Delayed for the longest time, surrounded by multiple controversies and introduced by a underwhelming trailer, let us clear the air about what Jagga Jasoos is NOT. It is not a silly and shallow ride through nonsensical discoveries of the lead pair. It is not even about their chemistry or love story. There might be resemblances, but it is nothing like Barfi or Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani either.
Jagga Jasoos is an ambitious and experimental musical made with great passion and love. A story of a curious young boy who is on a quest to find his foster father while solving other mysteries on his way. In one of the first few scenes, we see the father explaining his speech impaired son, the power of the right brain. This helps little Jagga fight his stuttering through music, and this is also how Anurag Basu chooses to paint his vivid dreamlike imagination on to the cinematic canvas, through his magical right brain. His story is narrated to us through a series of three comics much like the adventures of Tintin. Katrina as Shruti Sengupta as the storyteller might not be the best choice here. She plays a clumsy journalist who supposedly is a magnet to frivolous bad luck, sadly that rubs off to her contribution to the film as well. The first half is magnificent and unlike anything, Bollywood has seen. A fantasy ride of emotions, in the form of a musical that indulges you to smile and giggle at childlike comics. The simplicity in the narration allows you to excuse logic and uninhibitedly dive into the world of Jagga. Sadly the intent to create a quirky fun filled thriller becomes overly detailed and crammed in the second half. The randomness becomes less cute and the pace gets almost sleep inducing.
Ranbir as Jagga is the heart and soul of this experience. He doesn’t play Jagga, he lives him alive. He makes all his whims lovable and does it as effortlessly as ever. Veteran Saswat Chatterjee as the father is music to Jagga’s Lyrics. These two together are half the reason for you to believe in this fairytale. Katrina is a clear misfit, placing her next to Ranbir only pronounces her inabilities as a lead even further. What is inevitable to JJ is the brilliantly done infectious music by Pritam and the breathtaking cinematography by Ravi Varman. It is amazing how simple dialogue ‘Sab khana khake daaru pike chale gaye’ turns into a song and then into a life lesson. The magnificent landscapes and the chase sequences through West Bengal, Manipur and the fictitious Mombaca offer a cinematic experience of the likes of Indiana Jones.
For a country that is worldwide known for its song and dance cinema, it is sad that we had to wait this long for a rightly done ‘musical’. While it still might not crack the BO numbers, it is applaudable to create a comedy that meets thriller in a musical with a backdrop of a serious crime. Must watch for kids, even the kids in you that refuse to grow up.