Jagga Jasoos movie review: It’s a beautiful Bollywood musical we were waiting for
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee
Director: Anurag Basu
Anurag Basu has a trustworthy lieutenant in cinematographer Ravi Varman. His camera entices you to enter the world of Jagga and once you’re there, Basu ensures your stay for a longer period. Jagga Jasoos is poster perfect, beautiful and soothing.
It all begins in Darjeeling where a deduction expert man-child Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) lives in a school hostel and applies his theories on friends. It’s a terrific opening as you get to know about his ideas, loneliness and ever wandering mind.
Basu goes for a musical which, in a way, provides Jagga a chance to ditch his stammering and go for some vividly penned ballads. Always longing for his missing father Tooti Footi (Saswata Chatterjee), Jagga is someone who you can immediately like. For all his Tintin-inspired adventures, he is fighting inner demons like most of us. A chance meeting with a Kolkata-based journalist Shruti (Katrina Kaif) pushes him to go for the journey of his life that crosses through Thailand’s beaches and Moroccan deserts.
Basu’s handling of the backdrop intrigues from the very beginning, his human formations and musical beats create a rhythm we rarely see in Bollywood. His dreamland is mostly composed with moving props. It could be anything from a giraffe to an ostrich. Be it Jagga’s specially designed bike or a decorated elephant crossing an empty street, every frame gives you something to hook on. After a few minutes, you willingly glide through his world.
You remember how it felt while reading Roald Dahl or Harry Potter? The same happens while watching Jagga Jasoos. You are watching the visuals projected at you, but you’re also imagining a different world inspired from them.
Then there are stories that hold their ground. After all, here’s a detective whose introduction song mentions Sherlock and Feluda. The aspirations are indeed high. Jagga passes the initial test as he solves a few local cases.
This makes Basu ambitious and prompts him to talk about the serious issues plaguing the world. What initially appears like another open and shut case snowballs into a world-wide conspiracy. This is where Basu begins to waver. Larger canvas presents bigger challenges.
Thankfully, he goes for more interesting formations than relying on dialogues. Action sequences keep getting better structured and amazingly synchronized. Coupled with Pritam’s soulful tunes, they bring in a unique look and feel to Jagga Jasoos.
But extra focus on amusing the audience leaves the chemistry between the leads ignored. It’s hard to find anything sparkling there.
Though the writers have taken care of explaining Shruti’s English accent, which they do in almost every film featuring Katrina Kaif, she couldn’t strike an immediate connect with the audiences the way Jagga does.
It’s a fantasy film that takes away the spotlight pressure from Ranbir Kapoor. This also gives him the breather to float around the theme. Basu also lets Kapoor interpret the narrative as per his will. As a result, he makes his overgrown amateurish detective believable.
Saswata Chatterjee, better known as Bob Biswas of Kahaani, is the cushion around Ranbir’s Jagga. As an accident-prone father, he can make you teary-eyed at times.
Watch: Our Facebook Live discussion on Jagga Jasoos and Shab
As a film, Jagga Jasoos isn’t satisfied only with being an incredible adventure saga. It desires to become a comment on social evils. This idea affects the flow of the film in the second half. The stunning visuals we behold in the first half mixes up in the stretched story in the second. It’s somewhere in the second half, you suddenly realise how multi-dimensional the story has become. The 161-minute duration of the film doesn’t help either.
Ranbir Kapoor never drops one emotion and is really sincere. He is the shining knight of this story-- one that demanded its protagonist to not look silly despite being an overgrown adolescent.
But nothing can hide Anurag Basu’s authority over Jagga Jasoos. It’s a film that must have played in his mind thousand times over before he actually started to shoot.
It’s a cliché, but no other word can sum up Jagga Jasoos better: Cinematic. Well, that’s it. Jagga Jasoos is the most ‘cinematic’ film you have seen in the recent months. Plunge to never come out of the world of Jagga Jasoos.
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