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A Film With An Indian Heart

Disney India is taking The Jungle Book to IMAX and 3D screens across the country with 2D options as well.

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Disney India could not have asked for more. Hollywood studio Walt Disney Pictures’ The Jungle Book, a film with an Indian heart — after all the adventures of fictional character Mowgli, the feral child, is based in India — is set to release in a record 1,500 screens in the country just when schools go into their summer break.

Disney India has also played its part with a view to attract the maximum eyeballs. To begin with, it has got some Bollywood stars to do voice overs in Hindi and other Indian languages. Lending their voice to Kipling’s immortal characters in the film are Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan, Om Puri, Shefali Shah and Nana Patekar, among others. Then, with a view to get not just the kids but their parents into the theatre as well, Disney India has reprised the “Jungle jungle baat chali hai” song by music director Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzaar. Of course, the main character of Mowgli is being played by Neel Sethi, an American child actor of Indian lineage.

Asked the reasons for going all out to promote this Hollywood remake, Amrita Pandey, vice president, Studios, Disney India, says: “Over the last two years, the audience footfalls and box-office collections of English movies have seen a surge. Our own movie Avengers: Age of Ultron was one of the most successful English movies last year and features in the top 10 movies among English and Hindi movies too.”

According to Pandey, the revenue from local language dubs contributed to about 40 per cent of the total box-office collections for Avengers: Age of Ultron. “We believe it (The Jungle Book) has the potential to appeal to a wide audience and for adults experiencing the movie could be like revisiting childhood memories.

The promotional campaign has been designed keeping that in mind,” says Pandey.

Disney India is also focused on invoking the sense of nostalgia amongst its core target audience through social media and app-based platforms such as Uber, Book My Show, Grofers, among others. It believes the highlight of the film’s marketing campaign is the reprisal of the “Jungle jungle baat chali hain” song. The song is an ode to the childhood anthem of every 90s kid, says Pandey.

According to Disney India, the song has crossed over two million views across platforms in less than a week, which is huge for a song which was released 23 years ago. Disney India is taking The Jungle Book to IMAX and 3D screens across the country with 2D options as well.

Last but not the least, the film’s director, Jon Favreau, has a strong following in India after his direction of Iron Man. And Disney is banking on getting everyone into the theatres for this Rudyard Kipling cult kid character this summer.

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