Netflix released Andy Serkis’ much awaited (to say the least) movie ‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ today and we can’t keep calm. Read on, to know why.
‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ opens with stunning graphics – flowers and leaves opening up with the break of dawn, coupled with Kaa’s seductive voice talking about the time when a man cub was found in the jungle. It is simply breathtaking. The morning calm, however, is broken by the fearful growl of Shere Khan who is killing villagers. A ‘man cub’ survives.
The scene where Bagheera discovers him is wordless, but stunning. The law of the jungle says that one shall not kill for fun – which implies that it can only happen to take care of hunger. Another law says that they will not kill villagers – if they do, they will all come to the jungle to harm them.
When Nisha and Vihaan (the wolf couple) discover the man cub who is left at the mouth of their cave by Bagheera, they decide to keep him, with Shere khan thirsty for his blood. They take the man cub to the council, since they need the pack leader Akela’s nod before he can join their pack. Bagheera speaks for the man cub with a dead animal and buys his life. He makes Baloo do the same. Shere Khan protests saying that he does not belong in the jungle, but since the cub is spoken for, Akela announces that till the time he is alive, the pack will be by the man cub’s side. The integrity shown by the pack leader Akela in the scene is admirable.
Later, however, Mowgli is made to leave the jungle and live in the village because of the threat to his life because of Shere Khan. The movie has voices by Christian Bale (Bagheera), Andy Serkis (Baloo), Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan) & Cate Blanchett (Kaa), with Rohan Chand playing Mowgli, Matthew Rhys as Lockwood & Freida Pinto as Messua.
This version is definitely closest to Rudyard Kipling’s creation. Originally titled ‘Jungle Book: Origins’, the movie is darker than its previous versions. Creators haven’t tried to ‘sweeten’ it to appeal to kids. It is a movie meant for 13 year olds and above. There’s a scene where Mowgli is unconscious and Shere Khan gets close to him. With his shiny claw, he make a long gash in his arm, with blood dripping. It made us squirm.
Andy Serkis, who has mastered performance capture technology, has utilized his expertise for Mowgli. The South African jungle where the movie has been shot, aptly portrays the Indian jungle written about in the book.
Christian Bale, David Cumberbatch and Cate Blanchett have lent their unforgettable voices to various popular animated characters in various movies such as Pocahontas in 1995 (Thomas), The Grinch this year (Grinch) and How to Train Your Dragon 2 in 2014 (Valka). Hindi dub of Andy Serkis’ Mowgli has voices by stellar Bollywood actors such as Kareena Kapoor Khan (Kaa), Madhuri Dixit Nene (Nisha), Abhishek Bachchan (Bagheera), Anil Kapoor (Baloo) and Jackie Shroff (Shere Khan).
What’s WOW: There’s a scene in which Mowgli is swimming underwater and when he looks up, he sees Shere Khan who has come up to drink water right after a kill. He laps up some water, turning it red with his tongue. He keeps drinking, unaware that each second for Mowgli, underwater, is passing like hours. Shere khan stops, his keen sense telling him that there is something down under. Mowgli keeps flapping his arm, tucking his foot under an underwater growth to prevent him from coming up. After a while shere khan walks away, and Mowgli swims out of the water and runs for dear life.
The adorable Indian wolf cub ‘Bhoot’ (named so because of his deathly white color), whose voice is that of Andy serkis’ son, Louis Ashbourne Serkis, is an albino you will truly fall in Love with – his voice, the things he says and his undying spirit. He is truly an inspiration. Towards the latter half, when Mowgli is defeated in the critical race because of which he can’t be a part of the pack, he says some mean things to Bhoot, and his reaction is sure to break your heart.
Towards the end, there is a fight between man and animal. Every second of it is unpredictable. We loved it.
What’s Blah: I can’t think of something, honestly!
Parting Shot: You say you haven’t watched it already? You’ve got to be kidding us!
Cast and Crew:
Cast: Christian Bale (Bagheera), Andy Serkis (Baloo), Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan), Cate Blanchett (Kaa), Rohan Chand (Mowgli), Matthew Rhys (Lockwood), Freida Pinto (Messua)
Director: Andy Serkis
Producer: Steve Kloves, Jonathan Cavendish, David Barron
Based on: All the Mowgli Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Music By: Nitin Sawhney
Mowgli is streaming now on Netflix