The Jungle Book movie celebrates India

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie

New Jungle Book film honours Rudyard Kipling, India and the jungles of Madhya Pradesh

SUN SLANTING THROUGH the thick canopy, the sounds of wildlife filling the air, a sultry sense of heat. The beauty and lushness of India’s jungles are on centre stage in the new live-action Jungle Book movie. The jungle is like a character in the film, beloved and revered.

Reverence for the natural world is in abundance in the new film. Subtle messages about respecting nature and living within the laws, and the natural flow, of life are weaved into the story — which is still very entertaining and action-packed.

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie

I cried about five times and jumped out of my skin six. I was enchanted by the beauty of the Indian jungle and mesmerized by the naturalness of Neel Sethi’s acting, as Mowgli. And most of all, I was both thoroughly entertained and profoundly moved. The Walt Disney Studios film stays true to the original book and to its Indian roots.

There is no question the movie is set in India. Having spent more than two years there, I got chills from the shock of recognition.

Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865 and grew up in India. Though he travelled widely in his capacity as a journalist for the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, he actually never visited the jungle-dense centre of India, the inspiration for The Jungle Book. Instead, he relied on accounts by fellow Britishers. The Jungle Book was published in 1894 and was an instant hit among both children and adults, sparking interest in India among readers.


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The Indian jungle that inspired the book is in Madhya Pradesh, which today is a top travel destination for wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, culture and heritage and tiger tourism. I hope this film, and renewed interest in visiting the jungles of India, will help ensure they are protected in the face of increasing population pressure and environmental degradation. For stunning photos of Madhya Pradesh from three of India’s top travel photographers, please scroll down.


Exploring beautiful Madhya Pradesh with Exodus Travels

I’ve have not yet been to Madhya Pradesh (MP), but I will be going with Exodus Travels this winter. I’ve chosen to take the 15-day Land of the Tiger tour. Among other stops, this tour hits the big three national parks in M.P., and the best places to see tigers in the wild in India: Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh. These are the parks that inspired Kipling to write The Jungle Book, so I couldn’t be more excited. Not surprisingly, this trip is one of Exodus’ travel trends for 2016, and no doubt will become even more popular in the wake of The Jungle Book’s release. Another reason that I’m keen to take the Exodus tour is their partnership with Friends of Conservation on a tiger preservation project at Bandhavgarh National Park.

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie, tiger

Photo courtesy Exodus Travels


A special Indian edition

Walt Disney Studios honoured the film’s Indian roots by creating a Hindi version of the film with an all-star cast of Indian actors including Irfan Khan as Baloo, Om Puri as Bagheera, Priyanka Chopra as Kaa, Nana Patekar as Shere Khan, Bugs Bhargav as King Louie and Shefali Shah as Raksha. Also, the film was released in India a week ahead of the international, English version with stars Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken and Scarlett Johansson. Mowgli is played by newcomer Neel Sethi, a 12-year old from New York of Indian descent.

In Toronto: Audiences can see the Hindi version of The Jungle Book at the Cineplex Odeon Strawberry Hill Cinemas in Surrey and the SilverCity Brampton Cinemas in Brampton. The Tamil version can be seen at Cineplex Cinemas Scarborough.

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie

Beautiful Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is a state in the centre of India, and the place that inspired the setting for The Jungle Book. It is known for lush jungles, abundant wildlife and ancient temples. I asked some photographer friends in India to share their favourite photos of the national parks of Madhya Pradesh. If these photos don’t make you want to go to Madhya Pradesh, I don’t know what will!

Kanha National Park: The first two photos are of Kanha National Park, one of the parks that provided the inspiration for the The Jungle Book. They were taken by the very talented writer and photographer Neelima Vallangi. You can see more of her work on The Wandering Soul’s Wander Tales.

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie, tiger

Ethereal beauty of a setting sun in the buffer zone of the Kanha National Park. Photo by Neelima Vallangi.

 

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie, tiger

One of the most attractive things about the unique landscape of Kanha is the unobstructed views into the heart of the jungle. Photo by Neelima Vallangi.

Bandhavgarh and Panna National Parks: The following three photos below were taken by travel writer and photographer Ajay Jain of Kunzum fame. Bandhavgarh is a very well-known park, and a great place to see tigers in the wild. Panna is the other park that provided inspiration for The Jungle Book.

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie, tiger

Sheshshaiya, a sculpture depicting Lord Vishnu reclining on the seven-hooded serpent king Sheshnaag at the base of the Bandhavgarh Fort. Photo by Ajay Jain, Kunzum.

 

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie, tiger

Most people go to Panna for its national park, but the region is dotted with temples and old buildings; this is a temple inside the Ajaygarh Fort, requiring a half hour hike uphill to reach. Photo by Ajay Jain, Kunzum.

 

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie, tiger

Hues of the Ken river in Panna National Park. Photo by Ajay Jain, Kunzum.

Bandhavgarh National Park: The following photo was taken at Bandhavgarh National Park by photographer Ajay Sood of Travelure.

The Jungle Book, India, Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, national park, wildlife, sanctuary, Disney, film, movie, tiger

She cautiously looked back to check if we posed a threat! Kankati, the Jungle Queen, in Bandhavgarh. Photo by Ajay Sood, Travelure.

NOTE: This post was brought to you by Exodus Travels. They have some of the most exciting tours to India and Asia that I’ve come across. I’m thrilled I’ll be going on tiger safari with them.

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18 Responses to The Jungle Book movie celebrates India

  1. My Alwar April 15, 2016 at 2:47 am #

    Great post Mariellen Ward! I Like the fusion of your story telling with various National Park’s of India and the Jungle Book movie.
    My Alwar recently posted..Speak-WellMy Profile

  2. Marian Baghor April 15, 2016 at 7:37 am #

    Again an inspiring newsletter from far away India. It seems it grows on you more and more. What a beautiful world and thank you for the trailer of Jungle book, Mariellen! Much love to you.

  3. Jolene April 15, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    I love your post with the combo of the new movie and how it celebrates India. We have yet to watch the movie but must say I’m more intrigued to take my kids to go and see it now!!
    Jolene recently posted..Blissful Relaxation on Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) in Cambodia!My Profile

    • Mariellen Ward April 16, 2016 at 12:05 am #

      Oh Jolene, don’t miss it, it’s really wonderful. It has both entertaining action and a deep and important message. I was sitting beside some kids about 10 – 12 years old, and they were so engaged, they loved it.
      Mariellen Ward recently posted..Discovering the Other Side of Goa, Part 2My Profile

  4. Roxanne Bamboat April 18, 2016 at 9:42 am #

    I absolutely love going on Safaris and specially the ones we have in India are stunning. I’ve been to Pench and Kanha which were really Mowgli’s stomping grounds but hoping to see more soon. Lovely pictures too 🙂

  5. Apeksha Harihar April 19, 2016 at 4:17 am #

    Loved the movie and thanks fir sharing all the details about the background. Super interesting.

  6. Marina Marangos April 24, 2016 at 4:36 am #

    Hi Mariellen, Enjoyed this post as you will enjoy going on Safari in Madhya Pradesh. It was our favourite destination and we went to all of them – we found the forests magical, the tigers superb and the bird life plentiful. x Marina

  7. Ian Boreham April 26, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    Great post. Really looking forward to seeing some of the sites. Hope to take my kids to India when they are a bit older. Still hold it as probably the best place I have been too – despite not seeing a Tiger on our tour of the jungle 🙂
    Ian Boreham recently posted..Coaching Employees – The Lost Art – Part 1My Profile

  8. anahata ananda April 28, 2016 at 8:13 am #

    A lovely post radiating with positive energy!

  9. MumbaiAbout May 22, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    Great description of jungle book and beautiful Madhya Pradesh.

  10. The Wandering Mum June 15, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    So stunningly beautiful. I cant wait to visit India this just makes me long for the day even more! Your photographs and blog are gorgeous.
    Amy

  11. Anuradha Rao July 19, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    Hi Mariellen,

    I loved the Jungle book movie! It brought back nostalgic memories of me and brother watching the Jungle book cartoon every weekend during our school days.
    Stunning pictures from Exodus travels. I have GOT TO explore that part of MP.
    Feels so nice to see your passion & love towards India!
    Anuradha Rao recently posted..A Weekend At Vivanta By Taj Bekal KeralaMy Profile

  12. Miranda Risser July 22, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I absolutely loved the new Jungle Book movie, definitely gave me some wanderlust to go to India! I especially love the photos of Bandhavgarh and Panna National Parks. Stunning!

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