Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee, Saurabh Shukla
Direction: Anurag Basu
‘Jagga Jasoos’ is a well-intentioned musical adventure that takes too long to unravel. In fact, you completely lose the plot by the time the climax rolls around. But wait! Is there a plot at all?
Now, here’s a mystery that needs some solving.
Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor had previously collaborated on ‘Barfi’ (2012) – the film had deaf-mute hero (Ranbir Kapoor) and an autistic female lead (Priyanka Chopra) and yet, had one of the most coherent narratives of that year.
And that is essentially what this film lacks – coherence.
The first half feels like you are living out an Enid Blyton adventure – like the Five Find-Outers or the Secret Seven – where a curious stuttering boy uses his unconventional ways to solve the mysteries of his quaint little town. The setting is picturesque – like the beautiful sketches in a well-illustrated children’s novel. The charm however is restricted to merely the visual space.
Once set, the narrative progresses to tackle the actual plot (or lack thereof). And this is where things veer out of control.
The starting point is the Purulia arms drop case of 1995 when a large cache of arms and ammunition was dropped down from a Latvian aircraft in broad daylight. While the operation was shrouded in speculation and mystery, it is too far gone in the past to evoke any interest among the young, which is presumably the target audience of this venture. The circuitous route that the filmmakers adopt to pursue the modalities of the case are simply tedious. With a runtime of 165 minutes, the film is at times sleep inducing.
Undoubtedly, Ranbir’s bag of tricks is spilling over, but for how long can he hope to rely on solely his antics?
Jagga and his relationship with his father make for some of the best moments.
Saswata Chatterjee and the boy make the unusual father-son bond look fun and heartwarming.
Katrina is entrusted with the role of a resourceful journalist, who is also a goofball of sorts. The trouble is, she doesn’t have the comic timing of a Juhi Chawla or a Sridevi and, therefore, is totally inept with her brief. She just fails to amuse.
Which takes me back to ‘Barfi’, in which the silences between the hero and the rest spoke volumes. Here, all the singing and witty rhyming just doesn’t manage to convey the essence of this story.
I feel there is a genuine need for films that look beyond conventional love-stories and revenge-sagas. ‘Jagga Jasoos’ attempts the fun adventure genre and is visually appealing, but it leaves one wanting for more.
I was actually rooting for the success of the film and I am heartbroken that it seems so damn confused from the get-go.
Anurag Basu’s flight of fantasy just doesn’t take off.
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