A fun, family film with children as the target audience is quite rare in Bollywood. When JAGGA JASOOS was announced, it seemed like a great idea that would fill this void in Hindi cinema. But the numerous delays and negativity surrounding the film partly took away the excitement. Now that the film is out, does it really manage to entertain and awe viewers or does it turn into a sleep-fest, let’s analyze.
JAGGA JASOOS is a musical adventure of a detective teenager who along with a female companion, is on a mission to find his missing father. Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) is orphaned at birth and grows up in a hospital. He develops a bond with a patient, Badol Bagchi (Saswata Chatterjee), who adopts him. Jagga stammers and Bagchi teaches him that he can be fluent if he sings instead of talking. In a mysterious turn of events, Bagchi admits Jagga in a boarding school and leaves for an important mission under Kishan (Saurabh Shukla). Jagga develops a detective bent of mind and starts solving small cases in an around his school. During one such case, he comes across Shruti Sengupta (Katrina Kaif) and both become good friends. When Jagga learns that his father is no more, he decides to find out the truth and asks Shruti to help. Whether Jagga is able to put all his grey cells to use in order to expose the wrongdoers is what forms the rest of the film.
Those spreading negativity about JAGGA JASOOS were a bit silenced once the teaser and trailer were out. Both showcased the grandeur of the film and also the musical, fantasy element beautifully. However, despite being technically brilliant and boasting of top-class VFX, director Anurag Basu fails to do justice. JAGGA JASOOS commences as a lovely musical children’s film, but it still gives one sense of deja vu of BARFI. Even the ‘Picture Shuru’ theme is played here, just like in Barfi. But this song suits JAGGA JASOOS more thanks to its musical theme. However, the kid-friendly element ends within 15 minutes as soon as Jagga grows up and he starts solving murder cases. Jagga solving the case of the murdered teacher makes for a nice watch. Shruti’s entry in the narrative takes the film a bit higher and the entire amusement park sequence has its moments. Surprisingly, it also makes one wonder how come both are able to win over the bad guys every time. Post-interval, the madness shifts to Mombasa, to track down Jagga’s missing father, and from here, the film should have gone on a high. Sadly, that doesn’t happen as the film gets stretched and even scattered. The film goes into unnecessary territory – for instance, the song ‘Khaana Khaake’ doesn’t serve purpose to the film. Jagga, throughout the first half, is shown singing while conversing but stops doing it for most of the second half. The result: Jagga stammers heavily and needlessly and after a point, it tests viewers’ patience. All these goofs would have still been redundant if the finale had some punch. Shockingly, the film ends on an abrupt and laughable note. Jagga provides a solution to end terrorism in the finale and it makes no sense. However, the final scene is a shocker and gives an indication that a sequel is in the offing.
The film has a lot of rhyming dialogues and each one of them is creatively penned. However, the rest of the dialogues are simple. Anurag Basu, it seems, didn’t have a structured plot and put things haphazardly. The screenplay is faulty, stretched and incoherent, especially in the second half. The cinematic liberties are aplenty – Jagga easily enters a crime scene in presence of police and goes through the murdered person’s stuff and nobody batts an eyelid! In this regard, things get worse post-interval when Jagga conveniently ventures into the dangerous zones of the enemy and even escapes at will, quite easily. One might argue that such cinematic liberties are fine as it’s a film targeted for kids. However, even this part is debatable since the narrative is not so simple and kid-friendly. Also, it speaks about Naxalites, murder, international terrorism etc. which might not be easily understandable to the kids. Moreover, the finale madness should have been the best part of the enterprise – instead, it seems abrupt. In fact, several scenes have no connection with one another. It’s a known fact that Anurag Basu took almost three and a half years to make this film and looking at the final product, one can tell how confused and lost he was about the film.
JAGGA JASOOS rests on the shoulders of Ranbir Kapoor. The actor, known for bringing freshness in each role, gets totally into the skin of his character and tries to bring something new this time as well. His stammering goes a bit into the unreal zone but he showcases his singing side very well. His sincere act is one of the big reasons why the film is bearable. Katrina Kaif looks lovely and ably compliments Ranbir. She also raises laughs with her goofiness which works well. Saswata Chatterjee, known in Bollywood for playing the menacing Bob Biswas in KAHAANI, is very adorable and delivers a fine performance. Saurabh Shukla is strictly okay and doesn’t make use of his full potential. Sayani Gupta, who has earned popularity with MARGARITA WITH A STRAW, FAN and JOLLY LLB 2, is shockingly wasted. The actress has donned the look of a 14-year-old and it’s very well done but one hardly gets to see her in the film. The actors playing kid Jagga, teacher couple, Miss Mala and others do a good job.
JAGGA JASOOS, being a musical, has less of dialogues and more of songs. It is difficult to remember each and every track as there are close to 20-30 songs and none actually register. In fact, after a point, one starts dreading when the characters break into a song. However ‘Galti Se Mistake’ stands out for its picturization and quirky dance moves. ‘Khaana Khaake’ is also very catchy but not needed in the film. Background score is very loud and at times, takes away attention from the proceedings.
Ravi Varman’s cinematography is very eye catching. The film has been shot in some great locations and the lens man has captured them beautifully. Special mention should also go to the Art and VFX departments. Ajay Sharma’s editing is disappointing. The film is 2 hours and 41 minutes long with scenes being badly stitched together.
On the whole, JAGGA JASOOS is a badly written and very poorly executed musical. The film doesn’t offer any entertainment value for either children or adults. At the box office, the film will have a tough time.