Jagga Jasoos: Ranbir Kapoor film is a beautiful failure that Bollywood should commit more often

Jagga Jasoos: If you are someone who hopes to find a novel idea or at least an intention to attempt something new in a film but are continually disappointed by Bollywood's treatment, Jagga Jasoos doesn't leave you disappointed. It just leaves you a little dissatisfied.

Written by Dipti Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: July 15, 2017 8:16 pm
Jagga Jasoos, Jagga Jasoos review, Jagga Jasoos movie, ranbir kapoor Ranbir Kapoor in a still from his film Jagga Jasoos.

You quickly develop a strange feeling while watching Jagga Jasoos. I say ‘strange’ because you don’t often expect Bollywood to offer you novelty and honesty. If you haven’t been able to notice the severe drought of ideas in films, you probably don’t care. Or you get a constant dose of original, fine Netflix shows. That’s why Jagga Jasoos feels like a sleek, brand new gadget with multiple attractive features. You want to unravel its layers, with a hunger that’s understandable.

Jagga Jasoos starts on a rather slow, dull note. For a good one hour, the film takes painful short strides in establishing the father-son emotional bond. The small, wonderful world of father-son is endearing. These scenes also reflect on life. For some time, the simple philosophy of their conversation takes you miles away from your own busy mind. The little Jagga stammers and thus doesn’t speak. In one delightful scene, Badal Bagchi (Saswata Chatterjee) asks Jagga to use his right mind and speak through song. In next instant, we see Jagga delightfully crooning and expressing himself. He finds a simple solution to his own problems and relishes it. You connect with his joy of finding a delightful medium to express himself. At the same time, you also question if the language makes communication more difficult.

Sometimes we tend to take life too seriously. The world of Jagga Jasoos urges you to look at life through a different prism. That’s why little Jagga’s small adventures feel life like. You know it’s not real. But at the same time, a part of you wants to believe that life is all about the sunshine. Very soon Jagga’s world is torn apart when his father deposits him in a hostel and bids farewell. Now, Jagga is a grown-up teenager (played by Ranbir Kapoor) and he is still the same curious kid, waiting to unfurl life’s little mysteries.

But it’s only after Katrina Kaif meets Ranbir Kapoor’s character, the film launches into a stratosphere of fantasy and adventure. From the moment they meet, Jagga Jasoos glides smoothly. In a scene, Ranbir and Katrina’s characters interact through an interesting mix of song and rap. This comic scene is fresh and innovative. Ranbir deftly uses his acting chops to shine, but with adequate support from Katrina. Ranbir’s brilliance is met with Katrina’s goofiness. Together, Ranbir and Katrina waltz from one stunning scene to another. Jagga Jasoos has plenty of inventive and delightful moments. There’s enough in the film that makes you marvel, sit and notice. It absorbs you completely in its world. There are quirky animals, wild lands, sun-baked fields, steam trains and goofy criminals. From beautiful landscapes of Manipur to wilderness of Africa, Jagga Jasoos offers so much visual delight.

Their adventure gets more urgency when Ranbir and Katrina are followed by Sinha ( Saurabh Shukla) who is tasked with killing both characters. But somewhere in its aim to provide viewers a visual adventure, the film forgets what it wants to say. It keeps on meandering aimlessly in its own web of smooth chaos. At times, just like the character of Jagga, the film seems helpless as it struggles hard to communicate to the audience. All that world of adventure isn’t really anchored by a story here to lend more depth to Jagga Jasoos. That makes Jagga Jasoos like a balloon, floating in the air with no aim to soar higher and no intention to land back on earth. While we float with it, we keep groping for that horizon far at distance or land beneath its surface. That’s the biggest drawback of Jagga Jasoos.

Anurag Basu’s Barfi had a heart. The film wanted to say something to its audience. Anurag Basu deftly used fanciful elements to pack an emotional punch. All that swirl of scenery and drama revolved around a central theme. Something that’s conspicuously absent from Jagga Jasoos. Both Ranbir and Katrina’s characters are devoid of emotions. Despite so much going on the screen for them, both characters fail to communicate with the audience.

Ranbir Kapoor lends a certain poignancy to scenes where he stammers. The actor holds your attention and is an absolute delight to watch. He fills the screen with his ingenuity. You marvel at the arch of his eyebrow, the slight swish of his face and so many subtle hints of expressions lingering on his face. It’s a pity that his efforts go wasted in the absence of a solid story, plot, and script. At the end, you get a shallow adventure with no heart.

But Jagga Jasoos should be applauded for being brave. It’s a genuine attempt at creating something wonderful here. And it feels novel. That’s its rare achievement. You might find it more enjoyable than compulsory mediocre blockbusters. If you are someone who hopes to find a novel idea or at least an intention to attempt something new in a film but are continually disappointed by Bollywood’s condescending treatment, Jagga Jasoos doesn’t leave you disappointed. It just leaves you a little dissatisfied. That’s about it. For it could have been so much more. But at the same time, you cherish its failure as it was built on a right foundation. Hope the film doesn’t stop Ranbir Kapoor from taking mores risks in future.

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  1. J
    jyoti
    Jul 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm
    saw the movie, wanted to enjoy it, I enjoy opera (musicals ) and Hollywood musicals ..BUT this was trying to be a western style musical , without the effort (in Hollywood , the actors sing their lyrics, because they have no dialogues) this was taking the easy lazy way out..ranbir is overrated and overacted ..katrina was good BTW why was the chorus other actors singing DID THEY ALL STAMMER !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Reply
    1. K
      Kit Walker
      Jul 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm
      This movie is really enjoyable particularly for folks who as children had explored the wonderful world of children movies and fiction. I found this to be a wonderful mixture of Feluda and Tintin, Tip of hat to Ray's Gopi Gyne, Reverence for Netaji, Father Son bonding and a message of No-War thrown into one colourful lighthearted cauldron. One has to have lot of literary chops and awareness of history to totally understand the movie. I would say Kudos to the whole team for pulling this off.
      Reply
      1. A
        ayesha
        Jul 16, 2017 at 11:56 am
        tiest movie ever.fell asleep halfway through.This movie shouldnt have been contoniued huge disapointment
        Reply
        1. K
          Kit Walker
          Jul 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm
          Tumhre liya to Tubelight type movie hai na. Thoda padhai karte to yeh samaj aata.. Koi nai.. Raaes fir se dekh lo :)
          Reply
        2. M
          Murthy
          Jul 16, 2017 at 11:38 am
          Of the NINE 'bhavas' (sentiments) Bollywood has specialised in only two, Sringar and Veer.. that too in a crude form.. 'Love at First Sight' and 'Stab, Stab, punch, punch, shoot, shoot', only the taunting dialogue before the 'punch up' may vary...Add a few 'group dances by the fair-skinned Kapoors and Khans to complete what Bollywood is all about.. These days, a movie is measured by the monies it makes...expect some paid news, "Movie "Y" has made 1,000 Crores" and so on. This Movie and other Bollywood Pav Bhaaji will strike the young audience as great. But, those of us who have seen a few or spend more time reading books or watching good Western, Japanese, Iranian and French movies, Bollywood is a big YAAAAWNNNN. There are boring Western movies also... but they have interesting scenes put together with some intelligence and realism. Not in Bollywood, it is always chaotic...l How come these dancing 'queens' are paid so much, a lot of it in 'black' cases in cash...I am told.
          Reply
          1. P
            pranav
            Jul 16, 2017 at 11:04 am
            if you have liked barfi than go for it....there is no reason of missing this beautiful movie..
            Reply
            1. K
              Kallol Dasgupta
              Jul 16, 2017 at 10:56 am
              The film was shot in Darjeeling district not in Manipur
              Reply
              1. A
                Ashish Singah
                Jul 16, 2017 at 10:07 am
                Who is this fool journalist..did u really watch dis movie moron...u didn't even mention abt the msg of war it contains...how we humans don't care abt others life..bcz we r safe behind nibu mirchi..u r pure of your own kind..really Indian express needs to review it's writers.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Avnish Chauhan
                  Jul 16, 2017 at 12:08 am
                  A really delightful movie after a long time Ranbir Singh showed why he is biggest young superstar loved this movie. Kat could have been replaced.
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Avnish Chauhan
                    Jul 16, 2017 at 12:09 am
                    Kapoor
                    Reply
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