A cinematic thriller! Perhaps one of the best on-screen attempts to portray the raw brutality of the Jungle life.
Not very often do I end up writing about a recently watched movie/t.v. series but latest appearance of Mowgli in a Netflix original definitely deserves the praise. To be honest, I had very low expectations from the movie. I anticipated it as just another “kids” movie. A movie which would be all about the joyful life of a boy who is met by an over-whelming challenge and he over comes it while teaching a strong moral lesson. The end!
Within first 5 minutes of watching this film, I realized that it is much more than that. Contrary to previous attempts, this film has a “dark” take on the life of Mowgli. As quoted in the movie by Kaa (the female python):
Mowgli, man and wolf, both and neither, …..
had been shown as a conflicted man-cub. His emotional, physical and mental struggle to become one with the wolf pack had been portrayed with great degree of realism. Andy Serkis, the director, had done a commendable job to bring out different layers of his struggle and mustering of the strength to overcome them. Hats off to Rohan Chand for such a gripping portrayal of Mowgli! Mowgli terrorized by Shere Khan (man eating tiger)’s attack on his life, expression of disappointment on being purposefully betrayed by Bagheera (the black panther) and Akela (leader of the Wolf Pack), his initial struggles in the human village and later the curiosity and fascination of the ways of the Man- are just a few indescribable and incredible highlights of Rohan’s efforts to bring life to Mowgli’s character.
Stereotypes were constantly challenged in this movie. Mowgli was not unanimously accepted in the jungle. All the animals maintained distance from each other. Man was both respected and feared by animals of the jungle. Jungle animals made it their rule that they would not hunt the Man’s cattle (cow) as the Man considered cow to be religiously sacred (the sign of respect) and did not want Man to enter the jungle to seek revenge (sign of fear). Shere Khan was not evil on purpose but was prey to his own animal-instincts. Only the fittest survived. Man’s dominance over forest was shown with contempt rather than as their birth right.
The movie is filled with a lot of brilliant scenes and dialogues. In a hunting scene, Bagheera tells Mowgli that,
Hunting is scared, little brother. It our right. But we never do it for sport. Shhh.. (after almost killing the prey) Wait. Wait. We look them in the eye and so that the soul doesn’t depart alone.
A lesson which Mowgli follows to the end.
The details in the screen play, plot-consistencies and twists and visual/sound effects along with brilliant acting skills of Rohan Chand made Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle quite a cinematic treat and refreshing outlook of the Jungle way of living. Mowgli’s emotional conflicts, amalgamation of both animal-loyalty and human-logic in his consciousness makes it stand apart from similar previous attempts (including Tarzan). Just go watch it and have fun!