Shanti is a minor character in Disney's 1967 film, the Jungle Book, and the tritagonist in the 2003 sequel. She is Mowgli's best friend and possible sweetheart who was voiced by Darleen Carr, and later by Mae Whitman.
When Walt Disney and his creative crew couldn't advise a way to lure Mowgli into the Man Village, one member then suggested having a girl lure him into the village, and the idea stuck. Shanti is sweet little girl with a lovely singing voice, and in the second film is shown to be very protective of her loved ones and wary of the jungle.
Shanti is a beautiful young girl who has an obvious crush on Mowgli but has great fear of the jungle in contrast to Mowgli's obsession of it. She fears nearly every animal the jungle has to offer including snakes, tigers, bears, and even bats. Shanti and Mowgli both have different opinions on the jungle usually leading to friendly or sometimes serious arguments. Even though there is no relation, Shanti treats Mowgli's adoptive brother Ranjan as if he's her little brother. She takes some of her time to teach Ranjan how to behave and stay safe.
Shanti makes her brief appearance near the end of the Jungle Book, but she was not named until the sequel. On the way to the man village, Mowgli spots a creature he has never seen before: a human girl. Mowgli requests a better look, and while Baloo unsuccessfully attempts to stop him, Bagheera gleefully encourages him on. Mowgli watches Shanti as she sings about her life. Mowgli falls off the branch of the tree he was looking down at her from and is easily noticed by the young maiden. Shanti lures him into the village by purposely dropping her jug. Mowgli refills the jug and follows her into the village. Bagheera knows that Mowgli is where he belongs now, though Baloo still thinks that Mowgli would made one swell bear.
Shanti makes her biggest appearance in The Jungle Book 2. She thinks that Mowgli is a bad influence on Ranjan. After Mowgli and Ranjan play a prank on Shanti as she collects water from the river outside the village, she takes Rajnan back to the village and lectures him. It soon goes into a song called "Jungle Rhythm". Mowgli almost leads all the children to the jungle until Shanti yells, "STOP!" Soon Ranjan's father comes to tell the children, including Mowgli, to come back. Mowgli is then punished. That night, Shanti brings a bowl of fruit to Mowgli's hut as an apology.
Little does she know that Shere Khan is waiting in the shadows of the village for Mowgli. Shanti soon finds Mowgli with Baloo and she shouts that there is a wild animal. This awakes the villagers and they attacked Shere Khan, unaware he is not the only wild animal. During the havoc, Baloo and Mowgli flee for the jungle. Shanti goes after them, not knowing that Ranjan had followed. As she searches for Mowgli, she encounters Kaa, the snake. He hypnotizes her and is about to eat her until Ranjan saves her by hitting the snake with a stick. The next day, as they still search for Mowgli, Shanti finds mango peelings. Later, she finds Mowgli, but Baloo attacks. He gets caught in some vines, and she punches him in the nose.
Mowgli accidentally reveals that he asked Baloo to attack her. She then runs off in anger with Ranjan in tow. Mowgli goes after them to apologize and finds them standing in fear as Shere Khan has found them. Mowgli then throws dust at him, and they run. Shere Khan goes after them. Mowgli tells Shanti and Rajan to stay hidden and continues to run. Shanti then follows after Mowgli and the tiger as Ranjan meets Baloo and warns him of what is happening. The chase leads to an ancient temple where Baloo, Mowgli, and Shanti hide among its shadows.
She meets Baloo and they start arguing until they both say that they are helping Mowgli. Soon they hide behind a gong and bang them, confusing Shere Khan. However, Shanti's gong falls, showing herself to Shere Khan. He threatens to kill her if Mowgli does not show himself. He soon does and Shere Khan attacks. Baloo fights off the tiger long enough for Mowgli and Shanti to escape. The two run and leap upon a huge stone tiger head. As they climb, Shere Khan goes after them. However, the stone head collapses and it falls with Mowgli, Shere Khan, and Shanti. Luckily, Baloo catches the children as Shere Khan falls to a ledge, and is then trapped by the head. Soon Ranjan's parents and Shanti's mother find them and they return home, where Ranjan's father now understands that the jungle is a part of Mowgli. At the end of the film. Mowgli and Shanti go to collect water from the river. They, along with Ranjan, soon meet Baloo and Bagheera and sing a reprise of The Bare Necessities.
Shanti appears at the very end of the game although her voice can be heard humming a song in the middle. Following the story of the film, Mowgli meets Shanti and the two become smitten with one another. As Shanti begins to return to the village, she invites Mowgli to join her, which he accepts.
Shanti herself does not appear in the game but she is mentioned by Mowgli when he assigns the player one of his tasks. This is one of the only pieces of media that refers to Shanti as her name given in The Jungle Book 2 rather than simply "The Girl".
Shanti currently makes no live appearances in the Disney theme parks. Prior to 2000, Shanti had a role in the Animal Kingdom show Journey into the Jungle Book, following her role in the film and leading Mowgli into the Man-Village.
Shanti makes a brief cameo in the episode A Jolly Holi Day, being followed by a lovestruck Mowgli as she carries an urn of water atop her head. She, in her original design from the original film, also made a major appearance in the same episode showing the six international friends India and the holiday "Holi".
Songs preformed by Shanti:
- Shanti's animation from the original film was used as a reference by Mark Henn when animating Ariel in the 1989 film the Little Mermaid.
- Shanti's appearance in the Jungle Book is far from the one in the Jungle Book 2. In the first film, she is shown with pigtails and bows in her hair and wears pink, depicting a more feminine nature, while in the second film, she has more of a look to women in India. Her look was obviously updated on purpose.
- Shanti had a solo to sing about finding her friend Mowgli, but the scene was deleted on account of Disney producers deciding that the song would take too much attention from Mowgli and the story plot.