Mowgli through the ages

The various 'Jungle Book' adaptations across media

Ever since the original stories were published in 1894-95, ‘The Jungle Book’ has maintained a steady hold on the minds of successive generations. This week, the latest adaptation—a live-action Disney movie version—joins the list, to be followed by a Warner Bros version in 2018. Here are some notable earlier adaptations of the books for stage, print and screen.

MOVIES

JUNGLE BOOK (1942)

The first adaptation of Kipling’s books to become famous was the Hollywood version directed by Hungarian Zoltán Korda and produced by his brother Alexander. It made a star out of the India-born Sabu Dastagir, who had earlier appeared in a Korda production, ‘The Thief Of Bagdad’ (1940), and who played Mowgli in this film.

THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967)

The Disney version might be the most influential version of ‘The Jungle Book’ in existence; it’s possible more people have seen it than have read the books. It was the last film Walt Disney supervised and serves as a great swansong, with superb animation, memorable voice-work (especially George Sanders as the villainous Shere Khan) and a terrific soundtrack (‘The Bare Necessities’, ‘Colonel Hathi’s March’).

RUDYARD KIPLING’S THE JUNGLE BOOK (1994)

This weekend’s big release isn’t the first live-action version of ‘The Jungle Book’ that Disney has produced. The first, in 1994, is, if nothing else, an opportunity to craft a trivia question that goes something like, “Which film stars a future ‘Game Of Thrones’ star, a former Robin Hood and a member of the British comedy group Monty Python?" It was unique among ‘The Jungle Book’ adaptations for having non-speaking animal characters.

COMICS

MARVEL ILLUSTRATED: JUNGLE BOOK (2007)

In 2007, Gil Kane and Mary Jo Duffy adapted ‘The Jungle Book’ for Marvel Comics, with cover art by P. Craig Russell.

TV

JANGURU BUKKU SHONEN MÔGURI (1989-90)

This Japanese anime version of ‘The Jungle Book’ was wildly popular in India in the 1990s. Dubbed in Hindi and broadcast on Doordarshan, it became a Sunday morning ritual for a whole generation. The charming title song, with lyrics by Gulzar and music by a then unknown Vishal Bhardwaj, was recently re-recorded to accompany the release of the Disney live-action version.

THEATRE

THE JUNGLE BOOK (2013)

Mary Zimmerman, a Tony Award winner, directed a ‘Jungle Book’ musical in 2013. Produced by theatre companies in Chicago and Boston, the play featured a multicultural cast and mixed classical Indian instrumentation with jazz on its soundtrack.

Close
×
My Reads Logout