From the makers of the cinematic masterpiece that was Barfi, comes a musical about a young detective who is in search of his father, and also suffers from a bad stutter, and must sing to express himself. It seems to have all the things that made Barfi a masterpiece: the same director, actor, cinematographer, composer, a similar sweet story with a mystery underneath it. But it’s so sad a movie with such potential fails so miserably.
If there is one thing about the movie that soars, it’s definitely its beautiful cinematography. The angles, the motion, the colors and the filters are all brilliant for most of the scenes. It does, however, get very messy during some of the faster action scenes. There are moments in the movie, here and there, that make you laugh out loud, but these hardly compensate for such an endless runtime. Ranbir Kapoor does a superb job as a stuttering, singing detective, determined to find his father, reaffirming that he is one of the finest actors in Bollywood. However, none of these praises come close to Barfi’s achievements in the same departments. Barfi had better laugh-out-loud moments and Ravi Varman’s camera work and Kapoor’s acting were also superior in comparison to Jagga Jasoos.
Director Anurag Basu doesn’t seem to have a lucid idea of what he wants to do with the movie. It seems like a father-son drama, but there is also a serious political story with spies and soldiers going on, and there are explicit life lessons being thrown in the songs where they don’t belong. The movie, clocking at almost three hours, starts feeling interminable after the interval. The introduction involving a mystery surrounding the death of a school teacher, although one the most engaging bits of the movie, takes too long. There are some parts, especially some action scenes, that use crude and unfinished visual effects, that ruin the artistic feel it has with the beautiful cinematography in the rest of the scenes. Barfi was one of composer Pritam’s best works till date and it deviates from his usual compositions, but Jagga Jasoos doesn’t. Except for a couple tracks, it feels like more of the same. Moreover, since it’s a musical, these repetitive soundtracks run for the entire time. Arijit Singh’s voice was grating on my nerve at the end of the movie. One of the most brilliant things about Barfi was its serious parts and the execution of these parts with the gravity they deserve. Jagga Jassos has a whimsical way of presenting even the most serious portions and this makes it seem tailored only for little kids and no one else. The mystery takes too long to unveil and it speeds through the more crucial parts while lazily strolling in the unnecessary bits. In fact, it takes so long that you lose interest midway and stop giving a damn anymore.
Basu has some great ideas and some portions of the movie are brilliantly executed. But his reach ultimately exceeds his grasp and the movie is a huge disappointment in the end. Jagga Jasoos reminded me of Adventures of Tintin: its theme, its tone, the colors, and even Jagga’s profession and his weird hairstyle. But it’s an over-emotional, over-long version with too many life lessons and incessant repetitive music for three hours. I will rate it 5/10. Skip this one.