Banner: Walt Disney Pictures
Producers: Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Anurag Basu, Ranbir Kapoor
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif,
Saswata Chatterjee, Saurabh Shukla,
Sayani Gupta, Kiran Srinivas, Denzil Smith
Writers: Anurag Basu
Full-fledged musicals are a rare treat in Bollywood, and when the likes of Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor collaborate on one, expectations obviously soar. So, does the much-awaited Jagga Jasoos deliver on that count? Well, while their offering begins on a high note, it fails to maintain its tempo till the end but, overall, it’s worth your time and money.
Presented in typical Disney musical style and blending a little with Broadway, Jagga Jasoos opens with Shruti (Katrina Kaif) reading out a series of comic books on ‘Jagga Jasoos’ to a group of young kids. Like the kids listening to his tales, the audience too instantly falls in love with the adorable ‘Jagga’ (Ranbir Kapoor).
Jagga is an orphan kid, who is spending his childhood in a hospital, where he was left after his parents’ death. Jagga happens to save the life of a mysterious man called Tutti-Futti aka Badal Bagchi (Saswata Chatterjee) and soon forges a bond with him after the man helps him overcome his stammering by advising him to sing instead of talking. Thus, the film gets its perfect premise for a musical.
The clumsy Tutti-Futti adopts Jagga and the two live a happy life in a cosy little North-Eastern town. But the arrival of Sinha (Saurabh Shukla) shatters their little paradise and Tutti-Futti vanishes from Jagga’s life, leaving him all alone to solve not only the mysteries of life but also that of his friend’s disappearance.
It is soon established that Jagga has a quirky personality but is extremely intelligent and has a penchant for unraveling mysteries and solving cases in his small town. Through one such case, he is introduced to Shruti, a journalist who is visiting his town for an investigative story.
Up until now, writer-director Anurag Basu smartly unfolds his characters and keeps the audience engaged. However, he loses his grip in the second half, when Jagga and Shruti embark on a real adventure as they set off to find Tutti-Futti in the wild Mombasa, Kenya. While influences from the Tintin comics are obvious throughout the film, Jagga Jasoos also has references from Satayajit Ray’s sleuth series Feluda, the Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne series, Sherlock Holmes and it even touches upon Subhash Chandra Bose’s secret routes from Burma. That apart, the director also tries to highlight the illegal arms trade that is plaguing the world through his film.
Indeed, the thought is brilliant but somewhere down the line, the director’s attempt to pack too much into just one film hampers the flow and makes it drag. Also, the climax is too convoluted and haphazardly put together to make an impact. And although there is mention of a two-headed villain – Alexander-Bhashir – one does really miss the presence of a menacing antagonist in the film.
The lack of a strong plot is compensated for by a series of brilliantly executed sequences, fascinating camera work, top-notch editing and solid performances.
Cinematography by S Ravi Varman is simply spellbinding. He captures the rugged terrain of Kenya masterfully. Just like Barfi!, Jagga Jasoos too is laced with some memorable scenes, which are not only beautifully executed but also engage you emotionally. Music by Pritam is another high point of the film.
Performance-wise, Ranbir Kapoor steals the show, yet again. Right from mastering his stammering act, to his vulnerability, to nailing the body language of his character, Kapoor totally owns his character and delivers one of his career best performances. The scene when he doesn’t get his annual video tape sent by Tutti-Futti has been done brilliantly.
Saurabh Shukla is impressive as the evil Singh, and Saswata Chatterjee as Badal Bagchi is excellent. Sayani Gupta has a small role and plays her part well. Katrina Kaif delivers well and so does the rest of the cast. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s blink-and-miss appearance is a surprise element in the film.
Verdict: The breezy musical with a picturesque backdrop is a visual treat and is certain to make you smile. Jagga Jasoos may have its flaws but is definitely worth watching, especially for the delightful performance of the contemporary showman – Ranbir Kapoor.