Popcorn flies in the air as my seven-year-old jumps out of his seat as the menacing Shere Khan launches himself at the unsuspecting Mowgli. “Run Mowgli, run,” my son shouts at the screen.
This weekend I saw the newest Disney version of “The Jungle Book” in the company of my twelve-year-old daughter and my enthralled seven-year-old son. There are enough nods to the 1967 cartoon to satisfy my childhood nostalgia, but the new film breathes delightful new life into a longstanding family favourite, lending digital depth and a hint of darkness to the familiar anthropomorphic encounters.
As Shere Khan, Idris Elba scares; as Kaa, Scarlett Johansson seduces; as Baloo, Bill Murray amuses; as Louie, Christopher Walken is intoxicating. The film has ethical values and is a storytelling classic. But the real success of the film is its computer-animated graphics. Shere Khan is realised in such extraordinarily hair-perfect detail, his movement so persuasive, so visceral, he might as well be the real, tooth-and-claw deal. The birds come alive in the trees with stunning attention to detail.
In every way, this quietly majestic film should be considered a triumph. So too the announcement earlier this year that the estimated number of wild tigers worldwide has risen for the first time in a century. The World Wildlife Fund and Global Tiger Forum announced that 3,890 tigers had been counted in the latest global census.
Such success is in no small part due to tiger tourism – your visits to see tigers bring money and security to India’s national parks. Only yesterday clients reported seeing thirteen tigers whilst in Tadoba National Park.
However, it is not a time for complacency or to rest on our laurels. Now is the time to enjoy the thrill of seeing tigers in the wild rather than on screen. Now is the time to go to ensure that we maintain the tiger’s habitat giving them a chance of survival, ensuring that they are not consigned to books and computer-generated imagery.
With over 25 years of experience, our Steppes India experts can guide you on how to best experience the wildlife of India, whether it be a couples holiday or a family affair on your first tiger safari holiday in India.