Meet Neel Sethi, the 'Mowgli' of Hollywood adaptation


Rudyard Kipling's immortal literary creation ‘The Jungle Book’ is all set to come alive on screen through a major Hollywood venture. The collection of stories was based around the character of Mowgli, a human boy lost in an Indian jungle and brought up by a pack of wolves. There will be only one human character in the film that is the boy Mowgli.

To find a child actor suitable enough to play the role, Disney organized a worldwide search. But finally 10 year old Neel Sethi was chosen for the role. This is going to be his first brush with acting. Disney released an official statement and said, "After an extensive worldwide search ranging from New York to New Zealand, London to Canada, and all throughout the United States and India, The Walt Disney Studios is pleased to announce that 10-year-old Neel Sethi will play the part of Mowgli in Disney’s The Jungle Book…Neel is a newcomer from New York picked from among thousands of auditions, and his role in The Jungle Book marks his first foray into acting."

No further information about the child actor like family and background has been released yet. However the name and photo suggests that the boy is from Indian origin. Sarah Finn, the director of casting said that Neel, "embodies the heart, humor and daring of the character…he's warm and accessible, yet also has an intelligence well beyond his years and impressed us all with his ability to hold his own in any situation. Even though he has no professional acting experience, his natural charisma and instincts jumped out at us."

The film will be a combination of animation and live action. Apart from the character of Mowgli, all other characters will be animated and will feature voices of heavyweight actors from Hollywood. Idris Alba is set to voice the antagonist tiger, Sher Khan while veteran actor Ben Kingsley is expected to be the voice behind the lovable Bagheera. Scarlett Johansson is also being contacted for a voice role. The film will be directed by Jon Favreau (‘Iron man’, ‘Cowboy and Aliens’). The director said, “Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative…Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it." The film has been scheduled for release in October, 2015.