It was worth the wait! Anurag Basu's long-time-in-waiting Jagga Jasoos is a comic, musical drama the likes of which you haven't seen in a cinema theater in a long time.
Ironically, Jagga Jasoos could well be the Andaz Apna Apna of our times, a film that will slowly burn into mass audience hearts. There are a lot of elements undermining the film though.
Simple-Complex Story Mixtape
Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor), an orphan kid growing up in a hospital, sulks through life in stammers and silences. Then the 1995 Purulia arms drop incident happens. On a quiet, bright day, Jagga saves 'Tutti Futti' (broken bones, rotten luck), a mysterious middle-aged man. As Tutti Futti recovers, he also instills in Jagga a confidence and curiosity for life, asking him to sing his words.
Soon Tutti and Jagga are a happy pair, living together. Their clumsy foster father-curious son chemistry is the film's best part. But the shadow of the arms drop case forces Tutti to wish a broken-hearted Jagga goodbye.
Jagga now infuses his lonely, boarding school loneliness into the art of detection. How he solves two cases is convincing, creatively depicted. The coming of investigative journalist Shruti (Katrina Kaif) seems more to fill the mandatory heroine role. Soon, circumstances lead Jagga in search for his lost father.
Genuine Moments, Jumbled Final Act
Ambitious and pioneering cinema is always a huge risk, yet Basu almost pulls off a new signature comic drama musical.This is new, daring, unchartered territory. He attempts to weave here a simple lost-found, father-son-companion mix into a serious intriguing story. But there are too many elements at play here. The thumbs down factor is making it a wannabe kids film.
The second half stumbles and rushes through much-contrived action (a huge downer), almost overdoing the film's fantasy, comic book treatment premise. The uneven rushed finale is a worry, so is the sequel-promising ending.
Ranbir Kapoor Rules
Building up an engaging character, a variation of their Barfi (2012) partnership, Ranbir Kapoor is spot on and mercurial, the film's life and soul. The Tintin-like detective turn needed more screen time. Katrina Kaif barely passes muster, though her accent is explained off, she doesn't match up to Ranbir. Saswata Chatterjee is impressive as Jagga's dad, as is Saurabh Shukla and rest of the supporting cast.
The soundtrack drapes the film in celebration. With Jagga's dialogues set to music, Pritam is in his element here. Amitabh Bhattacharya's lyrics are a riot, so is the Neelsh Mishra penned Jhumritaliayya. Arijit Singh dazzles through the songs, showing a more complete, polished side of his vocals, steps ahead from mandatory love songs.
Ahead of its time?
Finally, Jagga Jasoos is a light-hearted entertaining film that needs an audience. That it doesn't string back to our turbulent times and lives in its own candy-sugar world, despite the conspiracy angle, could affect the film's box-office prospects.
A rocking musical, great detective bits, undeniably funny, unimpressive sub-plots, part-masterpiece and in no way ordinary, Jagga Jasoos is a reaffirmation of Anurag Basu's passion for against-the-tide cinema. Just for cinema's sake, and the fact that I loved most of the film, I hope Jagga Jasoos does great business. My verdict, don't miss it! There is so much heart and courage here, despite the flaws.