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JAGGA JASOOS - An innovative, path-breaking attempt that could have been a game-changer in a better version. (Review by Bobby Sing)

16 Jul, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / J

Hindi Films have been deeply associated and known for their song and dance sequences right from the beginning of talkies in the country. But despite that fact, it’s quite ironical that the genre of musicals still remains unexplored here and the attempted films have been criticized for having a nonsensical kind of progression missing the typical dialogues. So at one end, the makers are condemned if they have no songs in the film and on the other they get ridiculed when they have too many of them as a musical, resulting in a funny as well as confusing contradiction in our Hindi cinema.
 
Thankfully Anurag Basu yet again bravely attempts to change the scenario along with the immensely talented Ranbir (post BARFI), but their collective effort sadly doesn’t turn out to be a highly entertaining or well-written/presented film in its entirety interestingly titled JAGGA JASOOS. Conceived as a unique tale incorporating elements of comedy, thrill, mystery, action and adventure, this is a kind of crazy but passionate on-screen journey that is sure to find extreme responses from the people following their own choices.
 
Exploring an important subject carelessly, the film begins with the real life arms-dropping case of Purulia district in West Bengal (in the mid-90s). It then swiftly moves into the childhood & school experiences of Jagga before turning into a fast-paced, comic-book kind of spy adventure, wherein the two protagonists search for a person visiting various cities and countries, exactly like the story progression found in world famous TINTIN adventure books (the hair style and the film’s poster remind you of Tintin too).
 
However, the unusual exclusive feature here remains its rarely-tried-before narration focusing on the characters singing their expressions instead of the routine dialogues, that honestly makes you feel a little restless in the beginning adjusting to the new norm. In short, JAGGA JASOOS is weird and illogical, yet visually beautiful, melodious and entertaining at times resulting in an above-average film from a creative director following his own childhood dreams & experiences.

Its Key Merits

The film has madness written all over it but a positive and happier kind of madness served with some foot-tapping numbers (composed by Pritam) born out of various situations in the script like 'Galti Se Mistake’, ‘Ullu Ka Pathha’ & ’Khana Kha Ke’. The storytelling is inventive and experimental, presented in a musical language following the pattern of a comic book divided into various chapters. And Amitabh Bhattacharya (lyrics) is at his creative best in certain sequences and songs.
 
The film is a visually stunning experience, collectively well-designed by the director, art director and cinematographer transporting you into their colourful panels of an appealing comic book. It takes time to grow due to the novel presentation, but once the child in you takes over the grown-up mind, one starts enjoying the film after the understandable initial hiccups.
 
The emotional bond between the father-son makes an impression in the first few minutes itself (watch out for the scene where the young boy gifts an old school table to an aged person). Saswata Chatterjee excels both as a father and an agent (he is a delight to watch) but the one actor who actually keeps you engrossed throughout is Ranbir Kapoor, who unarguably is one of the finest young stars of the present Hindi film industry. In fact, he is the one who chooses his projects (pushing the envelope) for his own personal satisfaction as an actor and is not really interested in doing the routine robotic roles.
 
As a thinking artist, he refuses to bow down to the commercial dictators of the field and does what he feels will benefit him as a creative thinker and performer. Though this time too, the script or the writing betrays him (as usual), unable to provide the much needed support. But he still gives you a lot to cheer for in the film spreading an infectious spirit of ‘serving the inner passion’. JAGGA JASSOS would certainly have not been possible without Ranbir on board.
 
The minuses

The biggest problem with the film is that it tries to present too many things in its 160+ minutes of duration, tries to say so much and that too in an unconventional form creating an avoidable mess. The emotional connect gets lost after the first 15 minutes and never returns in the later part. Plus the classroom session of storytelling doesn’t work at all. At times it appears to be a typical theatrical presentation stepping into the clichéd ‘save-the-world’ zone. And the first half doesn’t even have the actual story commencing for a good one hour.

The world cinema inspirations are again there in an Anurag Basu film (Tintin, Ace Ventura and more) but this time he takes care of not inserting too many of them in an exactly similar form. As a musical, it only offers a few catchy songs to enjoy and the rest fail to impress or keep you glued to the screen, which is the most important factor to be taken care of in a dedicated musical. The film looks like a mistake when many lackluster songs pop up one after another taking the story forward. Wish the film had many more foot-tapping numbers as the three mentioned above..

It seems the makers had many last moment issues in post-production and the film’s final edit. At times dubbing is strange, lip synch is out and it goes into over-length too resulting in boredom testing your patience at regular intervals. The film’s screenplay keeps moving from one point to another without any logical reasoning and then gets into a preachy mode too towards the end.

Among the actors, though Saurab Shukla is good, he is frankly playing a repetitive kind of role done several times before, comically following the hero. Katrina Kaif just looks pretty and contributes nothing in the film like a forced miscast playing an investigative journalist. If truth be told, then she stands nowhere in comparison to the spirited performance of Ranbir, especially in the second half. And then we have a seriously absurd concluding scene pointing towards the questionable over-confidence of the makers taking the viewers for granted.
 
In a nutshell, though JAGGA JASOOS might not be a thoroughly entertaining, comic adventure due to its bigger shortcomings, it still remains a worth appreciating attempt by the team experimenting with a rare genre in Hindi cinema, superbly led by Ranbir Kapoor.
 
Many might not like the film at all due to its dedicated musical format, but it surely deserves to be seen once for its aesthetic appeal and novelty supporting the courageous effort.

Putting it differently, there are only two ways of watching JAGGA JASOOS and enjoying its appreciable moments.

A. If you watch it activating the right side of your brain. (The opening moments of the film will make this statement more clear)
B. If you still have the child ‘alive’ in you (who once loved or still loves reading comic books).

And the choice is all yours.
 
(The article also got featured in UC-News mobile app in July 2017)
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Shared below are views - Beyond the initial review with some more interesting insights.
 
As an exceptional team work JAGGA JASOOS truly shows a strong will to make a breakthrough exploring a rarely tried genre in Hindi cinema of ‘a dedicated musical’. The attempt is no doubt a praiseworthy one, but it does lack a lot in terms of commercial requirement of a project, capable of entertaining the audience, now habitual of watching their typical Hindi film with its key essential elements.
 
Having said that, it’s unarguably a big irony that in an industry known for its films full of songs and dances, we don’t have even five committed musicals to name that have been widely accepted by the viewers becoming big hits at the box office. The sad truth is sure going to be the same with the present JAGGA JASOOS too as the film is not entirely a highly entertaining venture having a lot of uninteresting moments coming at regular intervals. In fact as mentioned in the review one needs to be well-prepared with a pre-conditioned mind of a child if he or she really wishes to enjoy the unusual proceedings on the screen presented in a musical format.
 
It seems both the director Anurag Basu and his lead actor Ranbir Kapoor were quite convinced about their collective creative vision but many in the team were not, including the main financers of the film or the production house. Probably that is the reason it took so many years in the making with some repeated obstacles and then faced a lot of trouble in the post production too affecting the final outcome. Kartina’s poor dubbing and chopping off Govinda’s cameo from the film are the clear evidences of the same.
 
In short, a few directors here are certainly trying to break the set-pattern experimenting with their fresh ideas. But they are unfortunately not hitting the bulls-eye proving their novel vision. Hope JAGGA JASOOS turns out to be a crucial stepping stone in this noble process and we soon get to see an innovative, experimental film where both the makers and the viewers are on the same wave-length.
 
Ratings : 2.5 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for the creatively novel effort made by the entire team)

Tags : Jagga Jasoos Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Innovative Hindi Movies, Inspired Films, Jagga Jasoos and Tintin adventures, Anurag Basu and World Cinema
16 Jul 2017 / Comment ( 3 )
Saravjit kahlon
Super effort. Kids are loving it and even the parents . Ranbir was outstanding
Bobby Sing

Great to know that kids and everyone loved it Saravjit.
Cheers!

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