The Law of the Jungle

The Jungle Book! The classic jungle story by Rudyard Kipling. This has amused generations together. I was able to catch up this movie recently. And I liked it, it is gripping and 3D makes it much more immersing. This is despite the fact that the story is more or less known to us. I watched the English version. I am sure the Hindi version is equally good or even better because of those famed voice playbacks of Nana Patekar and others. Apart from Mowgli’s character, which is played by Neel Sethi, rest is all animation and other associated technologies based filming.

I still remember animation version of late 1990s on television, watching it every Sunday morning 10 am. It had Gulzar’s very popular title song for Mowgli. I also later learnt that the music was by Vishal Bhardwaj. Nana Patekar, of course, was Shere Khan’s voice. That serial ran for quite some time. The film is obviously compact, than that series. The animation quality was also very good, I still remember the animation of the title song itself, particularly.

Rudyard Kipling is one of many Anglo-Indians who explored India in different ways and have penned their experiences. Ruskin Bond is another one. I have written about his couple of books here and here on the blog. After watching the movie I took out those couple of books which I have on The Jungle Book, to check certain references and sketches.

Mowgli was a wolf-boy, he calls him as man-cub. The other day, I read about the existence of wolf-man in India, especially the same jungle in Madhya Pradesh where Kipling probably experienced this. The Seonee wolf pack, referred in books and movie, is probably a place called Seoni near Pench National Park. The article in Indian Express, had also featured a sketch where Mowgli also drinking wolf’s milk from the teats along with other wolf cubs. The article was trying to find answer if Mowgli was real, if he was real wolf-man. You should read the article over here which had interesting account of history of wolf-man with references to certain works where it has been described. Anyways, as the preface of the first book The Jungle Book, Kipling says, that he has borrowed these stories from various sources narrated to him orally by people across the various forest regions.

The water truce scene in the first half was interesting. Something that might apply in today’s situation of severe water scarcity which some states in India, this summer are facing. This is about water discipline. The scene where monkeys take Mowgli to deserted temple and aftermath is also very captivating. Though the monkey chief, King Louie is not in the books, though there is story around bander-log(monkey people). King Louie is orangutan which was never part of Indian forests. I also could not find references about scene wherein Mowgli escapes Shere Khan’s chase, on the back of a bison, and that landslides take place.

The climax of the movie which had fight between Mowgli and his wolf pack, and Shere Khan, also depicted the wild fire. It reminded India’s norther region is recently experiencing one of the biggest wild fires this year, though wild fires are normal in northern region, how man’s invention, Red Flower(the fire itself as referred in the movie), can be disastrous. Here is where I want to refer to law of the jungle as mentioned in the movie. Though many times wild fires are natural, most of the times, they are due to some trigger somewhere by man, which causes huge devastation.

The other thing which reminds anyone once they hear The Jungle Book, is the that famous song. Let me put down few famous lines of the title song from Hindi version of Jungle Book, which I was able to get of on the Internet, for those who want to run down the memory lane:

जंगल जंगल बात चली है, पता चला है

अरे चड्डी पहन के फुल खिला है…फुल खिला है, अरे चड्डी पहन के फुल खिला है…फुल खिला है

जंगल जंगल पता चला है, अरे चड्डी पहन के फुल खिला है

जंगल जंगल पता चला है, अरे चड्डी पहन के फुल खिला है

BTW, I watched Jungle Book at the new theater recently opened in Pimple Saudagar, which was long pending. This one is Royal City Pride Cinemas. They have 4 screens, is nice and compact auditorium. The tickets are on rather expensive side though. Anyways, while looking out for The Jungle Book in my bookshelf, I also got my hands on Kipling’s another book, Just So Stories, lying in there, which is still unread by me. I plan to read it one of the days to relive that legacy.


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