Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is a 2018 fantasy adventure film directed by Andy Serkis with a screenplay by Callie Kloves, based on stories collected in All the Mowgli Stories by Rudyard Kipling. The film stars Rohan Chand, Matthew Rhys, and Freida Pinto, along with voice and motion capture performances from Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris, and Serkis.
In the jungle, Kaa watches as Shere Khan, a crippled Bengal tiger, breaks jungle law by killing a family of humans, with only the child escaping. Bagheera, drawn to the scene, rescues the man-cub, Mowgli, and takes him to a family of wolves being raised by Nisha and Vihaan, only for Tabaqui, Shere Khan’s hyena follower, to discover the boy before he is chased off. They take the infant Mowgli before the wolf council and Akela, the pack leader, to decide his fate, with Bagheera buying his life with a kill and Baloo strong-armed into agreeing. Shere Khan arrives to kill Mowgli, but Akela stops him, saying the boy is now a member of the pack and forces Shere Khan to leave, but not before the tiger vows to return.
For many years after, Mowgli lives amongst the wolf pack. One day, Mowgli goes swimming alone and encounters Shere Khan. He manages to escape the tiger, and is brought home by Bagheera. Though Bagheera reveals to Mowgli that he is a human and he will be safe if he goes to the Man-Village, Mowgli states that he wishes to be a wolf. He declares that he will only go if he fails the pack’s trial, which would determine if he can become a full member of the pack. During the trial, Bagheera, acting as hunter to chase the young wolves and test their strength, continually chases Mowgli and causes him to fail when he would have come in first. As Baloo confronts Bagheera over the issue, Mowgli is kidnapped by the Bandar-log, the jungle monkeys, on Tabaqui’s orders for Shere Khan. Shere Khan attempts to eat Mowgli while he is unconscious, but is stopped by Baloo and Bagheera. However, during their battle with Shere Khan’s minions, they are overwhelmed and it is only the intervention of Kaa herself that saves Mowgli.
Mowgli learns that Kaa has been watching him and that she believes that he has the power to change the jungle. She then directs him to face Shere Khan, who is again challenging Akela for Mowgli. Mowgli stops the tiger and Akela’s challengers with fire taken from the Man-Village, but shames himself in Akela’s eyes and is forced to leave for the Man-Village. Mowgli is captured by the villagers, including the colonial hunter, John Lockwood, and placed in a cage. Bagheera visits him and tells him to stay, encouraging the boy to gain their trust, as Bagheera once did to escape captivity when he was young. Mowgli slowly comes to enjoy village life, being raised by the kindly Messua and learning hunting and life skills from Lockwood.