One of our childhood’s most famous bedtime stories would be “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling.
Thanks to the various film adaptations by Disney, this fantasy has been passed on to many generations till now, and there are very few who grew up without being aware of the Jungle Book characters.
The captivating title song of the animation is a memorable tune that makes you go humming instantly when you listen to it.
The author Rudyard Kipling made a collection of stories of the jungle book characters that later collectively became an established story known as The Jungle Book. Rudyard Kipling was a renowned writer known for his stories of children’s classics.
Kipling’s book had a wide collection of fable stories and was widely popular in various magazines in the 90s. Evidently, the Jungle Book characters have made their mark in the fictional world and have remained cherishable characters in our lives.
The Jungle book carries stories that teach moral values to the readers; thus is considered a fable.
Overview of the story
A quick walk down to what the story is about-
The story revolves around a man-cub (Mowgli) who was abandoned in a forest and raised by wolves. The wolf family takes care of the man-cub like its own child and makes sure it feels like a part of the family.
Eventually, the man-cub learns his values and life skills from the animals he grew up with and has animals as his best friends and family.
The story portrays the unity of Mowgli and all the animals that have grown alongside him. It shows the evolution of the human cub from a baby to a grown-up child with all the frolic the animals and the man club did together, along with the emotions they share as friends and family.
The shared sense of belonging and the values they learned from each other is what makes this whole collection of stories worth remembering.
The Jungle Book Characters
This fantasy involves a lot of characters, each being unique in their way. Each character plays an important role in presenting a different value.
However, few constant main characters are the core of the story and have embarked on their identity ever since we have come across this story. These characters and groups have always been the centre of the story.
Let’s have a look at these jungle characters
The story’s narrative begins with a family of wolves finding a human cub in their den. The wolf pack becomes aware that Shere Khan the tiger is hunting for humans, which goes against the forest laws, as humans are defenceless.
Being aware that if left alone, the human kid would be vulnerable to Sher khan’s hunt for humans, the wolf pack decided to protect him at all costs. They decide to raise him in their den and named him ‘Mowgli’.
Being bought up in a forest by a herd of wolves makes it natural that Mowgli was raised to be wild, wise, and fearless. Mowgli is a family-loving person, a kind person who would stand up for his loved ones.
The wolves always treated him as one of their kind and were protective of him. Bound to the jungle since his birth, Mowgli grows up to the fact that this jungle is his home and he can live here, and he thinks he does not have to stay in a human village.
2. Rama (Father Wolf)
Rama is Mowgli’s adoptive father and is a wise figure to Mowgli. He taught Mowgli the right values and was very protective of his family. He was very particular about the forest rules and always followed them strictly.
Father wolf realized that Shere Khan was hunting for humans and is witty enough to know that hunting humans would bring collective destruction to all the animals in the forest and lead to hurting humans.
When Shere Khan insisted that young Mowgli be handed over to him, the father wolf was resilient and refused to give up on Mowgli. He stood up brave for his cubs and Mowgli whenever he sensed trouble for his family.
3. Raksha (Mother Wolf)
Raksha, the mother wolf, instantly agrees to give the human kid the love he deserved the moment she laid her eyes on him.
She raised Mowgli with her undying love and never let Mowgli feel the absence of a mother. She was equally protective about Mowgli and gave him all the motherly love he needed. After all, every kid needs a mother.
She was equally brave and protective of her children, and she made certain that Mowgli was always safe from the wicked tiger. However, her instincts made her believe that Mowgli would kill Shere Khan one day, and he would bring peace to this jungle.
The wolf family made sure to introduce the man-cub to all the other wolves in the jungle to accept him. It was a tradition in the jungle to announce it to their herd in the council rock of the forest if a new member is added to a family to accept them officially as a member of the jungle.
4. Baloo (the bear)
Baloo, the bear, is one of the main characters who teaches Mowgli the way around the jungle and everything he had to know about surviving in a jungle.
From teaching him how to sea catch to narrating his fanciful stories, how to swim, how to talk to the jungle animals, Baloo was young Mowgli’s teacher. He is a loyal friend to Mowgli and a very good teacher that helped him give the knowledge he required.
Baloo and Bagheera were Mowgli’s sidekick and saviour in his difficult times. He had a soft spot for Mowgli and was very caring towards him. Baloo became even more protective when Bagheera came along.
5. Bagheera (Black Panther)
Bagheera is a major protector of Mowgli and his mentor. For instance, whenever the monkeys misled Mowgli into the jungle, Bagheera and Baloo teamed up with Kaa, the Kala nag to save Mowgli from the monkeys.
Bagheera is always around as one of the first characters from the story to protect Mowgli whenever he is in a hitch. Bagheera and Baloo taught all the life lessons to Mowgli and played a major role model in his life.
The panther wanted Mowgli to settle far off the jungle in a human village for Mowgli’s safety even though he loved him.
6. Kaa( the Nagini)
Ka is a giant python who likes to hypnotize people for fun. She joined Bagheera and Babloo to save the boy from the monkeys’ group.
The other animals fear Kaa in the jungle, and she has respectively earned the title of a superior animal as she could hypnotize anyone. Mowgli’s tribe-Baloo and Bagheera, often used this ability of Kaa to help them save Mowgli from the monkeys.
7. Shere Khan (the tiger)
Last but not least, Shere Khan is the most intimidating character of the story. He was indeed the villain of the jungle who was on a constant hunt of feeding upon young Mowgli. He would not spare an opportunity of feeding upon him if he comes in his sight.
Shere khan has been behind to kill Mowgli ever since he made his presence in the jungle. The other animals lived in terror with his presence in the jungle. He even demanded to Rama and Raksha to surrender Mowgli to him.
His evil desire to hunt and kill Mowgli was there even when Mowgli grew up to be a young boy.
Shere khan claimed to be above other animals in the jungle and never followed the jungle rules. He often whined loudly when he failed to hunt. This alarmed the other animals in the jungle that he was on a hunt and failed in his pursuit.
Mowgli being aware that Shere Khan has chased him ever since his birth, even learned his way around him and made sure he never caught him. Even if he was caught, he bravely escaped his trap and some help from his jungle friends.
Even though these were a few of the main characters of the story, many other characters were a part of different stories of this collection. These core characters played a major role in Mowgli’s life.
All the characters within the stories have lived with us as we read the story and imagined ourselves being a part of this fantasy. Each different character built the story in a certain way, making them pivotal characters.
Film adaptations based on The Jungle Book
‘The original Jungle book’- 1942
Over the years, the original story has seen many variations and has been adapted in live-action and animated films.
The first film was a live-action movie adapted from the book’s original publication. It was released in 1942 and was directed by Korda Brothers.
Disney adaptation of The Jungle Book
Disney’s first movie adaptation of the book was a live-action film released in 1994 produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by Stephen Sommers and cast Jaso Scott Lee as Mowgli. In the movie, the animals did not speak.
The most recent movie of Disney of the Jungle book was released in 2016 as an animated film. This movie is the adaptation of the live-action movie of Disney by Jon Favreau.
It starred Neel Seth as Mowgli and was a massive success at the box office and has been listed in the best movies of 2016. This movie was made using CGI and is considered the best adaption of the story yet.
Even though “The Jungle Book” has seen many variations through various film adaptations, it remains one of the best children classics and is considered Kipling’s best work.
There might come many more adaptations in the future, but it will remain one of the great stories from children’s classics. The Jungle Book characters have been passed on to many generations and will always be considered as memorable characters of the fables.
Want to take a stroll down to more of your favourite characters from the Jungle Book? Check out this article to read more about the main character ranked by likability.
I hope you had a good stroll down memory lane while reading this article. Do let us know your favourite Jungle Book characters in the comment section.