The journey of Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) who is an amateur detective and someone who has a stammering problem the film essentially revolves around Jagga’s search for his father who deserted him at a very young age. Katrina Kaif is a senior correspondent who is trying to bust an illegal arms racket and crosses paths with Jagga while both of them are trying to crack the same case.
Just like Basu’s crticially acclaimed ‘Barfi’ this film is another exhibition of borrowed craft & borrowed vision remember ‘Barfi’ had many references and even direct lifts from Charlie Chaplin or Marx Brothers classics but while Basu has mastered the craft of delivering beautiful sequences with impeccable frames & a very rich cinematic experience he clearly faltered while working on a large scale film with several convoluted sub-plots.
There are several sequences in the film which were simply not required for example Katrina being the narrator or an introduction to Jagga’s investigative skills by getting him to solve a random murder committed near his school. Even if he was making a film for children there is no excuse for such simplistic and cliched writing, a filmmaker should never take his audience for granted and it seems like Basu either underestimated or is completely unaware of the material that kids are exposed to in this generation. The first half of the film is simply not engaging enough as the plot hops skips and jumps from the narrator to Jagga’s younger days to building and introducing his character.
It seems like Basu romanticized with idea of making a musical a bit too much and in his romance he overlooked the loose ends and glaring holes in the script which could not be covered by low level Broadway type execution & happy go lucky treatment.
Ranbir Kapoor hailed Anurag Basu as the best director in India while promoting this film, Basu is good at adapting western techniques but Ranbir will realise that Rajkumar Hirani is the best we’ve got cause he understands content and narrative. (So looking forward to the ‘Dutt’ biopic) Ranbir Kapoor is in top form, I told him he seemed possessed when I saw the first rushes of the film, nothing but total commitment from one B’woods finest actors. Katrina Kaif also does justice to her character, the support cast especially Sawata Chatterjee as Jagga’s father is splendid.
The second half is the real soul of this film as the script follows one direction and Basu doesn’t make the stars wander in empty spaces, Jagga packs his bags and leaves in search of his father. A circus train in a desert, giraffes, aboriginal Kenyan tribes some laughs and a lot of action, Basu adds a range of elements to pep up the film and does succeed for the most part but by then the scenes start to seem hurried and added simply for effect.
Shiamik Davar & Pritam have done an outstanding job with the choreography and background score. Im going with 2.5 out of five for Jagga Jasoos, a film made with a lot of love and supreme effort, still, so close yet so far.