Visually appealing, but not entertaining

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 15 Jul 2017 11:14:23

 By Aasawari Shenolikar

Conceptualised by the talented Anurag Basu, this detective story is set as a musical, the first of its kind in Bollywood. Does it work? Only in parts. For, when every dialogue is being sung as a song, not all will find this mode of communication enjoyable. Basu’s story deals with the emotional bond between Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) and Badal Bagchi (Saswata Chatterjee), his foster father. Jagga is an intelligent and astute boy, but because he stammers, he is pretty low on the confidence level. Bagchi, whom Jagga fondly calls Tutti Futti, tells him the secret of overcoming the stammering problem. ‘Let your thoughts flow like a song. What you cannot say, express it by singing,’ is Bagchi’s advice to Jagga. One day, the father walks off into the sunset, promising Jagga that he will return. Alas! All that Jagga can do is wait. This, thus, forms the crux of the musical.

Shruti Sengupta (Katrina Kaif), a journalist by profession, whom Jagga saves from umpteen attacks during an investigative story that she is doing, acts as a narrator and unravels the story of Jagga, a Tintinesque self-proclaimed detective who doesn’t sit still till he gets to the bottom of each mysterious event that happens in his vicinity. He undertakes the most dangerous and important mission of his life with Shruti. The mission of finding his father, whom many claim, is dead. Jagga doesn’t believe them and he goes from one locale to another, in the process travelling to far flung places, in the hope of locating his father.

It is the brilliant cinematography that first hooks the viewer. Then the music captivates and takes you into an adventurous journey dominated by Jagga and his mystery solving capabilities. The first half zips past because it's a refreshing change from the regular fare. Basu falters in the second half and the movie plummets, in the process wiping off what it had gained in the first half. After the interval, the movie becomes interminably long and it tests your patience to sit through a plot that has lost all its appeal.

Visually, Jagga Jasoos is a masterpiece, performance wise it's great, but the plot meanders and you are completely at sea trying to decipher who is the enemy and who is the ally - is it about Maoists, or is it about Arms Deal? A young girl questions Katrina ‘Why should we fret about what Purulia arms drop case is?’ I’d like to pose a similar question to the director, ‘Why make such a mish mash of the plot?’ Cinematic liberties are taken by filmmakers to put across their point, but here the director goes a step further and bases his story on implausible situations, where the duo, in foreign locales, without passport and money are able to fend for themselves, dodge enemy bullets, fly planes (he learnt flying a plane in a library?!! Huh!!), drive a train, ride ostriches … and the list goes on. Wherever they get off from their preferred mode of transport, there is another mode of transportation ready to take them away from the bullets whizzing past them. They enter enemy camps where dreaded gangsters are dealing in arms, they manage to dislodge their plans, and escape with not a scratch on their bodies. One is a teenager, still in school and the other is a bumbling reporter. Yet, they take on the world's most dreaded rogues. If Basu had focused more on the story than the exotic locales, he would have been abel to sustain some interest in the story.

Music is a ‘live character’ in this musical. Kudos to Pritam for the music and Arijit, who has lent his voice to most of the songs. The duo deserve a standing ovation for the fantastic job. It is the songs in the first half that take the story forward. Most are pleasing to the ears, but it is Galti Se Mistake that stands out for its conceptualisation.

Ranbir Kapoor is the soul of the movie. He excels - be it an emotional scene or a comical take - Ranbir’s performance once again endorses the fact that he is a very fine actor. Katrina does what she is best known for - look gorgeous. Saswata Chatterjee, Saurabh Shukla and Rajatava Chatterjee - all great actors, know their art well and do complete justice to their respective roles. But the story needs to be as strong as the performances. In Jagga Jasoos, it is not the case.

Just before the interval, Katrina, who is narrating Jagga’s story to a bunch of kids, asks them “Bore ho gaya na?” Tab tak nahin hue thay, but post interval, it was tedious to sit through and watch the antics unfold.

The Hitavada Rating: O 1/2

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