- “No, Mowgli, I'm sorry. I should've understood that the jungle is a part of who you are.”
- ―Ranjan's father apologized to Mowgli for his behavior.
Ranjan's father is the unnamed leader of the Man Village from the Seoni region in India. He adopted Mowgli upon his entry into the village and became his new father-figure by nurturing him and teaching him responsibility so that he may one day live up to his potential as a valued member of their community.
As the leader of the Man Village, Ranjan's father emphasizes highly on responsibility, discipline and order. He insists every villager takes an active role in the community in order to maintain it, and children are no exception as they are taught work ethics as soon as they are old enough to work.
Despite his responsibilities as a leader, Ranjan's father is a very caring person and is modest about his wealth and authority. He is very fatherly and protective towards children, even those who are not his own as evidenced by his willingness to adopt Mowgli when he entered the village, as well as his willingness to bring Mowgli, Ranjan and Shanti back home safe and refused to give up no matter what.
Unlike many wealthy Indian patriarchs, Ranjan's father is not a traditionalist. This is evidenced by his reaction to Mowgli and Shanti's relationship. As his son, Mowgli will inherit his leadership status while Shanti is a mere peasant. Despite that, Ranjan's father approves of their romantic feelings for each other and even encourages them. This is shown when Shanti tried to deny having flirted with Mowgli, Ranjan's father told her that being in love is nothing to be embarrassed about and advised her to be honest to herself, knowing that to be the path to happiness.
On the other hand, Ranjan's father can be very strict and has no tolerance for rule violations. This is evidenced by his reaction to the children attempting to leave the village and by punishing Mowgli by sending him to bed without dinner. He also viewed the jungle as a dangerous place. However, this was based on personal experience rather than irrational fear, as he revealed to Mowgli that at some point he was attacked by a wild animal and left his left arm permanently scarred. As such, Ranjan's father did everything he could to prevent the other villagers from suffering the same fate by not allowing anyone to enter the jungle except hunters. This changed later on, however, as he realized the jungle is not as dangerous as he thought.
Ranjan's father is an overweight middle-aged man with brown eyes, tan skin and a thick black beard that completely covers his chin and cheeks. He wears a white kurda, red dhoti pants, brown sandals and a turquoise turban. He also has a scar on his left arm after being attacked by a wild animal at some point before the film took place.
Role in the film
Ranjan's father appears at the beginning of the film watching with his toddler son Ranjan, his wife Messua, Shanti, and her mother as Mowgli shows them a puppet show about his life in the jungle to which Ranjan accidentally ruins by climbing onto the curtain of the show, amusing the audience. As Mowgli wonders how he will finish the story, Ranjan feels there is no need as they all know how it ends; Mowgli falls for Shanti's beautiful eyes and she lures him into the village. The embarrassed Shanti quickly denies this, prompting Mowgli to tease her about what really happened. Ranjan's father steps in and assures Shanti that this is nothing to be embarrassed about and that her beauty was essential to Mowgli finding his way into their lives, for which he is thankful for, and acknowledges that he himself fell in love with Messua for similar reasons. As everyone prepares for bedtime, Ranjan's father hugs Mowgli and wishes him a good night. Mowgli wishes him a good night as well, though he only acknowledges him as an authority figure rather than a father figure, much to Ranjan's confusion.
The next day, as Mowgli and Ranjan run out to do their chores, their father tells them not to cross the river, though expresses his worry that Mowgli's obsession with the jungle might get the better of him. During the song "The Jungle Rhythm", Mowgli begins to lead the village children into the jungle to which Shanti sees this and panics. Hearing this, Ranjan's father comes running and orders the children back into the village and scolds Mowgli for disobeying his orders and says that the jungle is a dangerous place and that he should know to which he shows Mowgli a tiger scratch he got on his left arm from a tiger. He then punishes Mowgli by sending him to his room without dinner to think about what his actions.
Later that night, Baloo sneaks into the village and reunites with Mowgli. Shanti witnesses this and shouts at the sight of the bear, waking up the villagers and prompting Baloo to run off with Mowgli. The villagers spot Shere Khan (who had infiltrated the village to kill Mowgli) and attack him, thinking him to be the wild animal Shanti was referring to. Shanti and Ranjan go after Mowgli and when Ranjan's father and the rest of the villagers finally chase Shere Khan out of the Village they find the children missing and Ranjan's father leads the villagers into the Jungle to find the children.
The next day, as the villagers are calling out for the children, their voices frighten Colonel Hathi and his elephant troops who believe the humans are there to hunt animals. Ranjan's father blames himself for the children's disappearance, believing he was too harsh on Mowgli. At nightfall, they are finally reunited with the children and Mowgli starts to apologize to his adoptive father for sneaking off into the jungle but Ranjan's father apologizes to him for not realizing what the jungle meant for him. They embrace and Ranjan's father tells him that he's glad that he's safe and sound and Mowgli finally acknowledges him as his father. Ranjan's father then listens to the children telling him and the other villagers about their adventures in the jungle.
The next day, Mowgli puts Ranjan in a jug and tells his father that he and Shanti are off to do their daily chores, not knowing that his adoptive father knows that he's going into the jungle. However, this time neither he nor Messua are worried, though Ranjan's father hopes Mowgli remembers to actually finish his task.