Growing up in early ’90s, the most well-received and the most cherished memories would definitely be the sacrament of huddling infront of a Television set on a Sunday morning and enjoying the tricks and trades the life of the jungle brought to a human child, Mowgli. Relishing a warm cup of milk and biscuits while watching DD’s most-favored program ‘The Jungle Book‘ we grew up yet were unaware to the most-known facts of this epic.
These known-unknown facts did loom over us but never would have caught our attention had it not been for The Jungle Book Jive, the timeless classic that will be performed on stage with international performers. While we jive our way through, let’s reflect on what’s made The Jungle Book, the most sought-after classic.
The story of a man-cub being adopted and nurtured by wolves and beasts, then having a threat of a tiger eating him so letting him go to a human village, had an instant connect with the viewers. Also the title track “Chaddhi pehen ke phool khila hai”, although a wee-bit cheesy by today’s standards, yet was a mass hit of early ’90s. Albeit beastly, yet the characters – Bagheera, Maa, Akdu, Makdu, Baloo – too played a pivotal role in touching the humane chord.
The story ever since its conception had attracted a massive celeb following. Starting from Walt Disney to all the actors of the film ‘The Jungle Book‘ (1967) – Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Bruce Reitherman, George Sanders, Sterling Holloway, Louis Prima, J. Pat O’Malley, Verna Felton, Clint Howard, Darleen Carr – were awed by the story. The Beatles were also approached for dubbing the voice of The Vultures.
In India, when the series was being dubbed in Hindi, celebrated lyricist, Gulzar, wrote the lyrics for the title song, Vishal Bharadwaj composed the music while veteran actor, Nana Patekar, roared in Sher Khan’s voice.
Human Interest Angle:
Every story goes on to be a classic if it has a human feel to it. Similar was the case with this Rudyard Kipling classic which was written for his six year-old daughter. The stories were seamed in to entertain the author’s ailing daughter who soon immersed herself into immortality. It happened to be last film for Walt Disney and two of the actors of the film – Darleen Carr and Verna Felton. Although Darleen worked on various, she made none with Disney Studios after the death of Walt Disney and her co-actor Verna Felton.
The story gained the stature of a global classic not only because it was heartwarming but also because of its moral tone. Every story of Rudyard Kipling began with a verse and ended with one. Owing to this righteous tone it was also helmed as the motivational book by Cub Scouts.
These being few of the reasons why ‘The Jungle Book’ is a classic yet it is endearing more so because of the time it was brought to India. It was the time of the Television revolution in India. The series which was originally dubbed from a Japanese animation series, broadcasted in 1989, was a bud which bloomed when Television was still spreading its roots on the Indian soils.
Bringing back the fragments of this very desi Indian-firangi tale, one can only soak in bachpan ki yaadein singing “Jungle-Jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai”.