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fandomqueen Offline
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Angry Mowgli/Jungle Book and Representation - February 9th 2019, 02:41 PM

So I recently watched Netflix's "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle" and had seen the live action Jungle Book a few years ago.

Mowgli made an attempt to include elements of Indian culture. Some of the music, the costumes, and the fact that the villagers spoke Hindi (though in reality they would probably speak a local language). However, I am extremely upset that NONE of the voice actors were Indian. In addition, the only actor on screen with a significant speaking role (besides Mowgli) was WHITE.

What makes me more upset is that no one cares. Everyone praised Benedict Cumberbatch and Cate Blanchett without even thinking that maybe they could've given the role to someone Indian? All of the characters' names mean something in Hindi, and it took me so long to figure them out because none of the actors could pronounce them correctly. This also applies to the 2016 remake and the 1967 animated version. The 2016 one had 2 Indian actors (one of them being Mowgli), and the 1967 version had none.

If this movie had taken place in Africa, everyone would have been angry had the cast been primarily white people. However, I feel like no one cares about Asian representation except Asians. Having a few movies with one Chinese or Korean character does not mean all of Asia has been represented. I have yet to see one believable Indian character whose race isn't used as the punchline of the show. I get that with voice actors, representation is a little more complex, but this issue is prevalent everywhere else as well. Mowgli is the only Disney movie that represents India (which in and of itself is a problem since there are only like 2 human characters), which is why I find it so important that it is made properly.

Last edited by fandomqueen; February 9th 2019 at 10:12 PM.
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Re: Mowgli/Jungle Book and Representation - February 21st 2019, 06:49 PM

Hey there,

So sorry it's taken so long for you to get a response!

Thank you for sharing your perspective on this. I will admit that this is something I hadn't considered, and you make a lot of really good points. I am not from India myself and definitely don't consider myself an expert on the culture, so it's good to hear from someone who has experience with it.

I think this is an important perspective for others to hear and consider. You're right that we should be thinking more about these things and take care to ensure that all cultures are being represented accurately; relying on stereotypes is incredibly hurtful and does not help anyone learn or grow. I have not seen this Netflix series, but I will definitely keep this in mind if I decide to watch it.

I hope you're doing okay. Thank you again for bringing this to light!


Last edited by Amaranthus; February 21st 2019 at 11:08 PM.
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Re: Mowgli/Jungle Book and Representation - February 24th 2019, 09:39 PM

Hey there, thank you for expressing your concerns. It doesn't get said enough by various minorities such as, as you said, those from the India subcontinent. Everyone sees things literally, literally black and white that they fail to see other race and ethnicity get very little representation.

But seriously, thank you for sharing this. I hope you continue to voice your complaints because—and especially the continent with the most people on Earth—it just doesn't get said enough. I see the world in shades of grey, meaning I take note of other ethnicity and race.

Last edited by DeletedAccount40; February 26th 2019 at 02:26 PM.
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Re: Mowgli/Jungle Book and Representation - February 25th 2019, 12:48 AM

I totally understand where you are coming from. One of my friends is Filipino and we've talked at length about the underrepresentation of Asian people and, in particular, how Asian people tend to get represented, such as sexualizing the women or representing all Asian women as innocent/good girls/the "good" minority and stuff, and how much that bothers her. It's not that she wants Asians to be represented as serial killers, but she'd love to see them as being edgier without being sexualized more often I guess?
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