The bare necessities of animation!

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Ah, the magic of Jungle Book! It is such that it transcends across generations, genres of art or mode of cinema-telling! This classic story by Rudyard Kipling continues to capture the attention of everyone. Whether it was the age-old archetypal book, published in 1893 or the most recent movie version, which has only one actor to its credit in it; the story is truly a marvel and a perfect example of what classics are made of!

The latest offing features a live-action Mowgli and digitally created animals, a feat of magical animation and technical brilliance. Director Jon Favreau pooled various animating techniques into a faultless, exquisite experience of the jungle. In fact, the animals look so realistic that it is hard to believe that they are, but, computer-generated animals! And by the end of the movie, the animals’ seem as natural as their fur, hide or feathers. The new live action remake is the latest in a long string of reboots, six in total!

The movie recorded a massive $103.6 million opening weekend and has grossed a worldwide total of $776.2 million so far! Talk about appealing across all genres, this one sure hits the mark!

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The new ‘Mowgli’
The young child actor, Neel Sethi, barely a teen yet, holds the movie strong on his shoulders. The little one who landed a breakout role as Mowgli in the classic tale had also starred in Diwali (2013) earlier. He was selected for the role of Mowgli among thousands who auditioned across the globe.

Did you know that Neel had read the book just before the audition and after reading a part of it; he liked it so much that he bought it from a book fair? Makes us wonder, what would have happened, if he didn’t like the book!

The actor who was born in 2003, the same year that the 1967 film’s direct-to-video sequel The Jungle Book 2 (2003) was released, loves playing football, basketball and baseball and his favourite actress is Priyanka Chopra in real life and Baloo the bear is his favourite character from the movie in reel life.

Unknown details about the latest sensation in Hollywood, here are some interesting ones:

  1. His favourite dish is Lobster Ravioli.
  2. He can throw a perfect spiral with the football that Bill Murray gave him.
  3. His favourite TV show right now is
  4. He can eat all three Hagaan Daz bars that come in the pack, in one sitting!
  5. Uptown Funk is one of his favourite songs.
  6. When he is not in the concrete jungle of NY, he loves being in the Berkshires.
  7. His favourite car is the Lamborghini Countach 25 Anniversary Edition in red!
  8. He got to fly on Mickey Mouses’ private jet.
  9. He has over 100 apps on my cell phone, and he uses almost all of them!
  10. He loves school and hopes to be a dentist one day.

Little known trivia about the movie:

  • The film released in India on April 8th, a week ahead of its U.S. debut, to pay tribute to the Indian environment of the film/novel. The film released in 2016, to coincide with the 49th anniversary of the original Disney animated classic masterpiece The Jungle Book(1967).
  • In the 1967 version, King Louie was an orangutan; in this film, he’s a gigantopithecus, an ancestor of the orangutan whose range is believed to have included parts of India. This change in species was made to make the film more fantastic and since orangutans are not native to India.
  • While the film is a live-action adaptation of the 1967 version, the filmmakers decided to include elements from the Rudyard Kipling novel to make the film more adventurous and dangerous.
  • The talking animals in this film were created using animal behaviour, then having the actors copy those movements in motion-capture VFX. All the locations in the film are computer-generated VFX.
  • The CG character Baloo is so large and furry; he took almost five hours of rendering time per frame.
  • Ben Kingsley described Bagheera as a militant character; “He’s probably a colonel, he is instantly recognizable by the way he talks, how he acts and what his ethical code is.”
  • Remote jungle locations in India were photographed and used as reference for the jungle environment in the film.
  • Whilst the animals are all native to India, Ben Kingsley is the only voice actor to be of South Asian origin as he is ethnically Anglo-Indian.
  • The wolf pups in the film are named after motion capture actors and other crew members.
  • Giancarlo Esposito who voices the wolf Akela, was featured in a commercial for the video game Destiny (2014) where he narrated a part of the poem ‘The Law of the Jungle’. This poem appears in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Second Jungle Book’.
  • Actor Neel Sethi said that since he never actually worked with real animals’ onset during filming, director Jon Favreau would on occasion stand in for where the animals would be present, one most notably as Sher Khan lunging out from the tall grass.
  • Despite not being a musical, several songs from the 1967 animated film, including ‘The Bare Necessities’ and ‘I Wan’na Be Like You’ were included in this film. The songs from The Jungle Book(1967) appear as bits of dialogue in this film. Kaa speaks ‘Trust in Me’, and Baloo sings a bit of ‘The Bare Necessities’.
  • Actors Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s sons Sasha and Kai make their film debut in the movie as little wolves! Director Jon Favreau’s children also appear in the movie.
  • The sounds you hear when Mowgli goes underwater when on Baloo’s tummy are generated through high powered underwater speakers made by oeanears.

Take a look at what goes on behind the scenes and how animation comes alive on screen!