Mowgli of the upcoming Hollywood film 'The Jungle Book', child actor Neel Sethi will begin the international promotional tour for the movie in India, later this month.
'The Jungle Book'. Pic/Santa Banta
The Disney live-action epic film will mark the debut of the 12-year-old actor, who plays the only human being in the story. Neil will visit India to present the film and visit some special sites in Mumbai.
"I have heard so many stories about the jungles of India from my maternal grandparents who live here. I am so excited to be visiting my homeland once again. When my parents heard that I got the part to play Mowgli, they were so excited because the stories are based in India," Neel said in a statement.
The New York based actor was hand-picked by director Jon Favreau from over 2000 hopefuls to play the role of Mowgli. Neel says he is "thrilled" to play the iconic character and hopes people in India will enjoy the movie.
"I am thrilled to have played Mowgli in my first film and befriend the much loved characters like Bagheera the Panther and Baloo, the Bear. India is the first country internationally that I will be presenting the film in. I really hope people in India enjoy watching the jungle come to life."
Favreau, who has directed films like 'Iron Man', 'The Office' and 'Chef', had an "exhaustive worldwide search" to find the right child to play Mowgli but narrowed on Neel the moment he saw the young actor.
"He was one of the last people that I looked at, and right away, I felt that he had the same emotional and physical qualities that Mowgli had in the'67 animated version. His look was uncanny in how much he evoked what we wanted. He inherently had a good sense of fun and humour," he said.
"Everything in this movie is geared towards the performance of this one kid. I've worked with enough kids to be confident in my own taste and my ability to get the performance. He was just so real. He felt right. We knew we found our Mowgli," the filmmaker added. "The Jungle Book" will release in India on April 8, a week before coming out in the US.