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Jungle Book 2

THE FIRST "Jungle Book" was such a touchstone in the movie-going experience of Indians (whether you caught it on screen or on video later) that even a sequel cannot take its place. But, since "Jungle Book 2" recycles most of the things we loved about the first movie, it isn't far off the mark — it's visually appealing and takes off just where the first one left off.



"Jungle Book 2" ... it's fun.

Yet we are too nostalgic for the first movie and the wonderful time we had watching it for us to feel charged about the sequel. Still, it's fun if just a little redundant.

We find Mowgli (voiced by Haley Joel Osment) boasting to the villagers about how he defeated Shere Khan. Meanwhile, Khan (Tony Jay) is planning his revenge.

Mowgli hasn't forgotten Baloo (John Goodman) nor has that jolly, silly, old bear forgotten the little `man-cub'. The very night that Baloo decides to rejoin Mowgli in the village, Shere Khan decides to pay a visit. Chaos. And Mowgli discovers he can't resist the jungle and his old friends anymore.

We get to hear `Bear Necessities' all over again. And meet some of our favourite characters from the original. Bagheera, the panther (Bob Joles), Lucky (Phil Collins!) as the leader of those cackling buzzards with the Beatles accent, and of course, Kaa (Jim Cummings) who informs us that he "despises these song and dance routines."

Mowgli has a girlfriend, Shanti (Mae Whitman), and a kid who tags along, Ranjan (Connor Funk). The women in the villages sport bindis. Also featured is a lush jungle and some exotic ruins. But what made "Jungle Book" the hit it was were those swinging musical numbers. Originally created by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman and Terry Gilkyson, the present score is expanded by Lorraine Feather and Paul Grabowsky.

One of these numbers, `Wild', actually resembles something out of a Broadway production. What the sequel is able to do is to take us back to the first movie — and the memories come flooding back.

PRADEEP SEBASTIAN

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