Jagga Jasoos is hard to describe, no amount of details can really explain the experience a viewer will have watching the story unfold on screen. It is also one of the bravest efforts in mainstream Hindi cinema to take the conventional storytelling and turn it on its head. It is part directed towards kids and part to adults who will marvel at the director’s craft. Disney has finally succeeded in telling a story which is typical Disney, yet with a flavor so local, you don’t once think of the Studio’s western origin. It is a live action film that draws inspiration from cartoon characters, chiefly Tintin. While Bollywood cinema are often called musicals, Jagga Jasoos is perhaps the most authentic one.
The story is Who Dunn it or rather, Who Did What? Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) is an orphan who finds a father figure in Bagchi (Saswata Chatterjee). Though Bagchi has to go away leaving Jagga alone, he always sends video greetings to Jagga on his birthday. When Jagga doesn’t receive a message on his birthday, he decides to investigate about his father’s whereabouts. He seeks and gets help from a journalist from Kolkata, Shruti Sen.
The story is revealed in layers. Scenes that happened early on are linked later to the main story adding an element of surprise. Nothing is what it seems. Bagchi seems to have problems with the law, yet he is working for the police. Saurabh Shukla is a Police Inspector who is playing game of his own and it’s hard to tell whether he is on the side of law or against till much later. If you think this makes the film dark and intense, nothing’s further from the truth. The film is presented as a stage drama of sorts. Singing out the dialogues adds another comic touch. Nothing is taken seriously, whether it’s a man who has been stabbed on a giant wheel or Jagga getting chased by international terrorists. Jagga fights bullets with pumpkins. The songs help is taking the film forward. Played outside the context of the film, some of them may not even make sense.
Ranbir Kapoor once again proves he can work wonders with the right script. The film rests heavily on him and not once does he disappoint. With a lessor actor as the leading man, the film could have failed miserably. Katrina Kaif is average. Anurag Basu deserves full credit for making his vision the mainstay of the film. Story is second to the experience here. The screen comes alive with Ravi Varman cinematography. It is beautiful, in keeping with Disney’s tradition of making everything tidier than what it would be in real life.
Not to say there are no downsides. The length of the film is it biggest flaw. The track of Katrina and the arms smuggling gang in Manipur is a distraction and does not add to the main story. The situations increasingly feel less and less plausible. Also, Anurag tries to cram in too many messages, diluting the impact of the main track. Perhaps, keeping the young viewers in mind, the romantic track is half baked.
Jagga Jasoos is a film that you may not think much about once the show ends, but it is one hell of a ride while it lasts. Definitely worth a watch.
Rating : 3/5
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee, Saurabh Shukla
Director: Anurag Basu