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THE JUNGLE BOOK (Hindi) - With a much enjoyable first half and loads of stunning visuals, it's a must watch with the kids despite the dark tone. (Review By Bobby Sing)
12 Apr, 2016 | Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases

The Jungle Book

THE JUNGLE BOOK is one of those rare cinematic creations that doesn’t really need a review and one would excitedly like to go for it, without even caring about the critics or the general public response. The cult story has its own fan following in the world since its origin in 1894 penned by Rudyard Kipling that was later adapted for a fun filled onscreen portrayal by Disney in 1967. But in India, it actually won millions of young hearts in the early 90s, when we experienced its Hindi dubbed version aired on Doordarshan, every Sunday morning with a children-anthem kind of song, ‘Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai Pata Chala Hai, Arey Chaddi Pehen Ke Phool Khila Hai, Phool Khila Ha’ with lyrics by Gulzar and composition by Vishal Bhardwaj.
Millions of people like myself, have many fond memories associated with those spirited Sunday mornings of our late teens and probably that is the reason why one of the first VCDs or DVDs bought for our kids had to be of JUNGLE BOOK only (in both the English and Hindi versions) sharing our childhood with them. So remembering those exciting times, it was obviously the Hindi version, I was personally more interested in (despite knowing the limitations of dubbing), and the film thankfully didn’t disappoint taking us back in time through its much more enjoyable and happening first half and all brilliantly translated dialogues rendered skillfully.
Delivering exactly what it promised in its impressive promos, the latest version of THE JUNGLE BOOK is frankly much darker in both the tone as well as visualization if compared to the earlier animation film that was more a fun-filled and a celebrating extravaganza. Still the connection is right there and you do feel related to its famous characters and Mowgli as desired. Honouring the story’s deeper relationship with India, Disney has released the film in the country a week ahead of its official release in US (probably for the first time) and they are surely going to get huge benefit of this appreciable initiative taken without any slightest of doubt.
Sharing my personal experience of watching it in the theater, this is Jon Favreau’s new fascinating world of ‘Mowgli in the Jungle’ that remains visually stunning throughout maintaining the magnetic pull and successfully manages to suck you in despite the dark tone. The film simply excels in its impeccable CGI animation and is a masterpiece in its each and every frame with an amazing amount of detailing worked upon carefully. Shot in a studio (heavily depending upon the post production work), it’s so realistic in its look & feel that one starts questioning himself that ‘How the hell they do it making it so believable?’ THE JUNGLE BOOK literally transports you into the jungle and its incredible graphic creation of different kinds of animals simply leaves you speechless. The spectacular cinematography along with a superlative sound design, background score and 3D, together enhance the overall cinematic experience to many folds and for this the entire technical team certainly deserves a huge heartfelt applause from the viewers.
Having said that, Jon’s near-perfect upgraded version isn’t any fun-filled, light hearted film full of dance and songs as one might expect it to be keeping the earlier version in mind. Yet the charm isn’t lost and one does remain thoroughly engrossed without getting any repetitive dull moment in the entire film right till the climax.
The standout sequences
The very first sequence of the film focusing on Mowgli running with the wolves is a sheer winner due to an outstanding execution creating the right mood. Therefore, I honestly felt too bad for the families who couldn’t catch the film from the beginning missing this major sequence. The emotional bonding of Mowgli with his wolf-mother is the next thing that deeply touches your heart in the opening 30 minutes and then the rest is taken care of by both Bagheera and Ballu together, with Ballu proving to be a major charmer for the audience with his Punjabi accent bringing down the house at regular intervals.   
Post intermission the introduction of King Louie (a huge orangutan) and the close escape from his temple palace turns out to be another big winning sequence of the film. And then the finale with Mowgli tricking Sher Khan into the fire serves as a fine finish along with the end-credits offering more amazing graphics presented in the form of a pop-up book.
Performance of its lead star, Mowgli
The 12 years old Neel Sethi emoting as Mowgli was reportedly selected from over one thousand kids in auditions and the choice proves to just perfect, having the right amount of innocence, playfulness and strength required for the epic character.
The boy is simply terrific in his onscreen portrayal of Mowgli. But what actually amazes me more is the fact that the kid mostly had to shoot the various sequences of the film against a green screen with marks all around and no real animal or element to deal with, which certainly isn’t any easy task for a 12 years old without any kind of timely assistance coming from the supporting cast. Unarguably an act that is sure to create many major issues for even the experienced actors having loads of hit films in their repertoire.
The Hindi Dubbing
Its often seen that the Hindi dubbing of an English movie mostly takes away the major merits of the original. But thankfully here is a film that neither gets lost in the translation nor scores less in its expressive dubbing rendered perfectly by an intelligently chosen voice-cast standing behind the microphone.
Apart from the wonder boy Neel Sethi as Mowgli, Om Puri, Shefali Shah and Bugs Bhargava are just fine, but Priyanka Chopra sounds mesmerizing as Ka and Nana Patekar excels as Sher Khan along with Irrfan Khan being simply incredible as the ‘Punjabi’ Ballu. Here it seems that probably the Indian team couldn’t conceive JUNGLE BOOK in Hindi without giving a typical Punjabi touch to a major character of Ballu (following the current trend). But the truth remains, that this one character actually works much more than anyone else in the entire film after Mowgli, raising a serious doubt that whether it would have worked, if Ballu was given any other Indian language accent like Hariyanvi or Bihari? (The conclusion is all yours!)
What I missed
Personally speaking, I missed those major scenes focusing on the elephants led by Colonel Haathi and Kaa’s much elaborate hypnotizing act playing the famous trick. Moreover, I also couldn’t find the fun element I was looking for in the film, bringing back the memories of those golden days (that somehow got lost in its darker tone). Plus it was really disappointing not finding the cult children anthem, “Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai” in the end credits shattering the expectations of watching it on the bigger screen.
About its being scary and the Censor Certificate
Yes, the new Jungle Book is much dark and tense as compared to the 1967 film and there are certain scenes that might scare a 4-7 years old kid in particular, but certainly not the kids above 8-10 years of age, who are already playing many seriously violent games on their PSPs, PS3s, X-Boxes and personal computers. So a PG (Parental Guidance) certification in the west can be accepted as justified, but the UA certificate in INDIA actually raised some valid questions, as here we are not having any other slabs of film certification for the various age groups of youngsters below the age of 18, like PG, PG-13 or more. So taking a clue from this present case, its time we add some more (age specific) slabs into our certification process that give a clear idea to the viewers about a film’s objectionable content.
The few drawbacks
Among all strong positives, THE JUNGLE BOOK does have a noticeable drawback of having a constant dark tone right till the end and its second half being more focused on fear, action, thrill and drama instead of the much famous innocent fun. The climax in particular isn’t able to end the film on any higher note and the musical tracks (in Hindi) are not equipped with any catchy, hummable melody as required.
Moreover, I really couldn’t find the answer for an important question, that when the film was being legally dubbed and presented in Hindi as a major multiplex release, then why they didn’t think of inserting a proper interval in it, not allowing the projectionist to stop it anywhere in the middle looking at his watch declaring an intermission. That was in fact a very careless big ‘miss’ by the Indian team.
Conclusion
In all, the present version of THE JUNGLE BOOK is certainly a universal entertainer breaking the set barriers of age groups or genres appealing to one and all. Its Hindi version released in India is nothing less than a much awaited KHAN movie having a maddening craze among the kids as well as the grown-ups remembering their own childhood.
But please do not waste this great opportunity to witness the magic of technology and story-telling together watching the film on the small HD screen at your home or laptops. THE JUNGLE BOOK strongly deserves to be seen in the theatre (preferably in 3D) and the occasion can also be celebrated like a fun filled indoor picnic with the entire family.
So do go for it at the earliest and have a great time with Kipling’s adorable characters in the jungle, particularly the Punjabi Ballu.
Rating : 4 / 5 (Including an additional 1 specifically for the entire technical magicians and the Hindi dubbing team in India creating an almost perfect version for the Indian viewers.)

Tags : The Jungle Book Review by Bobby Sing, The Jungle Book in Hindi Review by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
12 Apr 2016 / Comment ( 2 )
Arun Kumar

Dear Bobby
Watched this movie with kids at a single screen theatre (at Vishal) after a long time. First occasion for kids for watch a film at a single screen theatre. Good experience. Remembered old days.
 

Bobby Sing

Glad to know that you really enjoyed the movie with the kids Arun Kumar.
Keep Visiting and Writing in,
Cheers!

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