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Story of Mowgli closely linked to Indian culture: Andy Serkis

Serkis's adaptation, Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle, is set to be released globally on streaming giant Netflix on 7 December.


Giving a twist to the classic The Jungle Book by going beyond and exploring the darker side, filmmaker Andy Serkis says it was very important for him to make Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle closely linked to the Indian culture.

The film, based on Rudyard Kipling-authored book, is set in a forest in India, where a boy grows up amongst animals such as a bear, panther and wolves. Serkis's adaptation is set to be released globally on streaming giant Netflix on 7 December.

"I am just thrilled beyond belief that we are bringing the film back to its roots to tell this story, interpretation of which has never been seen in a country that inspired... It would have not happened if not for Netflix. The tone of this story is much closer to Rudyard Kipling's book than other versions. It was very important for me to make the film which is very closely linked to Indian culture," Serkis said in a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday (25 November).

The actor-filmmaker, who is touted as the pioneer of motion capturing, added that he imagined the film to have a global reach.

"It's an international story," he added.

And, how is his version different from the others?

"One of the most important things about this version that differentiates it is really searching the heart of Mowgli. In other versions, it seems Mowgli is left on the side...that he is part of the story but not central. We wanted to make a Mowgli-centric story and it's about his very complex, psychological and emotional journey to self-discovery in between two worlds," Serkis said.

Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle digs into the notion of what it is to be an outsider, he said.

"That's the most important... You can't make the adaptation of The Jungle Book now in 2018 without recognising when it was written and where it is set and history of the time. We tried to bring that back in some small way in the film...

"The human relationship to the jungle in terms of colonisation, animals to receive and somehow survive...there is a comment on how we are daily losing paradise in our world."

The cast of film includes Indian-American child actor Rohan Chand, Matthew Rhys and Freida Pinto, along with voice and motion capture performances from Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris and Serkis.

The film also features his son Louis George Serkis, who has lent his voice for a little albino wolf in the film.