Child actor Neel Sethi, all set to make his debut with Disney’s big-budget fantasy film The Jungle Book as Mowgli, says he is fond of Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra.
The Quantico star has voiced the character Kaa, a snake who is one of Mowgli’s mentors and friends, in the Hindi version of the film.
“I love Priyanka Chopra because she plays Kaa in the Hindi version. She is now in Hollywood too. I would love to act with her, and everybody in Bollywood. I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” Neel told PTI in an interview.
Besides Priyanka, the 12-year-old youngster also looks up to Captain America star Chris Evans and Matthew Perry, known for his role as Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom Friends.
“I really like Chris Evans, because he is Captain America and is a really nice guy. I like Mathew Perry because of Friends. I love the show.”
Even though he is based in New York, Neel watches Hindi films and was impressed with the critically acclaimed Irrfan Khan starrer Talvar, which he found “very cool.”
Watch the Jungle Book trailer here
The actor is open to do Bollywood films in the future as they have a “different acting style.”
“I like everybody in Bollywood. There is a different acting style (in Bollywood). May be, in future, I would like to do a film here. It will be every exciting.”
Directed by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book, based on Rudyard Kipling’s book, narrates the story of an orphan boy Mowgli who is raised in the jungle by a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.
In the film, Neel plays the only human being and he said he was hand-picked by Favreau from over 2000 hopefuls for Mowgli. The actor, however, bagged the role in his very first audition and was not aware of the number of people he was competing to play the iconic character.
“My dad took me to the audition. When they were told I got the role they were so excited and amazed,” he said. Once he started filming, Neel credits Favreau for guiding him as this was the first time he was venturing into acting.
Watch the Hindi trailer here
“It felt good. I didn’t know what to do because it was my first time. Whatever the director told me I started doing that because he knows everything about it. He taught me everything. Jon (Favreau) is a very nice guy and it was really fun working in the film. I liked it.”
When asked if he was nervous while doing the film, Neel said, “I wasn’t nervous at all, not really. Because I didn’t know how big the film is.”
The actor is currently in Mumbai and has managed to see the Gateway of India before he flies back to Los Angeles.
This is not the first time that Neel has come to India he has been here before.
“I have come to India before as my grandparents are here. I love India because this is my home. This is so different from usual New York from where I come. It’s so different and cool,” he said.
One special fondness that the 12-year-old-actor has of India is eating Golgappas (Pani-Puri). “...Golgappas (Pani-Puri) I can have 27 in one go. I tried to beat my sister but that did not happen,” Neel said on a lighter note.
The Jungle Book will release in India on April 8, a week before it hits theatres in the US.
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