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Indian-American child actor Neel Sethi set to impress in ‘The Jungle Book’

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Image Source: ign.com

Los Angeles: The director of the 3D cinematic adaptation of “The Jungle Book”, Jon Favreau, says that the Indian-American child actor Neel Sethi has brought out the charisma, spunk and a bit of swagger of world-famous fictional character Mowgli in the movie.

The team of the Disney movie conducted auditions across several countries to zero in on their Mowgli but settled for a youngster in American with an Indian connect, much like the character himself.

Favreau, known globally as the “Iron Man” and “Chef” director, said Neel’s portrayal as Mowgli is like a flashback tour to his own childhood memories around the animated character.

“You need the personality, humour, charm and the emotion of the characters. That’s really what ‘The Jungle Book’ represents. People don’t think about action… It’s fun to have it, but really what you think about are the characters and the relationships.”

“Neel really seems to capture for me what I remember of Mowgli in the film. He has spunk and a little swagger. He’s just a great kid and I loved working with him,” Favreau said here.

Neel, 12, stays in Manhattan and has his roots in Gujarat, a state to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes.

In “The Jungle Book”, the child actor — the only living being in a cast full of animated characters — found himself a part of Favreau’s re-imagined world of an enchanting Indian jungle, the story of which was first told via Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 timeless classic and then brought alive in the eponymous 1967 animated movie.

Favreau was excited as a child when he shared a few glimpses from his movie at Hollywood’s The El Capitan Theatre here earlier this year to a select audience of media persons from across the world.

After showing the clips, which highlighted Mowgli’s chemistry with Baloo, chase sequences and the fight sequence in which the director delved into the whole casting process, he started to get worried when there would be an end to the search for the perfect Mowgli. Then, the team stumbled upon Neel.

“We were really scared because we looked at 2,000 children and I was getting a little worried as casting is everything for me. And especially when a kid is (required to be) on the screen that much in a movie, then you don’t want someone you get tired of, or might look good only for a couple of scenes.

“You’re going to need someone who holds the screen and is interesting to watch… His habits, body movements and physicality reminded me of the Mowgli that I saw as a child,” he added.

For many Indians, the movie’s mention may be a flashback moment to the TV series, which brought Mowgli’s adventures alive in the late 1980s. And bring back memories of the “Jungle jungle pataa chala hai” title track.

But this Mowgli will be a tad different.

The live-action epic adventure will release in India on April 8, a week before it releases in the US. It showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he is forced to abandon his home in the forest, and all the creatures he meets during his journey.

Favreau notes that “the other actors who do the voices for the animals were vitally important to bringing the characters to life”. No wonder that Favreau roped in celebrated names for the job — Bill Murray (Baloo), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Lupita Nyong’o (mother wolf Raksha), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), and Christopher Walken (King Louie).

But the director said: “We tried to do it enough so you would see the soul of the actor, but not so much that it took you out of the reality of the movie.”

The film is heavily backed by advanced technology, with only one live action character. Explaining that, Favreau said: “You have to breathe life into this thing, otherwise it’s just an exercise in technology. And that is not entertainment.

“It needs to have a beating heart in there, and that is what your cast brings you.” (Sugandha Rawal, IANS)

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Aarushi Talwar Murder Mystery : Vishal Bhardwaj Calls the Verdict a ‘Victory of Cinema’

Vishal Bhardwaj had written and co-produced the Konkona Sharma starer "Talvar" on the murder of the teenage girl from Noida

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Vishal Bhardwaj
Film Director Vishal Bhardwaj. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 13, 2017 : Vishal Bhardwaj says because of “Talvar”, which he wrote and co-produced, the Aarushi Talwar murder case and its various investigation theories came to limelight once again. On the acquittal of the teenage girl’s parents in the case, the filmmaker says it’s a victory of cinema.

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.

 “I think there is no better victory of cinema than this as it has made impact like this and that exactly what we wanted. It is amazing news and we are so happy for the family, and especially the parents, but the saddest part is that we can’t bring back their nine years in which they struggled to get justice. It’s also a big victory of the Indian judicial system,” Vishal Bhardwaj said.
Asked if the film generated any kind of awareness among the audience, Bhardwaj said: “I think because of our film, their case came to limelight at least for some period of time because earlier things which were under surface came into public eye with our film. In the investigation, there were many aspects which were doubtful and in our film, we took neutral stance and we didn’t take anyone’s side.

“We showed what happened in investigation and what proceedings were carried out by both investigating agencies that was Delhi Police and CBI in the film. So in the outcome, it made things pretty clear”

Vishal Bhardwaj was present for the opening ceremony of the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival here along with actress Konkona Sen Sharma, who acted in the 2015 movie directed by Meghna Gulzar.

Konkona said: “Its fantastic news. It’s really a shame that it took us nine years for their innocence that has been proven. Its tragedy is also that we still don’t know who the killers of Hemraj (house help) and Aarushi are but I am very happy for Talwars.”

Actor Sohum Shah, who also featured in the movie, said in a statement: “Before commencing the shoot, I was very confused and curious about this case. I wanted to know the truth but I didn’t want to create an opinion sitting at home. We tend to make an opinion by seeing the TV or believe loose talk. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to know the truth.

“I am very happy because somewhere or the other they are saved from injustice. I hope that the crimals are caught as soon as possible and the law gives them a harsh punishment.” (IANS)

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Just in! Kalki has a crush on this Bollywood actor!

Currently, Kalki is looking forward to her upcoming film "Ribbon", also featuring Sumeet Vyas.

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Kalki Koechlin
Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 13, 2017 : Actress Kalki Koechlin says she wishes to work on screen with all the Khans of Bollywood, but she has a softer corner for Shah Rukh Khan.

Asked if she wants to work with any of the top Khans of the industry, Kalki told IANS: “I want to work with all three Khans, but if you ask me my favourite, it has to be Shah Rukh Khan.

“Shah Rukh is my childhood crush. I met him few times in real life as well and he is very charming.”

When it comes to a new bunch of actors, she thinks she “will look nice” with Ranbir Kapoor.

“We worked in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ and I really liked him as co-star. He is a natural actor and spontaneous. It would be interesting to work with him,” she added.

The actress is trying to balance her career between mainstream and indie films by working with directors like Zoya Akhtar and Ayan Mukerji in films like “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, along with movies like “Margarita, With a Straw” and “A Death in the Gunj” which were popular in festival circuits.

Sharing her wish-list of directors, Kalki said: “I would like to work with an artiste like Vishal Bhardwaj. His cinema is a piece of art, he writes the story, he makes the music of the film and it’s amazing. I think it would be interesting to work with Vikramaditya Motwane as well.”

Currently, Kalki is looking forward to her upcoming film “Ribbon”, also featuring Sumeet Vyas. It is releasing on November 3. (IANS)

 

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Film ‘The Florida Project ’ Shines Bright Light on Hidden Homeless

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Florida project film
Writer-director Sean Baker, from left, actress Brooklynn Prince and actor Willem Dafoe pose together to promote their film, "The Florida Project,". voa

Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” takes place in a blindingly purple low-budget motel named the Magic Castle, just down Route 192 from Disney’s Magic Kingdom. For the children of single parents who live there, the Kissimmee, Florida, motel is a playground — even if they’re living in poverty.

The Florida Project,” which opens in theaters Friday, is an ebullient, candy-colored movie wrapped around the very real issue of hidden homelessness. Families nationwide are living below the poverty line and eking out an existence in cheap motels, but the problem is particularly acute — and ironic — in the shadows of Walt Disney World.

The Florida Project stars Willem Dafoe as the kindly father-figure manager Bobby, but its central characters are played by newcomers. The feisty, scamming Halley (Bria Vinaite) is the 23-year-old mother to Moonee (7-year-old Brooklynn Prince), a free-spirited troublemaker who, with her friends (including the 6-year-old Valeria Cotto), are a delightful menace to Bobby and the motel’s residents. (voa)