Disney’s latest offering “The Jungle Book” is a rage in cinemas worldwide. Opening to critical acclaim, the movie is a unique CGI live action adaption of its first jungle book animation musical hit of 1967.
The story of the little Indian orphan Mowgli raised by wolves in the jungle is a heart rending and gut wrenching tale of amazement and sheer awe as scenes of the jungle are brought to life in the antics of Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo the mischievous conniving Bear. Mowgli’s survival against the jungle and the notorious tiger Shere khan grips audiences throughout the movie and is backed by a star cast featuring actors like Ben Kingsley, bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as the wily female python Kaa!
Although thrilling audiences worldwide, one needs to understand the true source of such enjoyable scenes being none other than the classic jungle book stories written by controversial writer Rudyard Kipling. Here is the big story of what you never knew about the jungle book.
1. Insomnia Gave Killing Many Ideas about the Jungle Book
Rudyard Kipling was brought up in Bombay now Mumbai. Born to British parentage in 1865, his fascination for the jungle and the strange mythical land of India nurtured the writer within him. After 10 years of formal education in England he returned to India to work as an editor for a local daily in British India.
His insomniac nature led him to long walks in the wild where he slowly worked out the fables based on the jungle as a form of moral stories for children told through the eyes of animal characters. This formed the foundation for the famous “jungle book”.
Kipling did not actually write the manuscripts in India but in Vermont while living abroad.
2. Do you know the story of Rikki Tikki Tavi?
The Jungle Book stories were published not as a book but as a series of fables in magazines between 1893-1894. For those living abroad, Kipling’s popular jungle tales introduced to its audience the grand wild tapestry of the jungles and culture of India.
The very first Jungle Book stories were published as a book in 1894. It also included one of Kipling’s famous tales of a little mongoose named Rikki Tikki Tavi! People hardly know of this famous tale of the little heroic mongoose that protects his little owner form a deadly cobra named nag! The sequel to the jungle book was published in 1895. It was titled “the second jungle book”. This edition contained the further adventures of Mowgli.
3. The Jungle Book Made Kipling Super Rich
The jungle book stories made Kipling one of the wealthiest authors in the world. In 1907 Kipling was awarded the ultimate literary award. ‘The noble prize for literature’
Kipling’s first Mowgli character wasn’t the wolf man cub as you may have seen in the movie ‘the Jungle book’ Instead he was a character from his 1893 collection of stories, a young army recruit with an extensive knowledge of the jungle and its creatures.
It was this story that led Kipling to recreate Mowgli as the abandoned orphan raised by wolves. His name as he was told by his adopted wolf family meant “FROG’ or the hairless one. The name “Mowgli’ was coined by Kipling himself!
4. Sher Khan Was Not Killed By Fire in the Original Story
In the original jungle book stories, Baloo the goofy bear is a serious figure who teaches Mowgli survival and the laws of the wild jungle. Director Favreau recreates Baloo as the flexible teacher who teaches kids about a world without limitations
Although Sher Khan’s death is portrayed by fire in the screen adaptation, in the original story titled ‘Tiger Tiger’ he is killed by stampeding buffaloes.
5. Bagheera Has Always Been the Wise Mentor
In the original stories, Mowgli’s wolf mother is also named “Raksha” meaning guardian or care giver. She is Mowglis adopted mother who is defiant of Sher Khan. In the movie she is voiced by female Oscar winner Lupita Nyongos.
Bagheera has always been Mowglis mentor and guardian. Kipling derived the name from the Hindi word “Bagh” meaning Tiger. In the film the character of Bagheera is voiced by Oscar winning actor Ben Kingsley.
6. Guess the Voice behind Sher Khan in Warner Bro’s Upcoming Movie ‘The Jungle Book’
Although a dozen or so screen adaptations have been made of The Jungle Book, the earliest was the 1942 version directed by Zoltan Korda and starring the Indian actor Sabu Dastagir who was the son of an Indian mahout. However it is the Disney adaptations which have achieved phenomenal success worldwide both in terms of technical and creative genius.
But believe this!! A new version of the film is being shot by Warner brothers and the voice of Sher khan is going to be none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. Kaa will be voiced by Cate Blanchet, Bagheera by Christian bale and Baloo by Andy Serkis of Gollum fame in ‘lord of the rings’. Well we will just have to wait for that wont we??