Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Dear Zindagi review: Shah Rukh Khan hops on the 'gyan' bandwagon yet charms with his presence

(First published in Firstpost.com)

 It all started with Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots and followed by the over-the-top, preachy guru gyan in PK. Next came Amitabh Bachchan in Pink, the dialogue delivery master disguised as a lawyer whose booming speech on ‘NO’ was met with an equally resounding “YES” from audiences - young and old, men and women. Papas can preach.

 Provided they are superstars. Now comes Shah Rukh Khan, dropping every hamming trick from his Rahul dictionary, completely sidestepping out of the heroine’s way (Huge Leap for the Bollywood Hero) and yet saying 'main hoon na' with equal charm, style and confidence and oozing that superstar screen presence while staying silent and simply listening. True charisma, that.

 In Dear Zindagi, Alia Bhatt represents today’s young, liberated woman who seems to have it all and is yet lost, alone, confused and very, very scared. She is a talented cinematographer but believes that she is not taken seriously because she is also hot. She has tall and handsome lovers (Kunal Kapoor, Angad Bedi, Ali Zafar) willing to go the extra mile for her but she always ends up breaking up with them.

In other words, she is complicated. At some point, she starts getting sleepless nights and decides to see a therapist. Who better than the charming and easy going Dr Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) who is completely at home playing kabaddi with the waves, cycling along and giving life lessons on love. A character like Alia’s makes for a very contemporary premise and when cast opposite the King of romance, it’s a double whammy. Director Gauri Shinde, who has earlier worked with an equally delightful Sridevi in her debut gem English Vinglish, works her magic with a wonderful casting coup, the second time too. Both these movies remind me of Queen where the protagonist is a helpless woman who finds herself through some soul searching. What’s remarkable and gratifying about these stories is that they have an underlying and a very subtle feminist tone without being in the male bashing territory

.One could always argue that both Pink and Dear Zindagi needed and resorted to a male mentor or that superstar knight with lots of gyan to support and rescue the hapless, young heroine. Would these stories work without that father figure if not the romantic hero? And would these stories work without the iconic presence of Bachchan and Shahrukh? They would not raise that much curiosity or interest or footfalls in the theatre, perhaps. Imagine both the movies having a female lawyer or therapist as in the case of Jodie Foster starer The Accused. Would Priyanka Chopra as a lawyer inspire the same confidence in the subject as Amitabh Bachchan did?

That’s a risk which filmmakers are probably not ready to take yet. When Rani Mukherjee played the journalist backing Vidya Balan’s character in No One Killed Jessica, it made for interesting viewing but had few takers. In Dear Zindagi, the subject itself, while being the most relevant today, lends itself to a very urban, multiplex audience. Hence a lot hinges on the casting and Ms Shinde is fully aware of this. Also, to his credit, the gracious superstar Khan brings out the best in Alia, just like their characters, Jehangir and Kaira.

 Watch how Alia springs alive like the fresh, white daisies on her table, with every shade of emotion possible; nervously declares… “I like you…. I really like you”, looking vulnerable and hopeful at the same time; or speaks with a voice hoarse with unexpressed, deep sadness.

The fact that a superstar like Shahrukh Khan is willing to play a supportive role that lasts a mere 40 minutes on screen, is by itself an applaud worthy change in Hindi cinema. Thanks to a woman (Shinde).

 So what if you still need a man to tell a woman that it’s okay to date more than one man. That’s okay too.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

"There is no shame in depression" : Shriya Pilgaonkar


Shriya Pilgaonkar, daughter of Sachin Pilgaonkar and Supriya Pilgaonkar, made an impressive debut in Hindi films, opposite Shahrukh Khan in "Fan". She talks to me about happiness and dealing with depression and how she says YES to Life.

Here's the video and the transcription:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnTNwBfANio



ON HAPPINESS:

Happiness is that unshakeable life condition which is not based on anything. Happiness is hope, a state of gratitude. It's just that feeling of being alive which is not dependent on anything.

LOW MOMENTS:

Firstly  a low is a transient moment, it's going to pass. My dog is my stress buster. I love food, I read a lot. I also meditate a lot when there is too much on my mind.. I find my own corner space, I also pray. I find a lot of peace in praying.

ON CLINICAL DEPRESSION:

I haven't experienced it myself.  The most important thing is awareness and  to talk about it.  There is no shame in being associated with bipolarity or any other form of depression. Communication is the key. ....To be able to talk to people, to have the courage to understand that being clinically depressed is not a finality and one can change it. We have to take complete responsibility to want to feel better, to have a better life and things wont just happen.

ON STRESS IN THE FILM INDUSTRY:

Any work space has its own stress. As actors, the anxiety is much more, you put your insecurity out there and you are put on a pedestal sometimes and you can fall from it. It's important to respect your own journey. There is no point in comparing yourself to other people. If you are aware that anxiety will not help you, then you wouldn't want to feel anxious. As an actor so much about the performance is  the energy and vibe you bring on screen.There is no space for negativity then. If you do feel anxious, you can convert it into a good kind of anxiety. There is good anxiety and there is bad anxiety. You can' t really tear yourself down and be hard on yourself. So you enjoy your work more when you are relaxed.

Please share and subscribe to the video and say YES to life.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeFAunD8QPAbwY4-LCC0Y4A



Wednesday, 25 May 2016

SAY YES TO..LIFE WITH SAYANI GUPTA


THS IS A NEW LIFE AFFIRMING SERIES WITH CELEBRITIES ON MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

HERE'S THE LINK AND TRANSCRIPTION.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kENNlojtgqw&list=PLp0ZWLvyaByAxUg5lrGJ6nBkTXo6Sw5FZ


Transcription of Say Yes to Life with SAYANI GUPTA.

"Say No To Suicide, Say Yes to Life":Sayani


What are your views on happiness?

Happiness, I think, is what makes you feel floaty and really good about yourself. I really believe n having fun, every moment. I don't live in the future, I don't dwell in the past. That's the kind of the person I am.

How do you deal with low moments?

I go out to eat. I have my comfort food which is Bengali food. Or I go eat Sushi or Thai, indulge in lots of sweets. And yeah, sleep. It's the best, ever. You wake up after a good nap and everything seems brighter.

If clinically depressed, would you take help from a doctor?

Absolutely. Our generation needs to be more aware of this because our parents generation did not know much. They thought going to a shrink or a counsellor is something like a mental problem. It's not. What is always important and really helpful is if you can discuss your problems with someone who knows how to tackle it. Depression is so rampant today, every second person is going through depression. It's due to the quality of life we live today, we all have become individualistic, we all want  so much, the want is going up and up and up. Like we are never satisfied with what we have. we are not satisfied with simple things that people used to be happy with.  We are going away from out family. Most of us live alone in big cities.

The biggest blessing you can have from God is -friends. whatever you are going through, you always need people to speak to. It's only that one moment when you might want to take your life away. It's not worth it. It's one life you've got. trust me, this is the best probably you could have got. If you were to exchange lives with someone else, you will still be okay with your set of problems because you don;t know the other's world. Everyone goes through ups and downs. Nobody stays happy unless you have reached a stage of nirvana. The idea is to even enjoy the low moments.
My nani used to say, there is a Rabindranath Tagore line which means ' whoever you give your flag to, give him the strength to bear it also".

When my father passed away, I had imagined many things earlier. Bout his passing away was the most beautiful, most incredible moment of my life.I literally realised what life is about. I believe that even if he is no ore, he actually is, in so many ways. Something gave me enormous strength. whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

TO SPREAD THIS MESSAGE, PLEASE SHARE THE VIDEO AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

SAY YES TO...LIFE.





Sunday, 22 May 2016

'Cabaret' is an explosion of passion, says Gulshan Devaiah

(First published in Firstpost.com)
He was the lusty, raunchy guy in the film Hunterrr. Now he is back with Richa Chadda in Cabaret, still hunting and still scorching the screen with kisses that would make Emraan Hashmi look like an amateur.
Gulshan Devaiah, in this completely no holds barred interview, talks about his feminine side, his views on Aishwarya Rai’s purple lipstick, Richa Chadda’s saree at Cannes 2016 and of course, all his on screen kisses. When he meetsFirstpost, he immediately confesses to being shy to the extent of being agoraphobic. We play along:
So you don’t party?I enjoy conversations. I feel uncomfortable at parties, I just have a drink and hit the dance floor. I got my first role inGirl with Yellow Boots because of my dancing. Anurag Kashyap saw me dancing with Kalki (Koechlin) and felt there is something about me.
Do you and Kalki go back a long way?Since 2008. I took some time to become real friends. Today we are really thick.
I believe you shop for her.Before I found my partner, we used to shop together. I have a background in fashion and I love shopping myself.
Is shopping a therapy?
In a way, yes. It’s not considered very manly but I don’t care. I love shopping.
Do you want to be seen as manly?I am manly enough. That is just a perception. There are feminine qualities [I have] and I am comfortable about it.
Talking about fashion, did you like what Aishwarya wore at Cannes?I saw some visuals and on Twitter, people had many things to say about it.
And what do you have to say?
I think the dress was… nice. Aishwarya has always had a very keen sense of fashion. She is really good in choosing the right outfits.But she is being constantly criticized by people. Are they justified?
In a way they are justified and in a way it is none of their business. As a celebrity, one either accepts or blocks it off. I think Aishwarya understands that and knows how to deal with it.
What did you think about her purple lipstick?
That was a little bit loud and jarry. It was quite a bold experiment. If I was styling her, I would say its too much as she is such a beautiful woman. It wasn’t like crazily bad, just tiny bit too much.
What about Richa Chadha’s dress at Cannes?Richa is a beautiful woman and looks great in everything. You can never go wrong with a Sabyasachi outfit. She probably wanted to represent the nation and wore a saree. The shimmery gold looked great on her as she has a dusky complexion.Both of you had your films screened at Cannes at the same time — Peddler and Gangs of Wasseypur. Was that a first meeting?
I had met her through common friends earlier. The first time I met her at a theatre workshop and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye had just released. I thought, "my god, it’s that girl from Oye Lucky’. I had to really build up the courage to go up and say hi to her.
Kalki was there and I asked her, "should I go and talk to her, she is pretty hot, man?" and Kalki said, "go, talk to her". I just said "hi, you were fabulous in the film" and she said politely, "thank you". (mimics polite voice)
From the shy hello, to a steamy kiss in your upcoming film, Cabaret. How’s that?
(Enthusiastic) Yeah, yeah, I am really eating her (lip). We have come a long way. (smiles). That’s what I would have liked to do when we met first. But seriously speaking, this is our job.
You seem to be a pro with kissing scenes, like the ones in Hunterrr.(More enthusiastic) Yeah, I even did one small one in Shaitan. In the film, I am supposed to be kissing some random woman, but I was actually kissing my girlfriend so it turned out more romantic than it was intended. In Hate Story, it was very easy to break it down as it was all about aesthetics. I was nervous. I told my wife- ‘we are making love, what if I embarrass myself’. She said, it’s just a job.
In Hunterrr, there were several such scenes with various actors. How did that go?The director told us we are making a film in a very real space. As an actor, you have to be prepared to live your private moment in public. Somewhere one has to find the courage. There was one instance with Hansa Singh who played Savita Bhabhi, she was such a great sport. The director wanted a wild dub of a sex scene. Hansa was fine. She just stood by the wall, quickly made noises, like “ah.. ooh..” and she was done. But I was suddenly so embarrassed. So I ended up requesting the actress to enact it again to get the sounds right.
In Cabaret, what are the scenes like?There is a lot of sensuality. There has to be an explosion of passion. It’s about two damaged people falling in love. There is a man who wanted to kill himself and a woman who has been running away.
Was Richa comfortable?
Initially she was a bit nervous, which made me also nervous. Later we were fine. You have to help each other out.
Are you okay with playing secondary roles to women protagonists?It doesn’t matter to me who is the protagonist. If you like the film, you like the script, you like the role - do it. I never look at it as — this is Richa’s film or Hunterrr is my film.
Are you in a good space today, after 5 years?There is always some uncertainty. I like doing a variety of roles and don’t take up every offer. Sometimes negative thoughts do come and do get you down. Today I am shooting one film, have just finished shooting one and a film release is coming up. Still I don’t know; there is no set pattern. You know you have to take a forward step and you don’t know where you will land. But you hope to get somewhere.
Where do you hope to arrive after Cabaret?
I don’t know. I hope people like the film and my work. I would like to empower myself with more variety of films.

The first time I went to a discotheque, it was with Shah Rukh Khan: Manoj Bajpayee

(First published in Firstpost.com)
Manoj Bajpayee, dressed in a bright checked shirt and trousers, lean and unassuming, has such a gentle and polite demeanour that it is difficult to imagine how he became the gregarious goonda Bhiku Mhatre in Satya. Or the violent, crude and disgusting Sardar in Gangs of Wasseypur. Or the mild, poetic, thoughtful, gay professor in his last film ,Aligarh. Whether it is a big, small or short film like Taandav, Bajpayee gives himself to it one hundred percent.
Now, as Bajpayee gears up for his upcoming ensemble film,Traffic, his love for his craft comes through in this conversation :
You have just received Dadasaheb Phalke Foundation award for your performance in Aligarh. Congratulations. Is this huge for you?
No, it’s not huge, really. Actually, there is a misconception. It’s a mainstream, popular award. Everyone thought this is given by the Government. But this award is from a private organization.
Are you expecting a National Award?
I hope so. If the jury thinks so. [Laughs]
You have already received widespread critical acclaim for it.
Yes, the response for Aligarh has been huge. I have been very lucky that I have usually got love and appreciation for most of my work. But Aligarh has topped all of it. In terms of appreciation, reviews, acceptance — it’s quite remarkable.
Like the professor in Aligarh, have you felt lonely as an artist? Some top actors claim so.
People say big stars are lonely. Since I am not a big star I cannot talk about loneliness. [Laughs] If I feel lonely, I try to find company. I am shy and a man of few words but I have not experienced loneliness. I interpreted the character through the people I know and the books I have read. I try to be the character.
You seem to transform completely with each different film. What’s your process?
I prepare for my scene according to the genre and the script and the directors vision. Then I add my own interpretation. At times something very magical happens in front of the camera.
Which is your favourite magical moment?
[Shrugs]There are many. When you are prepared well and work hard before the shoot, it happens. The character is inside you, he is guiding you all the time.
In Kapoor & Sons, a few big stars rejected Fawad’s role. Did you feel you were taking a risk inAligarh?
The only people who can do these kind of roles are the ones who have nothing to lose or don’t have much at stake. The stars have too much at stake. They are probably wary for that reason. I am an actor known to take risks. Risk taking is my asset. I never thought of it as a risk. Hansal is a dear friend; it was a great script and a great role. The only prime concern for us, was to do the role well. We completed the film and I started hearing that Manoj is taking a risk.
If given a regular role…
I will never do it. Anybody can do it. They don’t need an actor like Manoj Bajpayee.
Did you think about how Aligarh would affect your image, the way most actors do?
Please forgive me if I sound arrogant or flamboyant. I don’t care about what anybody thinks. When I became an actor, I told myself —‘Manoj Bajpayee, don’t care about what people say, just follow your dream’. I conduct myself with the same attitude today. In any case, I feel very strongly about gay rights. I would have anyway done the role as I care strongly for the issue.
What excited you about your role in Traffic?
It’s not just the role; it’s the film in totality. I saw the Malayalam version and I said I want to be a part of the film. The story of the constable is so fantastic. He makes a mistake and he wants to redeem himself through this journey.
You have worked with directors like Shekhar Kapur, Shyam Benegal and Ram Gopal Varma. How different was it to work with the late Rajesh Pillai on a Malayalam remake?
Rajesh Pillai was very learned, very passionate and very clear about his audience. He was an amazing guy. He has made a taut and emotional thriller.
Shah Rukh Khan paid you a surprise visit during your film promotions. Any memory from your old times with him?
[Smiles] We are old friends. The first time I went to a discotheque, it was with Shah Rukh. He was quite a charmer. He always had a way with men or women. He was a big star even then. 
Are you happy with where you are today?

Fantastically so.
Do you have a wish list?
I am just open to work. I want to work with new directors. I will choose a new director over an established one, any day. They come up with new kinds of scripts and ideas.

Shah Rukh Khan is a 'Dilli ka launda': Sayani Gupta on her 'Fan' hero

(First Published in Firstpost.com )
She was first noticed in her second film for the ease with which she kissed another woman on screen — a blind woman in love with Kalki Koechlin's character in Margarita With A Straw. Few knew then that Sayani Gupta would next appear in one of the biggest mainstream releases of 2016 — Fan, opposite Shah Rukh Khan.
When I meet Sayani at a restaurant, she is just back from puja celebrations of Nabo Barsho, a day before Fan’s release. “I’m starving”, she says and quickly orders some fish. But even when our chat ends, the fish is untouched. “It’s too soft,” the Bong girl declares.
Sayani is as forthright about her upcoming film, Fan. And of course Shah Rukh Khan. But she keeps mum about her role. “It’s the way Yash Raj rolls," she explains.
So, are you excited about Fan’s release?
Not much. [Thinks] Well, yes, I am excited to see the film. It’s actually a numb feeling. It’s not my film anyway. I have no idea how my character has turned out. It’s Shah Rukh Khan’s film. It’s a double whammy for him. We don’t even stand a chance. It’s nice to be associated with such a big film.
But you don’t seem too excited because it may not be a very big role.
No, when I took on the film, I was told that technically, it’s the longest screen time after Shah Rukh. But I never expect too much from anything. I am that sort of a person. Nothing excites me too much. I am very detached that way. I understand that cinema is not an actor’s medium at all. There’s no control you have on anything. Cinema is really a collaborative art form. So I will be really stupid if I am very excited. I know that my job is done the day the shoot is wrapped. It’s nice to be in the film because it’s a Shah Rukh film and it’s such a big film. Like a friend told me, chalo it’s a 100-crore film. Not that I care much about that. I love acting. I love cinema. I want to produce and direct a film as well.
How about writing?
No. I am more visual. I have no idea what my characters will say. In life also. I don’t know what to say ever.
What was your aspiration when you started acting?To do good work. It remains that way. I wanted to be an actor since I was 4.
Did you have a role model?
No. I live my life the way I want to. I know I deserve to be seen. I know my work. I am better than most people.
[Laughs] The only actress I liked was Madhuri Dixit.
Ever been a fan?
Never.
How about Shah Rukh’s?
Yes, He is the only one. But otherwise, never been a fan.
Do you want a fan following?Of course. I want to have the biggest stardom anyone can get. When I came to Mumbai, I thought I want to be a good actor and the desire to be a star is shallow. But I realised that no one takes you seriously unless you are a star. People value your time and effort more. It’s a problem in the country. You don’t get the good roles, otherwise. Right now I have three-and-a-half fans, maybe! [smiles]
How was it working with Yash Raj Films?
They are strict about everything. Everything is very streamlined and efficient. Everyone is fantastic in their work and attitude. And you can see it percolates from the top — from Aditya Chopra. Even though I have not met him, I can make out he is a visionary.
How was your experience with Maneesh Sharma?
He’s a baby. Amazing. The first time I saw him, I thought such a young boy….he can’t be Manish. He is very sorted as a director and has enormous clarity of vision.
And Shah Rukh?
I met him on the first day of the shoot and no one thought of introducing us. So we did our first scene where the characters have known each other for the longest time. After the shoot, he said, “Baby, I didn’t get your name” and he gave me a hug. In fact he hugged me three times that day and finally gave me my best compliment: He said, “You are really talented. You will go a long way”. I swear I couldn’t even say "thank you". I just froze.
What did you think of Shah Rukh as the shoot progressed?
He is the most humble and generous person. He never behaves like a superstar. He makes you feel really special. He really wants to touch you within and there is something very genuine about it. He is the richest actor in the world and he is so humble. He will just sit on the floor with you, and smoke a cigarette. Shah Rukh is just another Dilli ka launda.

Not lost in translation: Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan Khan wow in Hindi version of 'The Jungle Book'

(First published in Firstpost.com )
Akele ho yahaan?”
A very soft, silky, gentle voice is heard in the dead of a dark evening in the midst of an eerily silent, thick jungle.
A little boy in a red loincloth standing atop a giant tree looks around. He is Mowgli, the man cub raised by wolves.
Itne ghane jungle mein tum kaise aaye?” The unknown voice continues. There is a hint of background music, building a mood of mystique and fear.
You get a glimpse of a massive, leathery creature coiled around a branch. Ssssssssssssss. The famous, slithery python — Kaa-aaaaaaa, unseen by Mowgli who is spellbound by the hypnotic voice.
Slowly, Kaa’s hooded, fascinating face with huge, mesmerising eyes comes forward, close to Mowgli. Mowgli’s past is reflected in Kaa’s eyes. And a legendary, childhood story is told. In a voice that seems to care.
Tum nahin jaante tum kya ho.
Kaa’s voice enchants and hypnotises both Mowgli and the viewer to a drop dead, breathless moment.
It’s the most amazing voiceover dub done by Priyanka Chopra. And yessssss, more dramatic than the underplayed Scarlett Johansson who smoothly murmurs, “I know what you are.”
If Johansson’s “Trust in me” excites you and sends shivers down your spine, a barely five minute sequence with Kaa in the Hindi dubbed version of Disney’s The Jungle Book, is enough to add to the 3D wonder of a visual spectacle. Priyanka Chopra’s “Vishwas karo mera” is as chilling and hypnotic.
Mostly, Hollywood movies with the likes of Scarlett Johansson sound funny when they are seen on screen with Indian voices in Hindi, trying to match the expressions — if not downright ridiculous. As was with The Avengers, when Johansson was heard saying as the Black Widow: “Raita tum phailao aur saaf karoon main?”
It helps that in The Jungle Book, the familiar Indian actors’ voices are paired with computer-generated animals with fantastic body language, instead of Hollywood faces. And as Pahlaj Nihalani wants to remind you with the U/A certificate, the film is anything but funny or simple fun. The Jungle Book’s latest version, unlike Disney’s animated 1967 version, is eerie fun, thrilling fun, and shivery fun. And as this writer has seen both the Hindi and English versions, the Hindi one is far livelier and dramatic, made alive by the desi actors.
If you have grown up on Kipling’s short stories and know Baloo the bear and Shere Khan the tiger from Doordarshan days, and of course, the very, adorable chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai Mowgli, you might add some more delightful names to the list. So it’s Irrfan’s Baloo, the bear, Nana Patekar’s Shere Khan the tiger, and Priyanka Chopra’s Kaa, the slippery python.
As the dubbing director Mona Shetty puts it, “The Jungle Book has tremendous recall value from the Doordarshan series. We wanted to do justice to that memory, yet bring a fresh experience that goes with the visual appeal of the movie. It is challenging for any actor to stay within parameters already created on screen. But all the Indian actors, made it their own simply with their attitude and the intention.”And it certainly shows and is heard. Nana Patekar, who has earlier dubbed for Shere Khan in The Adventures of Mowgli (1989), is back playing the same role, with his sharp teeth firmly in the older and the more conniving skin of the ruling tiger. Patekar’s voice matches the slow and deceptive movement of Shere Khan (Idris Elba in English) on the screen and even makes you laugh at the wicked humour in his tone as he sniffs out the “insaani pilla” and does not have to growl when he says, “Ab hue kaan savdhaan” to the scared wolves.
If Patekar brings the evil with him, there is the lovable, fat Baloo who talks like a khata pita Punjabi. So Baloo is “yaaro ka yaar" who calls Mowgli “puttar”. What could have been dismissed as classic stereotyping, instead sits at ease with the character as conceived as a simply fun but slothful bear. The film’s Hindi dialogue writer, Mayur Puri, explains, “There is a lot of logic to the character adaptation. We want to make the film palatable and engaging and the simplest for the audience to understand. Baloo loves honey. So like any Punjabi who is a foodie and loves a good life, Baloo talks and behaves like one. The idea is to augment the emotions in translation. Hence the Hindi version is a trans-creation, not a direct translation.”
This is apparent in a scene in which Baloo makes Mowgli climp up a steep rock to bust open a beehive and get him the honey. At first he blatantly lies to Mowgli that the bees won’t bite. When Mowgli gets bitten, Baloo just dismisses it, saying that there must be more of female species than male ones — “kudiyaan dank maarti hai”.
According to Puri, Irrfan was a little apprehensive about playing a Punjabi, as he had never done it before. Puri told him that he had an intrinsic laid back personality and all he had to do was to bring his attitude to the role. The results are there for you to see. This is both Baloo and Irrfan at their best.
Ditto with King Louie, voiced by Bugs Bhargava (Christopher Walken in Hollywood). The character, in keeping with his name, is given a Goan touch and made to speak in Hinglish. So what appears on screen as a gigantic King Kong, uses words like “beautiful” and “try try” in between Hindi sentences.
Puri says that the attempt was to recreate a kind of Goga Kapoor who plays a gangster but talks like, “arey aas paas sad hai” in Kundan Shah’s Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.
Om Puri voices Bagheera (Ben Kingsley in the English version) and does not add much layer to the wise panther, Mowgli's best friend.
Shefali Shah sounds like any concerned mom as the wolf foster mother, Raksha (Lupita Nyong'o in Hollywood). The more challenging work is done by Jasleen Singh Chadda who dubs Mowgli’s voice in Hindi. The effort shows as much as in the Hollywood movie with Neel Sethi.
However, what matters is that we finally have a Hollywood film dubbed well in Hindi. Plus there are the takeaway songs like “Bare Necessities” redone as “Yeh Zarooratein”. “Bees are buzzin’ in the tree” sound as much fun as “gun gun karte yeh chatte” written by Puri and sung by Vishal Dadlani.
And of course there is the renewed all time favorite song by the amazing duo Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar; not in the film but used as a promotional video to invoke '90s nostalgia: "Jungle Jungle baat chali hai, pata chala hai, chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai…
Irresistible! Vishwasss karo mera...