Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo in Eternals

Eternals Choreographer Nileeka Bose Breaks Down the Bollywood Number for Us

The beauty of Marvel’s Eternals is the unique stories that each member of the team brings to the overall film. One of the best characters is Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo. The Eternal turned his immortal existence into one of fame, consistently claiming that he just looked like other members of his family to keep starring in Bollywood films throughout his life.

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And in one moment, we get to see Kingo perform a Bollywood dance that brings Nanjiani’s comedic chops to the forefront while still being an accurate look into the world it is representing. You can see a clip from the Bollywood number here:

Speaking with choreographer Nileeka Bose, we talked a bit about bringing Kingo’s world to life while still honoring the Bollywood dances he was supposed to be representing.

Choreographing for Marvel

Marvel is notorious for not telling their performers anything that may get leaked, and that same policy seems to extend to creatives like Bose and their connection to the universe. I asked Bose what she knew about Eternals going in, and it wasn’t much. “Honestly, I knew very little and that made it so hard. I didn’t even realize the complexity of how many characters and how many storylines were being woven into this film,” Bose said. “And I think similarly, the cast, which I think is usual with a film of this scale did not get one script. It kept changing and they would get version one and a few weeks later they’d get another version and they’d get segments too. So I felt bad complaining that I didn’t know anything because neither did they.”

Another fascinating thing about Marvel is the creative freedom they extend to their teams. You’d think that every single thing would be meticulously planned from the jump, but according to Bose, the creative process was one where she could express her own thoughts about the choreography or the scene and actually be listened to by Chloé Zhao and the team! “Actually I was so lucky to be able to creatively give and they allowed me to bring my team along for the journey with me,” Bose said.

She also went on to talk about how her team came to work with her and they could all share their thoughts on the number. “My assistant choreographer Kush, and my assistant choreographer, Ben, we are a team still. Now we weren’t put together specific people for this film. So we were able to say to Chloe, like we’d love to do an overhead aerial shot with the skirt spinning. I think it would look really nice. And, you know, she extended the filming by a day so that we could actually do that. And that actually made the cut of the actual film as well. So all the ideas that we put in were so well received and it was just such a nice environment to work in.”

And, at the center of the number is Kumail Nanjiani, who Bose says is funny even when he doesn’t have to be. “He absolutely is that comedian, though. He can’t turn it off. He’s so funny. Like even when he’s just like, you know, saying thanks for rehearsal, he just makes it funny.”

Eternals is now available on DVD, digital, and Disney+. It’s a brilliant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Nileeka Bose’s choreographer is a beautiful aspect of Kingo’s character.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.