Jagga Jasoos movie review LIVE: Ranbir Kapoor in top form; desi Disney caper's second half is a letdown
Having watched many musicals (Grease, Chicago, La La land, Mamma Mia! to name a few) I walked into Jagga Jasoos knowing what to expect, and I was not disappointed. The movie jumps into its musical genre straight off the bat.
We see Katrina Kaif in a teacher's avatar as she narrates the adventures of Jagga to young students around her. All the stories are mostly told through song and dance. Her role seems to be fairly basic initially — dramatised narration in a simple yet effective manner.
We soon come to the first twist in the tale: the man we were led to believe was Jagga's father is actually his foster parent. The young Jagga had saved this man's life after he fell out of a train.
To be honest, Jagga Jasoos hooked me right from the first 20 minutes. The story was told in an effortless manner, showing that this Bollywood musical had got it right. In the same 20 minutes, I also found myself shedding a premature tear (at the separation of Jagga from his father, which is the crux of the movie). The state of Manipur makes for a gorgeous backdrop for this segment of the story.
Little Jagga grows up to be the man we love, and Ranbir Kapoor takes over the baton from the child actor who's done a great job of essayig the character thus far.
Jagga Jasoos is turning out to be a pleasant surprise, and I'm quite eager for the rest of the film to unravel.
It seems as if Katrina Kaif's role has been written very cleverly. Her character Shruti has been given just the right amount of dialogue and screen time so that her onscreen presence is enjoyable. Kaif takes on the role of the 'goofball' with ease; however the 'clumsiness' of her character seems slightly overdone.
Ranbir Kapoor assumes the character of Jagga as though its a second skin, once again showing us his killer acting chops.
The movie is rightly playing out to be the musical adventure-drama that it promised us it would be. The lyrics of the songs are actually well thought out, peppered with enough comic relief that makes the audience break out in genuine chuckles.
The one negative I can point to, is that narrative is unravelling in a manner that makes the major plot points seem a little predictable. However this too has its positive, as being a viewer, it keeps me invested in the story. I found myself constantly trying to guess — 'what next?'
Another thing that's slightly unbelievable is Ranbir portraying a school kid. While there are plenty of school boys who would look like Ranbir in today's day and age, the casting of all the other schoolkids (his friends) seems a little off. If Anurag Basu really wanted us to accept Ranbir in the role of a teenager, the least he could've done was surround him with other 30 year olds pretending to be kids!
Post-interval, Saurabh Shukla returns to our screen in his quintessential funny bad guy avatar — invariably bringing in an element of comedy into the story's narration.
The second half of the movie shifts focus from the previous general mysteries of Jagga Jasoos, and shines the spotlight on the mystery surrounding Jagga's foster father Badal Bagchi (fondly called Tutti Futti in the movie).
After Shukla orders a hit against Tutti Futti, the news of his apparent death reaches Jagga through a well-placed obituary in the newspaper by Shukla himself (he needs to meet Jagga due to a clichéd parcel mix-up upon which the plot of the movie rests in the latter half).
In the interests of not revealing spoilers, we won't be dwelling on the plot now.
What we will say, is that the second half isn't as spiffy as the first, and there are parts of Jagga Jasoos that seem like they're dragging (but only slightly) — moments in which the narrative could've been much swifter and fast-paced.
However hope is not lost, as the entire concept on which the premise of this movie rests, is surprisingly fresh.
It's also interesting to see the vibe that is shared between Ranbir and Katrina, seeing as how their characters mostly don't share a romantic relationship (although there was an awkward attempt at introducing that angle, however I'll give the scriptwriters the benefit of the doubt and chalk that up to the natural reaction when two people spend a lot of time in each other's company).
Even though the movie was delayed in its path to the theatres, having been shot over a long period of time and released with an even longer delay, the narrative of Jagga Jasoos flows smoothly and easily. Scene continuity is in place as is the general storyline.
The one thing that sticks out in the film is a really fake scene, where the cinematography is dreadful. We see Jagga and Shruti riding on the backs of ostriches and it's clearly shot in a studio with a film reel running in the background!
The last 15 minutes of the Jagga Jasoos do get a little ridiculous and as a member of the audience, I found some sequences a little too hard to swallow (there's a dated scene of learning how to fly a plane, guns working in reverse etc).
Even then, the movie continues to have interesting elements: having been shot in Morocco with the locals, the setting of the second half is very colourful and culturally rich.
The concluding half of Jagga Jasoos unravels a lot of the hard work that was done by Anurag Basu and the actors until then. The movie takes on a slightly unbelievable and fantastical quality that's a damper on the viewing experience. Slapstick sequences are introduced where Jagga and Shruti are flying planes and entering terrorist bases — all in an unrealistic manner.
Disney goes desi with the storytelling, and the songs are among the only things that keep Jagga Jasoos going in its final stretch.
Anurag Basu is seen trying to introduce his beloved serious drama-thriller element (previously seen in Life in a Metro, Murder, Gangster) with a Disney twist. However, this falls flat in the final analysis.
Basu's directorial venture pans out as a good effort in the musical film genre, however it seems like the makers of Jagga Jasoos got bored during the second half and let just about anything fly.
Jagga Jasoos ends with a cliffhanger, paving the path for a sequel, and we can expect a reprisal of Ranbir's Sherlock Homes-inspired role sometime in the future.