Of late, my 2.3 year old has picked up something quite well – the jungle book song. Though, her pronunciation is not perfect, but the enthusiasm in learning it, IS. All she sings is ‘jungle jungle bataye korchey’ (little bong too). Yes folks, it might sound hilarious, but I can’t rejoice at the feeling that a ‘this generation’ toddler has picked up something from ‘that generation’ and enjoying it fully. Thanks to Walt Disney for re-creating the magic that Rudyard Kipling left us. Probably, because some things are beyond time and beyond any age bar.
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For us, Jungle Book was like a daily routine till it ran on the TV. The animated characters felt so real. And, this is the very fact, why we enjoyed more. I remember, whenever I watched an episode, Baloo reminded me a fat shopkeeper in our locality, who said extremely funny things and made us laugh. Though, we did not have T-shirts or merchandise for movies in our times, still we loved to pretend as the characters and imitate them. It is also about knowing and respecting Nature and how we need to conserve the jungle and its natural habitat. Jungle Book is also about valuable life lessons like respect, courage, childhood, camaraderie, our relationship with the Nature and many more. More than anything else, it was sheer fun.
Years later, fondest memories came back with this forthcoming flick and I am more than excited for it to hit the theatres, frankly for two reasons. One, I am eager to a real life depiction of the animation, we all loved as kids. And why not, with some of the best voices from the industry like Irfan Khan, Nana Patekar, veterans like Gulzar behind the background scores and talent child artists and others behind it, this is going to be awesome. The Hollywood one also has some of the best voices from the industry like Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and others. Second, this is going to be my toddlers first movie in the theatres. Till date, I was searching for the perfect one to take her along, there have been many, but this one is just apt. I know she will love and enjoy every bit of this as she loves watching the promos already.
You know what I also wanted to share something about the characters of the movie and how they are related to our lives. Though, it is a fictional rendition, I feel every character of the book is somewhere present in our lives too. For example:
Mowgli: Every family has this happy-go-lucky guy, who is different from others, who likes to think and do things differently. Someone who enjoys the wild as much as the wild enjoys to have him/her. I guess, currently the Mowgli in life is my hyperactive daughter, who just wants to have fun.
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Baloo: This guy is sheer fun to be with. He is cuddly, funny, foolish, clumsy, musical, easy going yet protective and watching out for you. Ummm, let me think, I guess this is my hubby (no offense to him). Who is yours?
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Bagheera: Oh, the serious types, but dignified, watchful and intellectual one. This no nonsense guy is very important in our lives. He/She is the experienced one and will always protect you. He/She looks tough, but will a golden heart inside. Well, I too have someone like this in my life, but I choose to keep it to myself. I am sure you also have someone watchful in your life too.
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Sher Khan and Tabaqui: The bad guy and his sycophants. I mean, we probably do not have this kind of a real person in our lives, but for me challenges and circumstances in life are no less than Sher Khan. And, you will find too many Tabaquis in your life and who know them very well. They can be both inside and outside the family, a friend in disguise, a wrong opportunity and many more. So, beware of them and do not fall prey to them.
Akela and gang: This is probably, my family- always there by my side. The ones who have raised me, nurtured me, taught me to face life and protected me will always have a special place in my jungle book. Guess, I am the part of this gang for the Mowgli of my life, being that protective mother for my daughter.
Kaa: The persuasive, tricky, sneaky, hypnotic, seductive predator, who is an opportunist, yet he/she might not harm you directly. You might have certain friends or relatives, who are like Kaa. You probably might not have to be aware of them, but definitely need to be aware of them.
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Well, every character in the book and the movie is there for a reason like all of us are here for one. And, one of the greatest learning from the book is how to live life full size, even in the most challenging situations, when you have a family and a few good friends around. Aren’t we all doing that in our lives? We all live in a concrete jungle, where people like Sher Khan will make things difficult for you, sly ones like Tabaqui will plot against you, great friends like Baloo and Bagheera will always support, guide and protect you, opportunist like Kaa will be around you, but probably will not harm you. And yes, if you are Mowgli enough, you will enjoy running around in the wilderness with a free spirit and open mind.
As, I finish this piece, my daughter is up and singing her favourite track and I am joining too- ‘jungle jungle pata chala hai, chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai’. (Wish I could upload an audio of two generations, enjoying the soundtrack with the same zeal and enthusiasm).