has voiced Bagheera for the Hindi version, said it was challenging to fit Hindi into English lines as both languages are different in tone and to Indianise it was difficult.

He credited Bale's brilliant performance for helping him understand the tone of the character.

Anil Kapoor, who dubbed the beloved bear Baloo for the Hindi version, said it was the voice of Serkis that guided him in the moments of doubt.

"Whenever I would get stuck, I would listen to Andy's voice over and over again, and try to figure out what emotion he was going for, what he was thinking," Anil said.


Rohan Chand plays Mowgli.


Freida Pinto has dubbed for both the versions of her character -- she plays Messua, Mowgli's human adoptive mother in the film.

"The most beautiful part about Mowgli is that it is an ode to India. I remember Andy telling me before I left for South Africa that he wanted me to do my parts in Hindi," Freida said, adding that she loved the fact that she got to enjoy a version of Holi and sing a beautiful Hindi lullaby, written and composed by Briton Indian musician Nitin Sawhney.

"All of these beautiful things I associate with India came to life in that movie," said Freida who first worked with Serkis on Rise of the Planet of the Apes.


Video: Hitesh Harisinghani/

Frieda discusses her association with India, which came alive with Mowgli, in this video.


Kubra Sait starred in Netflix's Sacred Games.


Sanjay Suri attends the premiere with his little guests.


Say hello to the Mowgli team.


Mithila Palkar starred in the Netflix series Little Things.


Radhika Apte starred in the Netflix series Sacred Games and Ghoul.


Vishal Bhardwaj.


Meet the Pintos: Frieda arrives with her parents Sylvia and Frederick and sister Sharon.


Gul Panag.


Kirti Kulhari.


Preeti Jhangiani and Parvin Dabas.


Manav Kaul.

Text: PTI

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Hitesh Harisinghani /