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Theatre / A dzsungel könyve

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A dzsungel könyve is a Hungarian stage musical based on the Mowgli stories from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. While somewhat whimsical in tone, taking a few cues from the Disney version, it is still a very faithful adaptation of the book, keeping a lot of the darker parts. In 1996 it was a major hit in Hungary, and has been staged numerous times since then.


  • Adaptation Species Change: Chil was a kite in the book, but he's a vulture in this play.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Downplayed with Kaa. When he first encounters Mowgli he attempts to eat him like in the Disney adaptation, but he ultimately becomes Mowgli's ally and rescues him from the monkeys like in the book.
  • Adapted Out: Several characters, such as Tabaqui (who is mentioned by name as an enemy of the wolves, but doesn't appear), Hathi (as putting an elephant on stage would have been difficult), Father Wolf (who was merged into Akela), Mother Wolf, Grey Brother, Messua (replaced by the younger female character Túna) and her husband.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: This one is an adaptation of The Jungle Book, of course.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The wolves have this attitude towards Mowgli. Once Akela loses the leadership of the pack, Shere Khan easily convinces them to turn against the man-cub.
  • All Women Are Lustful: The women of the man-village sing a song which is full of sexual references, including implications that Mowgli is "welcome in a bed", and comparing a woman's lap to a "fragrant forest".
  • Badass Boast: Multiple characters that qualify as badass get to sing a boastful song.
    • Kaa sings a menacing song to the monkeys how they cannot escape him.
    • Akela, when he fails to catch his prey and loses the wolf pack's respect, sings a song about what a great leader and hunter he used to be.
    • Buldeo and his fellow hunters sing a song about their hunting skills.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Baloo is a Stern Teacher who often beats up Mowgli to teach him a lesson. However, he's ultimately a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who would risk his life to save the man-cub.
  • Big Bad: Shere Khan, whose main goal is to kill Mowgli.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mowgli defeats Shere Khan and gets together with Túna, but Baloo is dead; when Mowgli returns to the jungle he finds that the wolf pack got disbanded under Shere Khan's leadership; and he is also exiled from the man-village due to Buldeo's accusations of witchcraft.
  • Black Comedy: Chil and his flock of vultures have a very macabre sense of humor, and sing a rather upbeat song about how everyone will ultimately die.
  • Canon Foreigner: Túna, Mowgli's Love Interest and Buldeo's fiancée. She is loosely based on Messua from the book, being a benevolent female who becomes Mowgli's primary ally in the man-village, but while Messua was a mother figure much older than Mowgli, Túna is the same age as him.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played straight with the evil Shere Khan. Averted with Bagheera, who is one of the nicest, most reasonable characters in the play.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Mowgli, who is initially very confused why the women from the man-village are so happy to see him. Not that he complains.
  • Composite Character: Akela in this version combines the book's Akela (the leader of the wolf pack) and Father Wolf (Mowgli's foster father).
  • Corporal Punishment: Baloo, the Stern Teacher, is a frequent practitioner of this, and sings a quite catchy song about it.
  • Death by Adaptation: Baloo. In the book he simply goes blind from old age, here he dies.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Kaa is one of the most feared animals in the jungle, and for a good reason: his Mass Hypnosis abilities are a threat to anyone.
    • Shere Khan is also a very feared villain, especially when it is the Night of the Tiger (when even Kaa refuses to fight him). There's a song sung about him.
  • Gender Flip: Bagheera is a female in this play (similarly to the Russian animated film). Some (although not all) stagings of the play make Kaa female too.
  • Gratuitous English: The play is in Hungarian, but the monkeys' song has an English title, "Monkey Funky".
  • Hurricane of Puns: Most songs, thanks to comedian Péter Geszti writing their lyrics.
  • Hypocrite: Shere Khan tells the wolves to cast out Mowgli for not being a wolf, while at the same time offers to lead the wolf pack, even though he's not a wolf either.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Baloo. He is a Stern Teacher who often beats up Mowgli, but he does this because he has old-fashioned views on teaching, and ultimately really loves and cares about Mowgli. He risks his own life to rescue the man-cub from the Bandar-log.
  • Karma Houdini: Buldeo. He successfully turns the man-village against Mowgli, and in the end Mowgli gives him Shere Khan's skin in exchange for Túna's freedom.
  • Love Triangle: The play adds one between Mowgli, Túna and Buldeo.
  • Malaproper: The monkeys often mispronounce or mix up words, to show how insane they are.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Bandar-log, who are more crazy than malevolent but are still a threat to Mowgli.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Buldeo and his hunters sing a song about this.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Kaa uses this on the monkeys, just like in the book. However, in this version not even Mowgli is immune. It is accompanied with a chilling song.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Baloo, who dies of old age at the end of Act One. It is one of the biggest Tear Jerker moments of the play.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Mowgli is traditionally played by a man in his late teens / early twenties, wearing a Loincloth. He is treated as a Chick Magnet in-universe too.
  • Noble Wolf: Akela, who in this version is the fiercely loyal adoptive father of Mowgli and the only one from the pack who stands up against Shere Khan.
  • Nubile Savage: Mowgli, who becomes a Clueless Chick-Magnet when arriving to the man-village despite growing up in the jungle.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The main plot of the play combines "Mowgli's Brothers", "Kaa's Hunting", "The King's Ankus" and "Tiger, Tiger!" from the book, with a few alterations to make the narrative flowing instead of episodic.
    • The other Mowgli stories are briefly referenced as Mythology Gag: Mowgli at one point threatens Buldeo with "Letting in the Jungle" on him, the song "The Night of the Tiger" got its title from "How Fear Came", and Baloo's and Bagheera's farewell songs to Mowgli recall the ending of "The Spring Running".
    • Some changes seem to be inspired by the Disney animated film, such as Kaa's mild Adaptational Villainy, Chil's species change from a kite to a vulture (the Disney film had four singing vultures), and the addition of a female Love Interest to Mowgli.
  • Raised by Wolves: Mowgli, of course.
  • The Rival: Buldeo, the leader of the hunters views Mowgli as this.
  • Rotten Rock & Roll: The Villain Song sung by Shere Khan is a hard rock song with electric guitars (and the only rock song in the play).
  • Satellite Love Interest: While Túna is the closest ally of Mowgli in the man-village, she doesn't get much characterization apart from being a nice girl who's bethroted to Buldeo and attracted to Mowgli.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: While neither of the snake characters is completely evil, both are quite creepy. Kaa uses his Mass Hypnosis abilities to kill the monkeys (and almost Mowgli too), while the white cobra fiercely guards the treasure under the monkey city.
  • Stern Teacher: Baloo, who believes that beating Mowgli up with his massive paws is the only way to make him learn his lessons. He even sings a song about this.
  • Undertaker: Chil and the vultures view themselves as this. It might be a reference to the story "The Undertakers" from the original book.
  • Villain Song: Shere Khan gets a rocking one in which he tries to convince the wolves to follow him, while Buldeo has one where he brags about being a great hunter. Kaa's first song, where he uses Mass Hypnosis on Mowgli and the monkeys, also plays out as this, even though he becomes an ally to Mowgli later in the same scene.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "The Night of the Tiger", sung by a choir before Mowgli's battle with Shere Khan, is a flattering variant about how terrifying the tiger is.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: In the monkeys' song, "Monkey Funky", there is a rapping part. On the soundtrack album it doubles as a Creator Cameo, as it is performed by the comedian and rapper Péter Geszti, who wrote the lyrics to all songs in the show.
  • Women Are Wiser: Bagheera, who is a female in this version, is often the voice of reason. She tries to convince Baloo to use less Corporal Punishment during his lessons to Mowgli, and attempts to negotiate with Kaa to help in the fight against Shere Khan near the end of the play.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: Kaa, when performing Mass Hypnosis on the monkeys, sings about how they have no chance to escape him.