The Jungle Book (2016): A Quick Review

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THE JUNGLE BOOKIndian population can be divided in to 2 groups: Those who have watched Jungle Book on Doordarshan and those who haven’t- Only because they weren’t born then! This animated story originally written by Rudyard Kipling was synonymous with the 10 AM Sunday slot and most of us woke up ‘early’ with the song- Chaddi Pehen Ke- as the alarm clock.

While the song composed by Gulzar saab and Vishal Bharadwaj is retained as the promo song, the animated characters are beautifully brought to life by Jon Favreau. The simple story of a human-kid  Mowgli ( Neel Sethi) brought up by wolves (Akela and Raksha) and supported by his friends – Baloo (Bear) and Bagheera (Panther)- battling odds to defeat their arch nemesis- Shere Khan (Tiger) is a treat for the eyes and ears. Kaa (Snake) and King Louie (Orangutan) add to the fluctuation of the emotional graph with some tense moments and action to give this family movie a UA rating by the Censor board.

The movie exemplifies the importance of good voice and sound track in movies with stalwarts from the Hollywood and Bollywood industry dubbing for the main characters. Having seen both the versions (English and Hindi), following is a comparative analysis:

Kaa: Scarlett Johansson is good but I though Priyanka Chopra was more seductive.
Bagheera: Ben Kingsley excels while Om Puri impresses in spurts.
Baloo: Bill Murray and Irffan Khan are equally hilarious though Irffan tries to give it a Punjabi accent and doesn’t quite perfect it
Shere Khan: Nana Patekar makes quite a killing with this character and I thought he was better at it than his counterpart Idris Alba
King Louie: Bugs Bhargava does a good job with a Goan accent, but Chris Walker takes the cake with his modulation

I missed the voices of AB, Goga Kapoor and Amrish Puri. Though the movie is making equal revenues in Hindi and English- a first for any Hollywood movie in India- I thought the English version was a shade better. My emotions would always be rooted in the hindi version due to nostalgia but the dialogues when translated didn’t have the punch and words like ‘Shanti Sheela’ for ‘ Peace Rock’ sounded a bit out of place. However ‘Bare necessities’  was well sung in Hindi as ‘Yeh Zarooratein’.

Relive your childhood and watch JB in any language .. but do watch it!

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