Rikki Tikki Tavi

I recently rewatched Rikki Tikki Tavi (1975) based on the original short story by Rudyard Kipling as part of the Jungle Book series (1894) and it made me think about how and what we choose the animate.

Although Chuck Jones is a masterful animator, this is something I cannot deny, and his work on the Mongoose must be commended and enjoyed, I find it curious his decision to adapt a story. Kipling is a contentious figure at best, and his abhorrent colonialist attitudes even for his time have long been argued and debated about. And given that there is no shortage of writers in the English language that have or are accomplished storytellers, or masterful writers from India that write in English no less. I find it strange that Jones chooses to dig up old wounds. The animation team attempts to bypass this by erasing all Indigenous people from the animation, similar to what Madagascar (2005) or The Lion King (1994) chooses to do. Choosing instead to divorce the story from its time and place in all but the title and initial shots and the credits, using Indian-esk music in the background to build suspense.

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