Jagga Jasoos : A view

Think of Chicago  the musical crime comedy and you’ll know the underlying essence of Jagga Jasoos. A narrative laced with about 30 odd songs and a visual treat. The authenticity would be greater if the main leads sung in their own voices.Closer home, I’d say its first of its kind in this scale, but let me remind you of an Amol Palekar classic Thoda Sa Roomani Jo Jayen. It was a masterpiece.

The lyrical style of narration was brilliantly done in Thoda Sa Roomani Ho Jayen, and it had powerful characters, with Nana doing a fabulous entry as “Barishkar” or Anita Kanwar pulling of a restrained but powerful Binni Rai.  Clearly, these two movies are not of the same genre ,class or impact, so can’t be compared at all, but this will give you an idea how brilliant the man Amol Palekar is. Salut.

Yet another example would be Hum Aap Ke Hain Koun. But lets not get there.

But we are not discussing that, lets think about Jagga Jasoos.

So Jagga Jasoos is a modern rendition of a musical adventure, right out of a comic book.Well that is the attempt. And it fairly succeeds in pulling that off. Mixing modern reality of illegal arms exchange in the backdrop of dreamy detective goofy chase. A bit extreme you think? Perhaps.

So let’s do a Q & A.

  • Is it worth a watch : Yes.
  • Is it original : Quite.
  • Does it tug at your heart : Somewhat.
  • Is it a great movie classic : Perhaps not.
  • Is it visually stunning: Absolutely. North East at its best.
  • Are the songs good : well its built into the storyline.
  • Is the acting good : in parts quite good.
  • Is it super funny : in parts it is.
  • Is it long : by about 40 mins or so.

I’m sure there are many more questions that can fit in, but I guess you get the drift. What works for the film is its fresh look. The locations are brilliant, and shot majestically. Some of the shots are quite well executed like the one when transitions happen onscreen , from one scene to another, they look nice.

The chemistry between the lead pair is fairly good, though the set up is such that there is less room for chemistry and more room for sugar candy romance. Saswata Chatterjee and Saurabh Shukla do their bit fairly well. They bring about the requisite believability in their characters.

The locations in North East India, like Manipur have been beautifully shot and one wonders, why these areas are not captured on celluloid a bit more often. The plot is episodic in nature, and almost jumps into the action quite early, A film needs to usher the viewer into its world gently in such narratives rather than a knee jerk reaction, clearly bearing in mind the majority audience mindset needs to be engaged like say how some of the Aamir Khan movies do.

You often get the feeling, there is too much happening in one frame. And I wouldn’t blame Anurag Basu, maybe that’s how we have become over the years as an audience expecting a certain pattern of movie unfolding. So when a movie comes along which challenges this notion, you don’t quite know how to react, and unfortunately in most cases, the reactions will be negative.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if mass media writes this movie off as a flop. But so was Lamhe, and so was Main Azaad Hoon, which were great movies which no one really understood at the time. Well may not be no one, but certainly a large portion of the Indian audience did not take to it kindly.

So Jagga Jasoon falls somewhat in that space. Where you cannot write it off as  classic bad movie, but you cannot call it a cult classic either. Anurag might argue, that perhaps that was never the intention. The intention was to make a lively narrative, which it certainly achieves, but gripping it is not, tugging at your heart it is not,  I guess Barfi had more such moments.

I just hope Jagga Jasoos makes enough money for Anurag Basu to make a sequel and a better one at that and also get the audience to be a bit more patient and appreciate different cinema. Yes sometimes they may not work, but you should watch it for the effort to churn out something different.The CGI is tacky towards the end, and the continuity lacks a bit, specially in Ranbir’s close shots. Katrina manages to maintain her doll -look throughout.

Overall,I would recommend you watch Jagga Jasoos, but certainly reset your expectations accordingly and not go in thinking it will be a Ran-Kat hot romantic comedy.