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Irrfan, Priyanka, Om Puri join 'The Jungle Book' gang

Irrfan, Priyanka, Om Puri join The Jungle Book gang

New Delhi: Indian stars Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Nana Patekar, Shefali Shah and Om Puri will lend voice to characters of Hollywood film "The Jungle Book" for its Hindi dubbed version.

Disney India has roped in the actors for the film, which stars Indian-American actor Neel Sethi as Mowgli, and will be releasing in India on April 8 -- a week ahead of its release in the US.

Priyanka, who has become popular abroad with American TV show "Quantico" and has landed a role in the "Baywatch" movie, will be infusing life to the soft and hypnotic voice of the python Kaa, voiced by Scarlett Johansson in the English version, read a statement from the studio.

Irrfan, known for his versatile roles in "Piku" as well as on the foreign shores with films like "Life of Pi" and "The Amazing Spider-Man", will lend his voice to the friendly bear Baloo, which is dubbed by Bill Murray in the international version.

Shefali, who is still riding high on the appreciation for the modern portrayal of a mother in "Dil Dhadakne Do", will dub for Mowgli's adoptive mother Raksha, the wolf for whom Lupita Nyong'o has lent her voice in the international version.

And veteran star Om Puri will lend his voice to Bagheera, the black panther, which is originally dubbed by legendary actor Ben Kingsley.

The studio has also approached Nana Patekar to once again lend his voice to Shere Khan, a character he had dubbed for back in the early 1990s in Doordarshan's animated TV series the "Jungle Book: The Adventures of Mowgli".

"'The Jungle Book' is so very special to India, and we want our audience to enjoy Disney's all-new live-action adaptation. We wanted nothing but the best for the Hindi version of the film," said Amrita Pandey, vice-president - Studios, Disney India.

"We are so excited to have such veterans and A-list actors come together to voice and bring alive these beloved characters making it like a hi-scale Hindi film," she added.

Helmed by "Iron Man" fame director Jon Favreau, the film brings a story straight from the enchanting forest of India and presents a modern take on Rudyard Kipling's timeless classic, originally published in 1894.

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