STARRING: RANBIR KAPOOR, KATRINA KAIF, SASWATA CHATTERJEE, SAURABH SHUKLA
DIRECTOR: ANURAG BASU
3 years in the making. One expected nothing short of a masterpiece from the dream team of Ranbir Kapoor and Anurag Basu. The trailers looked extremely promising and you knew you are going to get something that has never been seen before on Indian screens. On that point, Basu delivers and how. Unfortunately, the overall product leaves you mesmerized but is not accomplished enough to leave you utterly satisfied.
Anurag Basu is one smart story teller. Much like Barfi, a simple story has been told in the most innovative way which gives the film its USP. In fact, there are many things which is reminiscent of Barfi here. But this time the writer in Basu fails to create the same impact. He relies too much on his ability to create alluring visuals and maybe that is why fails to fine tune the story which keeps on meandering. The prime plot is sufficiently intriguing for a film in the detective genre but there is so much else crammed into it that it distracts you and tires you until you start to lose interest. The whimsical treatment can only take a film so far and after that the film misses a strong core to fall back on.
There are way too many plot holes and flimsily done sequences for the adults to take it seriously and the plot is too convoluted for kids to follow. In an attempt to strike that balance, Basu sacrifices coherence and logic which makes the film seem silly even when it is not trying to be. There are portions where Basu’s style of non-linear narration does increase the intrigue factor and keeps you guessing but at other times the film just jumps from one point to another and an explanation is never offered which proves fatal for the detective plot.
The romantic track of Katrina and Ranbir feels a bit awkward and Jagga being a school boy is a fact that remains undigested throughout the length of the film. What works is the emotional bits of the story, namely the father-son relationship. It is the most endearing portion of the film and under the helm of Basu it is taken to another level. The man knows how to tug at your heartstrings.
Despite its flaw in the plot, it is highly unfair to judge the film just on it. The way the world of Jagga has been created on screen, screams of boundless imagination and supreme creativity. Every frame is delectably designed and you can see the sweat and blood of the team in every scene. All of the technical department, be it art, cinematography or choreography have outdone themselves and come up with a film which leaves you spellbound by its visuals. Basu shows his flair of visual mastery yet again and a lot of the film is narrated through just breathtaking and skillfully detailed visuals.
Technical aspects are not the only thing that works. The film has an endearing quality which lingers throughout and even when the film gets exhausting its uniqueness keeps you engaged to some level. The film does not work as a whole but there are lone moments which do impress you. It is never easy to make a musical and of that the film does a good job. There are plenty of sequences which warrant your attention and are extremely engaging. And the good thing for the film is that the moments that work are much more than the ones that don’t.
Anurag Basu let’s his indulgence get the better of him. If not for that the film would have been a triumph in every way. It’s bloated run time tires you and in his attempt to fit one more pretty looking shot, he makes the film unfocussed and convoluted. Despite this he should be lauded for having the courage to embark on something as challenging as this. He may have fallen short of expectations yet has accomplished so much that very few would have without his caliber.
Ranbir Kapoor is also a big reason that the film never completely stalls. Even in the dullest of the portions of the film you remain hooked to this man’s sincerity with which he brings Jagga to life. He does not have one off note in the performance and just take the film to another level. Kudos to him to have the courage to back up a film like this. Katrina Kaif looks pretty and provides able support to Jagga. She may not be remarkable but you also don’t fail to notice her. Saurabh Shukla is at his usual best at the antagonist of the film. Saswata Chatterjee is the next best thing in the film after Ranbir. He is the emotional core of the film and wins you over with his vulnerability.
Music by Pritam is in a league of its own. Music is perhaps the most important element of a musical extravaganza and he does full justice to it and then some more. He is equally responsible for the magic on screen that happens as much is the director or the actors. Choreography by Shiamak Davar also needs to be lauded for its sheer ingenuity.
Jagga Jasoos is a film so unique and wonderful yet so flawed that I will not recommend it wholeheartedly but it will also break my heart if a film like this does not get the recognition that it deserves for its audacity to do something so different even if it fails. A film that left me exhausted but still won over my heart.