When I said I’m going to watch Jagga Jasoos, a couple of people I know almost smirked. “Kucch bhi dikhate hain – aise thodi hota hai?”, was a friend’s reaction. But I never listen to anybody when it comes to movies. I choose carefully and listen to my gut feeling – and I normally don’t go wrong! That is probably the reason why you won’t find any totally negative reviews from me.
So, coming back to Jagga Jasoos – I don’t know what to call it – a musical, a romantic comedy, an adventure? It has a little bit of all. An orphan, Jagga, raised by a person whose name or profession he doesn’t know at all, but loves him to the core. This father, in turn, gives Jagga the confidence to face the world, not be afraid to speak because he stutters; instead to use songs to speak so that the stutter goes away, and also teaches him the basics of a wide variety of subjects from chemistry to“detectivegiri”! The father then suddenly disappears and is presumed dead, but Jagga gets to the bottom of the matter with his detective skills and a little help from his journalist friend.
The lyrical dialogues are rather entertaining. Don’t expect a high quality musical like “Thoda sa Rumani ho jaye”, because there we had actual poetry as dialogues. But the impromptu songs the lad makes up to help him talk and convey a point are funny and crisp enough. The chemistry between Ranbir and Katrina is sizzling on screen, but Katrina’s diction is not! (He takes a dig at that too, in one of his songs!). A couple of songs are particularly memorable – “Hume usse Kya” and “Galti se mistake”. And only and only Ranbir Kapoor can look dishy in a pair of sack-like shorts, a nondescript shirt left untucked and peeking out from beneath a drab school uniform half-sweater! An absolute goofball look, similar to the one he had in Barfi! too. The narrative progresses as a story-telling session by Katarina to a bunch of children at a book fair. She is narrating the story of Jagga from his childhood days through to his adventure to find his father, through a series of “Jagga Jasoos” comic book stories. One also gets to see a couple of his other sleuthing adventures, though they are pretty sketchily done. But it’s interesting to see this narrative start off as a series of props on stage / sketches in the comic book and then come alive with actual characters. Almost like how one sees the pictures in comic books and mentally visualises the story!
The cinematography is brilliant. From Manipur to Kolkata to a place called Mombaca (I think, a fictional place somewhere in Africa) it’s a visual treat. The lush greenery of the Northeast, the laid-back, old world charm of Kolkata and the colourful city of Mombaca with its minarets, beautifully coloured clay-tiled houses and desert and sea backdrops is a smorgasbord of colours! And those beautiful shots of structures on tall stilts in Manipur are breathtaking! So are shots taken from high up to give a bird’s eye view of that picturesque town Ukhrul!
The comedy arising from two “bad lucky” persons being around Jagga sends you into splits! A goofball and two “bad lucky” companions give rise to just too many slapstick situations. The scene on the giant wheel where a murder takes place is epic! Murder and hilarity have not gone so well together in any film except for in “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron”!!
Anurag Basu always has something different to offer! One cannot slot him as the director of a particular type of films! Life in a Metro, Gangster, Barfi! And now this one! The commercial success for each one of these has been limited, and critical acclaim also might have varied ( he also gave us a disaster called Kites), but he definitely makes interesting films!
I would rate this a 4/5. Light, lyrical, funny and beautiful to watch!