Ranbir Kapoor’s adventure fantasy Jagga Jasoos is a creative experiment that gets its power from being zany. And this wacky comic caper requires the viewers to surrender to it completely in a child-like manner. Is that easy? No.
But does the film grow on you? Yes.
Does it drag? Sometimes.
You would think it’s easy for a movie-mad Indian to warm up to a hero who sings and rhymes his thoughts away since a majority of our films are fuelled by background music, but hearing dialogues being sung out is an acquired taste.
It could be cloying to tone-deaf ears, but a youthful Ranbir Kapoor who sings to mask his stammer makes it endearing for most parts.
Kapoor plays the baby-faced Jagga, that cinematic love child spawned if the beloved Belgian character Tin Tin and America’s Nancy Drew had hit it off as a couple.
Director Anurag Basu draws you into Jagga’s world of exploits in an unhurried pace.
A lost childhood and a loving foster parent who disappears on him makes him a poster child for instant empathy. You take to Jagga quickly because of Kapoor’s impressive command over acting. He dives into his role with abandon.
A murder in his hostel propels him to put his detective hat and solve the crime that was written off as suicide. The narrative is unusual, but it’s intriguing to watch Jagga function using Sherlock-like deductions.
An accident-prone journalist, Shruti played by a rusty Katrina Kaif, enters his life and all hell breaks loose. The stakes then get bigger and murkier.
The film, that began on a modest note in Ukhrul in Manipur, catapults into an ambitious adventure that takes you into the world of illegal arms trade and murky espionage. A freaky two-headed villain who controls the world of weaponry, helpless tribals who are exploited by unscrupulous gun traders and a violence-ridden African state make an appearance here.
Their ride is bumpy and long, but it isn’t boring. Basu puts Kapoor in the driver’s seat and expects him to take charge, while Kaif is in the proverbial passenger seat. She’s on call to be adorable, but it’s Kapoor’s show all the way. Actor Saurabh Shukla, who plays the sly villain, and Saswata Chatterjee (the villain from the thriller Kahaani), who plays the doting foster parent, are on point.
While the first half of this fantasy adventure moves at a languid pace, the second half is crammed with larger-than-life action filled with planes, ostrich rides and gun-toting villains. The change in pace is overwhelming and some of the twists are downright stupid in this 170-minute made caper. The parts where Shruti and Jagga dance on the streets to earn a living is a bit of a stretch. But the absurd action scenes and the comedy of errors that Jagga and Shruti inadvertently unleashes as they are being chased by goons are golden.
That’s the deal with Jagga Jasoos, it forces you to suspend belief. If it is not in you to do so, you may find this continent-hopping duo ludicrous.
But for all those who can muster enthusiasm for a musical with a fantasy tangent, then you are in good hands.
Film: Jagga Jasoos
Time: 170 minutes
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saurabh Shukla
GN Rating: 3 out of 5