The Dancing Detective
by Somdutta Roy
TLR Rating: 6 1/2 Reels.
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”. A filmmaker decides to put that thought into glass of sublime film making. With a pinch of creative cinematography and a splash of new and modern storytelling, we get cinematic cocktails like Anurag Basu’s ‘Jagga Jasoos’. ‘Jagga Jasoos’ is at first, a musical, (yes theater lovers, you heard me right). It is a newfangled genre which the B-town was yet to discover, and also a thriller (sort of)/rom-com.When an experimenter (c’mon ‘Barfi‘, ‘Life…in a Metro‘) like that of Basu is behind the camera, you are up for something out of the box and he did not disappoint us. Well, at least a huge number of us.
Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor), a shy young orphan, grows up in a hospital and is loved and pampered by all. A life changing moment happens when he rescues Badal Bagchi (Saswata Chatterjee), ‘tooti footi’ for him. Jagga finds a father in Mr. Bagchi, who helps him overcome his stammering by advising him to sing what he wants to speak (thus the whole concept of Musical. Clever!!).
But the fairy-tale comes to an end when ‘Tooti Footi’ abandons Jagga, leaves him in a boarding school and literary vanishes!! From that day, his only fuel for life becomes his curious attitude about everything. He developed this trait over time leading to his spy like nature. The yearly tapes from ‘Tooti Footi’ he received every year on his birthday helped his cause. On one such birthday, after not receiving the tape from his father, he sets out on a mission to find him along with Shruti (Katrina Kaif), a journalist whose life he saved once.
The movie was a complete fresh thought. Something which we haven’t had the opportunity to witness in Indian Cinema. Never has an Indian director given us the pleasure of watching a Musical Drama. With the songs sung by the characters being interwoven into the narrative, it showed us that Indian cinema is evolving. And in the right direction.
The detailing of the characters is to the point. And we are not hurried up to the final structure. Basu builds each and every character slowly and with intricacy. Be it the stammering-shy to curious-exploring detective Jagga or the brave-activist to accident-prone-loving-father Bagchi, he gave us a full comprehensive sketch showing all the hard work behind it.
‘Jagga Jasoos’ almost (Yes almost!! after making ‘Barfi‘, he raised the bars even for Bollywood movies in this genre!!) did justice to rom-com cinema. The comic timing was good. It did entertain us. And in some scenes we found ourselves bursting out. The song “galti se mistake” was once such moment!.
The music was a treat to the ears. The songs were befitting to the characters, to the situation and to the narration. We could clearly see how much labor has gone into it. The songs were very creative and melodious. Pritam’s music and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics worked wonders. Composing 29 songs in sync with the story is an unknown task for the Bollywood composers and certainly not an easy one.
The acting by the leads was fairly good. Ranbir Kapoor made an appreciable effort in slipping into the character of a stammering Jagga and was quite expressive throughout. Saswata Chatterjee, aka Badluck-Baghchi, as expected from an actor of his stature, did justice to his role. Katrina can’t act to save her life and that’s obvious. But it was one such movie where she was bearable. Not because of any improvement, but due the comic turn given to her role. I wonder who was actually ‘method acting’.
Overall, it was nothing which will sway you off your feet. But it was not cringe worthy as well!!
When you are trying to give so much, somewhere you are ought to lose control. Basu tried to pack up everything in a single movie. Romance, comedy, thriller, Music and suspense were up to the brim. It’s true he wanted to give us something completely different and he succeeded in that. But when people say “Less is more”, they are right! In the wake of exploring every emotion, Basu seemed to diverge off towards the end. The narration tried to take abrupt jumps. And the smooth flow was missing as we reached the climax. Honestly, it was not a climax. It was just an ending. Sad!
It’s truly said that you always have extreme reactions to musicals. If you love it, it becomes a part of you. And if you hate it, you will always hate it. But maybe, you will learn to appreciate it. ‘Jagaa Jasoos’ is worth a watch for all. Indian Cinema is coming out of its cocoon and spreading its wings and promising us that given time, it will fly high!!
The author has always been intrigued by the stories we read and see, as we are in one ourselves. She loves watching sci-fi, suspense-thrillers, and adventure / action films and for her the whole world is divided into two types of people: one which loves harry potter and the other who doesn’t exist for her!!!