Yes, you heard that right! Back in 1961, Shammi Kapoor screamt, ‘Yahoo! Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe' as he went sliding down the snow with debutante Saira Banu in Subodh Mukherjee's JUNGLEE.
Now, after half a century later, COMMONDO Vidyut Jammwal has turned lord of the jungle and he will have a family of elephants for company in Rohan Sippy's action thriller (about a unique friendship between man and beast, that will roll early next year) which is being produced by Junglee Pictures.
Vidyut plays an animal loving vet out to uncover a deadly poaching racket that took away his father and wiped out his beloved elephant's family.
The actor, who has lived in Kerala, learnt Kalaripayattu there and grew up in the midst of nature (with cats, dogs and elephants as friends), connected with the subject instantly. “I am a huge animal lover and this is a great adventure drama,” he avers, adding that since he heard the narration, he has been working with the team to create a new kind of action that no one in the world has seen yet. “There is a lot of research and planning involved with this aspect of the film,” he added.
Director Rohan Sippy reveals that the idea came to him because of his three-year old daughter who has brought back memories of some of the films he loved watching as a child.
“I grew up before television arrived on the scene so the biggest treat for my friends and me was when my dad (Ramesh Sippy) would bring a projector home and screen HAATHI MERE SAATHI for us. That was one film I watching on every birthday for at least three-four years. And that's what triggered off the idea of JUNGLEE,” he said.
Rohan admits that he's loved Vidyut since he saw him for the first time in FORCE. “With an actor like Vidyut, you can design a choreography-style of action. Films that we can enjoy as a family need to come back,” he maintains.
The director plans to shoot with an actual elephant but as with JUNGLE BOOK and the 3D battle sequences in GAME OF THRONES, technology will play a role in making the shoot easy and the film larger-than-life.
President of Junglee pictures, Priti Shahani shares that Rohan came to them with the concept early this year. “It's not just an action film but has a strong emotional chord, much has been discussed globally about cruelty to animals and though an off-beat subject, it should appeal to all age groups,” she asserts, pointing out that she can't remember the last time we saw a film revolves around an elephant and a man.
“It's a story that has a strong emotional chord and is relevant and relatable in today's context. It begins with their friendship and then moves to how we kill the animals for their skin or tusk. There is a global awareness and movement to stop poaching of animals and the story touches on this organically. It's a story that will make a connect across all age groups. The idea is to make a commercial entertainer that makes an impact and also leaves us thinking,” believes the producer.