Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee
Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor would have never thought what they were getting into when they decided to experiment with the idea of ‘musical’ more than three years ago. After much complications, several re-shoots and one very public breakup between the lead pair later, Jagga Jasoos, finally sees the light of the theatre. And one can easily call it a risky gamble gone perfectly right with its execution and vision.
An out and out musical, the film is one of its kind with nearly 30 songs and a Tintin-like mystery adventure narrative presented in a sing-song live action format. The picturesque North East has been presented beautifully along with Moroccan streets and several Madagascar-ish touch-ups. No matter how exotic the film feels, the heart of the film is typically Bollywood, with lots of emotions and childlike innocence and naivety. Basu has given his quintessential touch to the film with a subtle love story, a heart-warming tale of a father-son duo and certain animated expressions.
The film stars Ranbir as Jagga, an orphan who is adopted by a stranded man, Tuti-futi Bagchi, from a hospital where he’s admitted. Then one-day Jagga is left at the boarding school by his adopted father, who takes an exit from his life only to send one tape a year, full of advice on his birthday. Jagga grows up to be a mystery-solver with his sharp mind and observation, helping the police of his town to solve murders. And during one such case, he meets Shruti (Katrina Kaif), an investigative journalist. One day he gets the news of tuti-futi's demise and then begins the journey of Jagga to find his father, amid the cobweb of international illegal arms export. The first half of the film is extremely entertaining with Jagga's back-story and build up. Another shining aspect of the film is its cinematography. Ravi Verman's frames feel right out of a storybook and the colours just pop out like any other Hollywood feel-good Disney film.
The major baggage of the film is carried well by music director Pritam. The film is a musical, thus heavily dependent on its music and Pritam has surely justified Basu's hard work with his enchanting scores which is the narration style of the film. Ranbir once again proves his acting prowess as a stammering yet confident Jagga. His animated expressions suit the setup of the film and at no point does he feel too dramatic or over expressive. Katrina too is fine as Shruti, and in fact, evoke chuckles as a clumsy yet impressive investigator. Saswata Chatterjee as Tuti-futi Bagchi is brilliant in his role. He is impressive with his emotions and more than his words, it's his eyes that do the talking. Saurabh Shukla as one of the many villains is impressive in his part, however, the portions between him and Jagg will remind you of their Barfi equation, a lot.
Does that mean the film is flawless? Well, unfortunately, no.
The second half of the film feels a little stretched and you can spot continuity errors through the climax. The film has been re-shot quite a few number of times and it all shows in the later half. The VFX of the film are quite shabby, but Bollywood is still too poor to inculcate Hollywood-style graphics. Only if the budget would have allowed finer post-production, the film would have matched to any other Disney live-action.
The inclusion of North-East culture and certain subtle references to Feluda, Satyajit Ray and even our favourite teen detective-Tintin mark another highlight of the film.
Jagga Jasoos is a chapter taken straight out of a magical comic-book and keeps you intrigued till the end. Being promoted as a children's film, it deals with an important topic of illegal arms and the message has been carved keeping a child's interest in mind. There is a message in the film and a definite possibility of a sequel. There's also a surprise cameo by Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a rather interesting avatar.
If only the film gets the kind of love it deserves, it has all the ingredients to be Bollywood's first mystery-musical series, with Jagga as our super-smart detective.
Entertaining, experimental and adventurous to the core, Jagga Jasoos is definitely a stepping stone towards a genre not yet explored by even the biggest of Bollywood filmmakers. A beautiful ode to Satyajit Ray, Feluda, Sherlock Holmes and Tintin at the same time indeed.