A movie based on the true story of 12 underprivileged children from the largest orphanage in India hit theaters across North America, UK, UAE and other regions on May 20.
“Jungle Cry” follows the children’s triumphant journey from the orphanage to the International Junior Rugby Tournament held in the UK in 2007.
The movie describes how education and sports can help eradicate poverty and also invoke patriotism. Perhaps a perfect film for current times.
Directed by Sagar Bellary, the cast includes Abhay Deol, who was last seen in Disney’s “SPIN,” along with Emily Shah (“Fortune Defies Death” on Amazon Prime), Stewart Wright (“Doc Martin,” “Bridget Jones Diary”), Julian Lewis Jones (“Invictus”), Richard Elfyn (“Apostle”), and Sherry Baines (“Waterloo Roads”). The cast also includes the 14 kids from the Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS) in Odisha, India, which is home to more than 30,000 children.
Producer Prashant Shah recalled how the film was pitched to him and how he went about casting the orphan kids for roles.
“It was brought to me by Shabbir Boxwala (producer of “Shershah”),” says Shah. “We did not get any actors to play them. Instead, we had the original rugby players kids from KISS.”
He was speaking to SEEMA from an airport in India while on their way to London.
His daughter Emily Shah, who was with him, elaborated how she became a part of the film, in which she plays a rugby physiotherapist.
“When I heard the character of Roshni, I knew it was a story that I had to be a part of,” she says. “Though the film is about the incredibly inspiring journey about the team, the institute and the coaches bring so much light and love to it.”
The Indian American actress who makes her Bollywood debut with “Jungle Cry” says a woman is necessary in a sports-oriented movie.
“My character of Roshni was written for cinematic balance in the film,” she says. “It brings the flair and viewpoint of a ‘woman in the sport.’ I am eager to learn how the audience will connect with my role.”
The film has garnered rave reviews and accolades from around the world. These include jury awards and laurels at film festivals across India, in Wales and Sweden, and in cities such as London, Cannes, Madrid, Mykonos, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. The highlight for the filmmakers, however, was a private screening held for U.K. government officials, based on a request from Her Majesty’s office, and receiving a standing ovation after the screening.
“It was [members of] Her Majesty’s office along with U.K. government dignitaries and House of Lords who attended the event – and receiving a standing ovation upon completion of the screening was very emotional. I felt that our mission to make good content was accomplished.”
Emily Shah shares her excitement on the response to the film thus far. She says, “We launched the teaser at the Cannes Film Festival which is trending at number two. So far, we have received positive feedback and people are inspired by the true story.”
The film will be available on Amazon Prime in the U.S. in July.
Check out the trailer below: