Every once in a while there comes a film that dares to take the road less traveled and in the process create cinematic history. Jagga Jasoos undoubtedly stands tall in the prestigious league of films that are destined for greatness.
The early reviews by commercial critics had written off Jagga Jasoos even before release. Top Indian critics such as Tarun Adarsh had called the film, “Unbearable” and “Boring.” Yet, the audiences have showered that same film with love and appreciation. Their word of mouth has enabled Jagga Jasoos to steadily grow over its first weekend after a rather slow start. This truly goes to prove two important points: (1) audiences have a better knack for good cinema than commercial critics (who’d rather give Rowdy Rathore 4 stars than bestow Jagga Jasoos with even 3!); and (2) when a product is made with the love and care that is evident in every frame of Jagga Jasoos, it is bound to prevail over all negativity.
The film follows the adventures of Jagga, a young boy, whose inquisitive nature and natural flair for solving crimes often lands him into dangerous situations. However, even in the most precarious of circumstances, Jagga’s quick wit allows him to sing his way through the peril – in the process giving the audiences many thoroughly entertaining sequences to applaud.
Jagga finds himself in the midst of an international conspiracy when he sets out on a quest to locate his father who has been missing for over a decade. He seeks the help of investigative journalist, Shruti (Katrina Kaif) to accompany him on this journey, because well, she and his father are both “Bad-lucky” (you’ll have to watch the film to understand this endearing reference).
Since Jagga Jasoos is an uninterrupted musical, it might take a viewer a few minutes to adjust to its style of narration. However, one is quickly engrossed in the mysteries that form the foundation of the film and soon begins to look forward to the musical narration.
To say that the production value of the film is excellent would be an understatement. Every frame is a visual treat and speaks volumes about the effort put into making Jagga Jasoos the theatrical marvel that it is. The sharp colors – a Disney trademark; the exotic locations, the brilliant cinematography, the spontaneous choreography and the animated characters all blend in very well to make the film a larger than life experience.
From the word go it is obvious that the director has complete command over his craft. Anurag Basu ensures that at no point does his film seem unsure of where its headed and no character seems forced or unnecessary. Half an hour into the film you realize that Jagga Jassos – with its back and forth narration, its non-stop adventure and uninterrupted music – must have been a tall order to deliver. But Basu does what no South Asian filmmaker has dared in recent memory with such effortlessness that you fall in love with the director’s vision and find yourself entirely lost in Jagga’s colourful world.
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Along with direction, acting is certainly Jagga Jasoos’s high point. Ranbir Kapoor gives yet another flawless performance. His character is at once sharp and vulnerable, full of life and heart-broken; witty and at a loss of words. Ranbir, like a master shapeshifter eases from one mood to the other with a comfort that is rare among even the most seasoned actors. At no point during the film do you feel that you’re watching the super star; Jagga consumes Ranbir and he allows his character to takeover his star persona without any resistance.
Who says Katrina Kaif can’t act? Sure she has an accent but she also has great comic timing that makes the audience laugh out loud throughout the film’s run. She does complete justice to her defiant yet emotionally guarded character and her honest performance speaks for itself.
Saswata Chatterjee‘s Bagchi and Saurabh Shukla‘s Sinha are two characters that despite their dark back stories still manage to endear the audience. Chatterjee (as the forlorn father longing to be reunited with his son and the unlucky secret agent) performs both shades of his role with immense conviction. Shukla with his deep understanding of his complicated, villainous character makes every scene in which he’s present a treat for the spectators.
Since, the film is an uninterrupted musical, the composer has a much more important role to play in Jagga Jasoos than the regular Bollywood outings. Pritam does not disappoint. Whether its a full-length song or a musical conversation, the melodies inspire the precise emotion that the director is striving to invoke in his audience. Each song has a hum-along value to it ensuring that you leave the theater with your head still buzzing with “Ghaliti sy Mistake” or “Tukka.” A special mention for the film’s background score that perfectly compliments the adventure-driven narrative.
In a nutshell, with Jagga Jasoos Anurag Basu and his team have created magic on the big screen. That said, at the end of the day, India, Jagga Jasoos is your film and whether or not it receives the appreciation that it deserves is entirely up to you. As far as this Pakistani critic is concerned, please go and watch because I would really like to see its sequel!
* – I just threw up
** – Meh!
*** – One time watch
**** – Just a little short of genius
***** – Why are you still sitting here? Go watch!