By: Omair Alavi
Jagga Jasoos is one of those films that entertain a certain class of people. If you aren’t passionate about fashion, if you don’t care about music, if you don’t believe in fantasy and if you aren’t fond of mysteries, then stay away from this Anurag Basu flick. It will hit your heart with a dose of all but since they are scattered all over the 3-hour duration, you have to ‘sit along’ with patience to come out with a smile on your face.
Jagga Jasoos (Ranbir Kapoor) loves mysteries so when his foster father (Saswata Chatterjee) fails to send him a birthday video cassette, he becomes suspicious and with the help of a reporter friend (Katrina Kaif), embarks on a journey that would lead them to Africa. What makes the plot interesting is that Shruti and Tooti Phooti (Katrina & Chatterjee) both share the same bad luck and that is something Jagga uses for his benefit. There is a Dr. Claw-inspired villain, who sends his henchmen in search for Tooti since he knows too much about them and could be a threat to their ‘world’ domination.
The cinematography of the film is the redeeming feature as it is one thing that doesn’t irritate the audience. The over the top acting of Saswata Chatterjee, Katrina Kaif and last but not the least Ranbir Kapoor doesn’t stay with you when you leave the cinema; the natural beauty captured by Ravi Varman does. Saurabh Shukla is the only actor worth remembering as he steals the show just as he had done in Satya and Jolly LLB series. He doesn’t look like a villain but his acts aren’t noble either – the way he reacts to things happening around him is just wonderful. The script at times gives you hints of brilliance but the very moment it disappoints; there are over 25 songs in the film and most of them are narrations by Jagga Jasoos so if you like such films, go for it. In such films, sound design plays an important role and Anurag Basu must be commended for giving it his best shot otherwise the effort would have gone down the drain.
The story looks great on paper but when executed falls flat as the director wastes the first half in establishing that Jagga has a stammer, he studies in a school, had a rough childhood, sings instead of speaking to forget the stutter, loves to solve mysteries and how he met Shruti. The disappearance of his father happens at the interval that comes way after you doze off in cinema. Then there is a case of the missing video tape in 2017 – most youngsters don’t even know what a video tape is! Saswata Chatterjee plays Jagga’s father when someone more famous, even a Kapoor, could have played it. The guy is shown to be accident-prone but then he was also a journalist where you need all the good luck. The audience is told that he uncovered a conspiracy by mistake which seems far-fetched and coincidental. At times, it seems he is over-acting just to get his shot at glory. The Broadway musical touch the film has is attractive to those who still love Merry Melodies cartoons but not to the new age public, the attention span of which doesn’t exceed 2 hours. The canvas created by the director is too colourful but when you use ‘Dissolve’ technique to counter your inconsistencies (even after 3 years of filming and production), then it looks bad on screen. The Visual Effects in a few scenes are so pathetic that you feel like exiting the theatre (they are not even riding the Ostrich!). The number of lifted sequences from Hollywood classics Back To The Future, Ace Ventura and Indiana Jones as well as TV show Perfect Strangers will break all the concentration required to watch the movie.
Verdict – 2/5
This film will attract certain kind of people – the Ranbir Kapoor fans, the Katrina Kaif followers, the Anurag Basu clan. The ‘bad luck’ Katrina Kaif is shown to be carrying throughout the flick is actually Ranbir Kapoor’s who has been delivering more flops than hits despite being talented and hard-working. As the director rightly points out, the left side of the brain performs the logical reasoning we do and it seems his left side was on a vacation when he was making Jagga Jasoos. One hopes that Ranbir’s next film – a Sanjay Dutt biopic – might change the flow of his bad luck but till then, we should take JJ as another bad move and do exactly as the characters sang in chorus – khana kha kay, daru pi kay chalay gaye!
Story first published: 17th July 2017