Home Bollywood Actress Emily Shah Discusses her Debut With Abhay Deol in ‘Jungle Cry’

Actress Emily Shah Discusses her Debut With Abhay Deol in ‘Jungle Cry’


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She assisted the stunt director in “Captain America 2,” was a UNICEF Autism Awareness Ambassador, and was the youngest contestant to be crowned Miss New Jersey USA in 2014.

Now, she’s making her Bollywood debut with Abhay Deol in Sagar Ballary’s acclaimed “Jungle Shout” – an inspiring true story from the East Indian state of Odisha (formerly Odisha) ) of 12 underprivileged children who won the England World Cup in the under-14 rugby competition.

We’re talking about Emily Shah, the daughter of Bollywood filmmaker Prashant Shah. With an academic background in film and media, her genuine excitement for her Bollywood debut is heartwarming.

“Bahut Mazaaya!” (I had so much fun!) Shah exclaimed when asked to help with the films of “Jersey Boys,” “Monster Truck” and “Fast & Furious 7.” “Bahut seekha meinay,” (I learned a lot) She further added with a smile.

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Her role in “Jungle Cry” is aptly named Roshni Thakkar, an exercise physiotherapist. “Roshni” means light, and her character symbolically adds “light” to the lives of underprivileged children. Offscreen, Shah is also a humanitarian, and in addition to her role at UNICEF, she also represents the United Nations in India on the World Polio Eradication Initiative. Another “highlight” about the character is that her character wasn’t part of the original story, but was written later to fight typical gender stereotypes.

Rugby is a very male-dominated sport. It’s actually driven by testosterone. The reason we added the Roshni role was to add the empathy, lightheartedness, and charisma that female leadership brings. These little boys always have to fight for what they want and endure the incredible hardships of life. They have not experienced comfort or empathy before. Roshni embodied that in them. She reminds them that they are still children and that not everything has to be a struggle. Roshni is their source of solace – even though they are fighting for such a prestigious title, they can still enjoy the sport.

Was it a challenge to translate to the big screen and overcome communication barriers (Odisha is home to many tribal languages)?

It’s amazing how natural it is! I spent a lot of time with them in Odisha (Odisha) before filming started. We did some improv with them because it was a true story and they weren’t professional actors; they were rugby players. We had to teach them how to act and I was able to connect and connect with them from the start. Yes, there are many tribal languages ​​that originated in Odisha (Odisha), but everyone knows Hindi to some degree. We are able to communicate with each other and there is not much language barrier.

No doubt their reaction must have been invaluable as Jungle Scream was so popular and saw itself win on the big screen!

They were happy, but also surprised! I don’t think they understood the seriousness of the situation because they couldn’t see it with their own eyes. We really wanted to fly them to the US for the premiere, but due to visa and COVID-19 backlogs, that wasn’t feasible. I hope when I go back to India I will have them come to Kolkata so I can organize a private screening for them. It’s going to be really cool when they actually get to know people watching them on big screens around the world!

Shah received research on the role of the physio in rugby and began to realize its importance to team morale.

I actually contacted a sports physiotherapist named Purvi Desai. I was able to follow her during a game in Denver, Colorado. Through her, I learned that physical therapists are almost as involved as coaches. They play a very important role in the team’s performance – both mentally and physically. It’s not just about wrapping a foot or bouncing your shoulders back. It’s also about giving them a morale and confidence boost before, during and after the game.

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How do American-Indian actresses like you go from Hollywood to Bollywood and claim to be new in a male-dominated industry?

I think any industry needs to set boundaries. Actresses must prepare mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s not often talked about, but it’s real. It can be an overwhelming experience, even isolating. However, if you’re strong in what you want and what you believe in — if your principles are strong — then that confidence will get you far in your career. If your boundaries aren’t respected, then those people or that kind of work environment really aren’t worth your time.

Amen, sister! This is to hear more of Shah’s wise advice and see her again on the big screen in the near future. The Jungle Book opens in theaters in May and June 2022. If you missed your chance to see it on the big screen, you can still watch it online at Lionsgate Play.

Featured Image Courtesy of Media Hive

Queenie Sheikh

Constrained by desk during the day, travel the rest of the time – Queenie thrives on her weekly biryani and chili cheese. She recently published her first book, Poor Londoners, about the hilarious expat experiences people face around the world. With degrees in journalism and creative writing, she teaches work and research on gender inequality in tourism at universities around the world. Her travels and everyday failures can be found on Instagram (@thepoorlondoner) and YouTube (The Poor Londoner).

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