on the actor's trail

Meet the other Mowgli from the other ‘Jungle Book’ movie

Rohan Chand will headline the 2017 release ‘Jungle Book: Origins’ over a year after Neel Sethi’s turn as the little hero.

Don’t get too used to watching Neel Sethi as Mowgli in Disney’s The Jungle Book. The feral child who is brought up by wolves in a forest and goes on to defeat the tiger Shere Khan will be portrayed by another Indian-origin child actor boy in next year’s Jungle Book: Origins.

Rohan Chand will step into the role that has been previously played by Indians, Americans and Indians of American extraction over the years. Mowgli has been previously played by Sabu Dastagir in the 1942 movie and voiced by Bruce Reitherman in the 1967 animated version and by Haley Joel Osment in the 2003 animated sequel. In the direct-to-video films Mowgli’s Story and the sequel The Second Jungle Book, the wild child is played by Brandon Baker and Jamie Williams respectively.

Neel Sethi, the only actor to feature in The Jungle Book, has arrived in India to boost the movie’s box office chances ahead of its April 8 release. Based on the novels by Rudyard Kipling and the animated movie made by Disney in 1967, Jon Favreau’s version features Sethi, who was born in 2003 in New York City, along with computer-generated creatures, including Bagheera the panther, Baloo the bear, Shere Khan the tiger and Kaa the python.

A clip from ‘The Jungle Book’.

The other adaptation by rival studio Warner Bros was originally scheduled for an October 2016 release. The live action movie, which will now emerge on October 6, 2017, is being directed by Andy Serkis, who also voices Baloo. Apart from Rohan Chand, the film features Christian Bale as Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as Kaa, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan and Frieda Pinto as Mowgli’s adoptive mother.

Chand, who was born in 2004, has already made a name for himself in the American entertainment world. Born to Indian parents in New York City, Chand was discovered by a casting director while playing baseball and cast in a small role in the comedy Jack and Jill (2011) as Adam Sandler’s son.

The trailer of ‘Jack and Jill’.

Then came another cameo in the popular television series Homeland. In the episode Crossfire from the first season, Chand plays Issa Nazir, the son of a terrorist, who forms a close bond with the protagonist Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis).

Rohan Chand in ‘Crossfire’.
Rohan Chand in ‘Crossfire’.

In the war movie Lone Survivor (2013), Chand plays the son of an Afghan man who dies trying to help an American Navy Seal. He also has a blink-and-miss role in the Helen Mirren-Om Puri drama The Hunderd-Foot Journey (2014). He plays the young version of the chef Hassan.

The trailer of ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’.

Chand’s breakout role was in the comedy Bad Words (2014), directed by and starring Jason Bateman as a National Spelling Bee contestant who finds himself pitted against Chand’s precocious Chaitanya Chopra.

A clip from ‘Bad Words’.

The young talent is associated with another upcoming Hollywood movie with an Indian connection. Chand will voice the monkey Deepu from Bollywood Superstar Monkey, a musical adventure inspired loosely by the Ramayana and written by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Berges.

Sethi, in comparison, has only acted once before, in the short film Diwali, directed by Raj Trivedi. In the battle of the non-resident Indian child actors, may the best Mowgli win.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.


During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.