At first, 12-year-old Indian-origin actor Neel Sethi might seem to be a bit shy and someone who doesn’t like interacting much. However, when he is comfortable, he comes across as a typical New York-born kid, who is cool, easygoing and confident. And like any child of his age, he wants to be everything when he grows up.
“I love acting. But, I want to do everything! I want to do dentistry, I want to be an actor, and I want to be a sportsperson as well,” exclaims Neel, who will be portraying the popular fictional character Mowgli in the upcoming Hollywood film based on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
He clarifies that he was not nervous and adds that more than him, his grandparents were excited after he was selected among 2000 kids to play the role.
“It was so cool, when Jon (Favreau, director) told me that I was going to play Mowgli. My parents, my sister and I were all astonished. He said it as if it wasn’t such a big deal,” he quips further adding, “My grandparents thought it was really cool. You know for them, Mowgli was just like a superhero. To them, I guess he was what Spiderman is to us.”
While filming, Neel got a chance to spend time with Hollywood actors, including Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray. In fact, Neel even played football with Bill Murray. “ It was awesome. We didn’t really play a match, but he taught me how to throw the ball,” he says.
While Neel spends most of his time in the US, he makes a point to eat golgappas whenever he comes to India and loves watching Bollywood films. “I love watching Indian films, but I haven’t seen a Bollywood film in a long time, because I have been pretty busy. But I have seen Irrfan’s Talwar recently, and I thought that it was a really cool film,” he signs off.