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The Jungle Book (2016)

The Jungle Book review

written by Souranath Banerjee

For some, this film will remain as a happy childhood memory and for others, it’s simply a nostalgia! 

My Ratings: 4.1/5.

The incredible story based on the jungles of India comes first hand for the Indian audience as The Jungle Book gets its release in India one week before any other country of the world!

jungle-book-poster4The heroic survival tale of an abandoned “man cub”  Mowgli, a wild kid in an underwear who can easily converse with all the wild animals in the forest!

And why not, since he has been parented by the wolves, Akela (the alpha male wolf-pack leader) and Raksha (the sensitive mother wolf), and then, Mowgli’s best buddies are none other than Bagheera (the protective black panther) and Baloo (the lazy mischievous bear)!

Mowgli’s life is mostly all fun and adventures unless he ends up face to face with Kaa (the hypnotic python) or King Louie (the power hungry orangutan, the King of the apes), but then, there is someone who doesn’t want a man-child in the jungle, the notorious Shere Khan (the one-eyed evil tiger) who desire to eat Mowgli alive!

All our favorite characters leaping straight out from the pages of Rudyard Kipling‘s collective fables (novel), and this time they are not jungle-book-poster7mere cartoons (as our childhood memories made us believe), but they are all dramatically alive and unbelievably realistic in this brilliant CGI drama.

A confession though (most probably a collective confession of all  those who were lucky enough to enjoy their childhood in the 90s); my instant recognition of the ever-popular character Mowgli and his friends neither comes from Kipling’s famous novel nor from the original Disney animated classic masterpiece The Jungle Book (1967).

It’s actually connected with the Japanese Anime television series called ‘Janguru Bukku shonen Môguri’ which was later dubbed in Hindi as ‘The Jungle Book’ and was aired on the one and only Indian channel of the time Doordarshan way back in 1993.

Ah! those lazy Sunday mornings and the unforgettable title song composed by none other than Vishal Bhardwaj and written by Gulzar!

And the impact of that TV series is the sole reason for me to watch the latest Disney Jungle Book film in Hindi!  – probably the first time ever I have intentionally seen a Hindi dubbed version of an English film and it’s totally worth it.

Fortunately this time, it’s not just a stiff translation but the jungle-book-poster6Hindi dialogues has been specially written by Mayur Puri and the Hindi voice-over artists are also the top in their business, Nana Patekar as Shere Khan, Priyanka Chopra as Kaa, Irrfan Khan as Baloo, Om Puri as Bagheera and Shefali Shetty as Raksha.

But keeping aside the nostalgic memories, the film directed by Jon Favreau is in itself a triumph!  

Visually stunning cinematography by Bill Pope and perfectly complimented by John Debney‘s music.

The young debutant actor Neel Sethi has done a great job playing the central character but the most astonishing feat is undoubtedly the computer graphics used to create the hyperrealistic animals and the jungle-book-poster8locations, the exceptional quality achieved by the combined effort of the studios Weta Digital, MPC and Digital Domain.

The film although it narrates the same old story but overall it’s a much darker version of the original tale; some intense violent moments and chilling chase sequences that makes the film frightfully dramatic (specially from a kid’s perspective).

Make no mistake this film in India is Certified as ‘U/A’ and for the right reasons too.

But then, the success of yet another version of The Jungle Book only confirms our love for Mowgli, a character so unique and universally acknowledged as Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s Tarzan, and also that the adorable wolf-raised-kid will always have a special place in the hearts of the Indian audience!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

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