INDIAN film moguls have produced a spectacular new version of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale, The Jungle Book, to mark the centenary of its publication. The adventures of Mowgli, the 'man-cub' raised by a family of wolves, has been shot on location in some of the most dazzling areas of India. Produced by Bombay tycoons Raju Sharad Patel and Rajendra Kumar, the updated version due out this year is directed by Stephen Sommers, who filmed Huck Finn. But it departs from Kipling's original tale to become a drama, thriller and romance as Mowgli falls for the daughter of a British army officer and fights for his life. A hundred years since it was first published in the United States, The Jungle Book has proved to be one of literature's most enduring classics. A Walt Disney cartoon of the saga is permanently a video best-seller and Mowgli was the inspiration for many spin-off tales, including Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan. Many other Kipling works based on memories of his childhood in India have been immortalised on the big screen, although Mowgli's tale has proved to be the most popular. The film, Elephant Boy, which propelled Sabu, a maharajah's stable lad, to international stardom was based on Kipling's Toomai of the Elephants. Errol Flynn starred in Kim and Gunga Din featured Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Kipling was well qualified to write about growing up in India. He was the son of artist John Lockwood Kipling and a minister's daughter, Alice, and was born in Bombay in 1865. He was raised in a privileged lifestyle but learned the language and customs of the family's devoted servants, who introduced him to the markets, temples, sounds and smells of India that he was later to describe so magically. However, the Indian heat was considered unhealthy for English children and 'Ruddy' was packed off to school in England when he was six. His school days were unhappy and later recounted in the semi-autobiographical Baa-Baa Black Sheep, the subject of a new opera that focuses on the link between a literary genius and his jungle tale of a boy abandoned by his parents who struggles to find his identity in an alien environment - one of Kipling's main preoccupations. However, Kipling returned to his beloved India in 1882 after completing his schooling and spent the next seven years as a newspaper reporter. His Departmental Ditties, a satirical collection of poems surveying the Anglo-Indian scene of flattery, adultery and social climbing, took the former Indian capital of Lahore by storm. In a similar vein, his Plain Tales from the Hills was a best-seller in India. Kipling returned to England. One of his editors in Lahore, Sidney Low, recorded Kipling as saying he 'had to make his way in English literature' and, to do so, he needed to be in London, which then was the centre of the literary world. Six films of his work were made in his life time. Kipling died on January 18, 1936. His ashes were placed in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey and people in England, together with many admirers in India, mourned the loss of a literary hero. The impoverished youngster, Sabu, became a star in Hollywood after his debut in Elephant Boy. He appeared in The Drum and The Thief of Baghdad and, during World War I, flew more than 40 missions as a pilot, winning many medals. He died of a heart attack tragically young, at 39.