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For 90s kids, Nana Patekar will always be the baritone behind Mowgli’s arch-nemesis Sher Khan

On Nana Patekar's 66th birthday, here's looking back at the time when he voiced the iconic character of Sher Khan in The Jungle Book. He reprised the role for the 2016 film by Jon Favreau as well.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: January 1, 2018 6:30:13 am
Nana patekar as sher khan in the jungle book Happy birthday Nana Patekar: Remembering the time when he brought an animated character to life.

With his signature peculiar way of delivering dialogues and his unique style of performing, Nana Patekar has been impressing the audience since 1978 when he first started appearing in the movies. For the first few years, he appeared mainly in Marathi films but Hindi cinema couldn’t stay away from this highly talented actor for much longer. Through the 80s and the 90s, Nana was seen in various memorable and successful films and his popularity to this date speaks highly about his fan following.

While Nana was doing marvelous work on film, he played a very significant role on television as well and this was in the 90s animated series on TV, The Jungle Book.

Rubbing our eyes and struggling to get out of bed on Sunday was a task as it is but what made it worthy was a new episode of The Jungle Book on Doordarshan. Mowgli’s adventures caught the imaginative mind of every child and adult as well. The adulation from Balloo, wisdom from Bagheera, the care from the wolf family, all of it made us root for the jungle boy but what made us cheer even louder was when when Mowgli was in imminent danger from his arch-nemesis, Sher Khan.

The iconic Sher Khan ruled the jungle. His baritone had a lot of gravitas and authority, after all, it was voiced by Nana Patekar. Nana’s Sher Khan was majestic and rough at the same time. Since this was an animated series, it rested completely on the shoulders of the actors who voiced the characters and with Nana’s trusted shoulders, this was bound to be loved.

nana patekar

By the time this series came on Doordarshan, Nana Patekar had appeared in popular films like Prahaar: The Final Attack and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. It was during the same time that Nana appeared in films like Tirangaa and Krantiveer. He was wonderful at the movies but Nana Patekar found a loyal audience in the young adults as well. This is probably the reason that we still cheer for him, and we saw an example of the same in Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal Again recently.

Sher Khan was the arch-nemesis of Mowgli. The little boy was loved by all in the jungle but he was a sore in Sher Khan’s eyes. Nana retained the poise of a tiger but he made sure that he was quite intimidating as well and this worked wonders for the villainous character. Over the years, the series was telecast many times over and with every broadcast, it gained more and more fans.

The release of Jon Favreau’s film The Jungle Book in 2016 refreshed our childhood memories in many ways. The live action animation was a spectacle but what attracted the Indian viewers more towards the movie were its Hindi language voice actors. Nana reprised his role as Sher Khan and it felt like a time capsule for all 90s kids. He had once shared in an interview that when he did the TV series, he was paid merely Rs 3000-5000 but those were different times. He was still trying to make a mark and money was essential. When he did it in 2016, it was just to revisit the old memories. It wasn’t just him who revisited the old memories, he brought back our childhood days as well.

Nana Patekar has had an illustrious career and will continue to impress us for many years ahead but amongst the memorable roles he performed in the span of his respected career, Sher Khan will always be remembered fondly.

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