Eternals' Choreographer On Feeling 'Proud' Of Bringing Bollywood To The MCU

Among the many strides in big screen representation Marvel’s Eternals achieved within its runtime was the movie featuring Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo, the Eternal hailing from India who spends his time as a Bollywood leading man before the rest of his superhero crew crash his set. It’s rare to see such a lavish display of South Asian culture on a stage as large as a Marvel Studios movie, including the movie’s Bollywood dance sequence led by Nanjiani’s character

CinemaBlend’s own Law Sharma spoke to Eternals choreographer Nileeka Bose about her experience bringing Bollywood dance to Marvel. Bose shared what the opportunity meant to her with these words: 

I definitely felt proud. I felt like I had a huge responsibility and a duty to to represent the scene to the best of my ability. But I also had a responsibility to make people feel like they could see themselves on screen. And I think there were always people that were going to say, ‘I didn't feel it was quite hit’. But you've got to understand this is a very specific representation that Chloé envisaged. And for me, it just hit every mark that I had as a creative. And it definitely hit every mark that we discussed when we were bringing the scene together.

When it comes to taking steps toward more diversity on screen, many talents from all aspects of movie production talk about the pressure that comes with representing a segment of the population that doesn’t typically get a microphone in Hollywood. Nileeka Bose spoke about feeling a massive “responsibility,” but in the end, she feels very proud of the work she and cast and crew put into the scene. Check out a bit of the Eternals moment in this official clip

The moment required a lot of choreography and planning, especially with the idea in mind it would represent an element of South Asian culture. Nileeka Bose shared more in depth about her and Chloé Zhao’s dive into the world of Bollywood: 

It was very stylized. You'll notice there's a lot of romance in it with the leading lady. There’s a little bit of a nod to the comedy of the character of Kingo playing his friend Ikaris in this movie. This is a film within a film, so, I think when people understand, ‘Oh, actually, they're filming a film and that's what they're doing’, it becomes all the more funny.

Eternals was adored by many fans overall, with a major aspect of the movie being how inclusive it is of many cultures and such. Bose also discussed how the scene was received by people within her circle: 

I've had so many like great compliments and people understand what what it is, but then others didn't quite get it, but I honestly feel like this film is there to open doors – not just for me or for my culture, but for so many people that would never see themselves in a Marvel film like from the cast to the actual topics that they covered. Like who would have thought that Marvel would come this way or come this far?

Marvel is taking into its hands an important element that Hollywood has been lacking for some time. The studio has gotten to a place where every film it makes is going to be successful to some degree and be presented on a massive scale. With that in mind, Marvel is placing a greater importance on representation when introducing new characters. As Nileeka Bose said, Eternals was not only a movie, but an opportunity for more communities to be seen. 

Kumail Nanjiani previously shared that he packed on all his muscle for Eternals so he could represent a different type of role than what is typically offered for South Asian people. He opened up about previously being cast as characters who are “fixing your computer” or “planning something at the stock market.” With Kingo, he’s a straight-up buff superhero who is unlike any other often stereotyped South Asian roles we’ve seen. 

Eternals is available to own on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital today, along with being a streaming option with a Disney+ subscription. Check out what upcoming Marvel movies are headed our way next following Eternals.  

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.