Jagga Jasoos - Review

wogma rating: The keen must watch on screen; else DVD (?)
quick review:

Cute, fun detective story taking on huge issues of the world. Juggles all of that well but becomes long-drawn in the process.

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Wogma Review

It takes a while to get used to the strange of a musical and an arm deal. We are conditioned to see musicals as romantic or comedy or a combination of the two. Sure, Sound of Music did mix a world war with a musical, but when things got serious, it shed its musical layer. Jagga Jasoos stays on the high note for quite a bit. To the extent, that I worried we are never going to hear a plain dialogue, and tire of the music soon. Thankfully, the music gives way and the film stays cute and fun through to its long-drawn out climax.

The music takes a while to get used to because a lot of it is not Indian, it sounds like a western choir for a huge portion - but Indians are acting it out. It has a Broadway feel to it more than a musical movie. However, the music is lilting and the lyrics keep you attentive. I am not sure, I could listen to the music stand alone, like I can for Barfi. But, once you grow accustomed to it, the music goes really well with the tone and texture of Jagga Jasoos while you are watching it. The lyrics, even if they take on an extra syllable here and there, are strung well together. The essay on “a goat” is truly entertaining, for instance. There are even a few lessons in history and political science delivered through song.

Right from the first frame, you know you are in for a fascinating visual and aural experience. Visually, the film is mesmerising with its use of colour. The transitions from one part of the story to another are in the face yet not tiring. Some action bits seem shoddy, but then again, that can be explained away by the fact that it is intentionally, part-animation.

My worry that the “musical” form of narrative is used as a gimmick to cover up the lack of story is laid to rest, even if it is not completely unfounded. The thriller can hardly be called taut and wouldn't have worked a bit, had it not been for the narrative style it takes. At the same time it is not entirely lame. In making light of things, the attempt is to make the audience think about our attitude towards world tragedies.

Also, in trying to be a little of everything, the film stretches a bit beyond holding interest. It even over-explains at some spots. Each sequence, plays out like a short story that is a little longer than what might have been necessary. This, bit by bit, adds up to the 160-minute length time - a good 30 minute more than what retains interest in general.

However, these short stories sort-of tie in together and flow from one to the other. The flow is smooth enough that Shruti as the narrator seems rather superficial. Shruti as a journalist in the main narrative also seems like a forced-in character. The movie is about Jagga, his quests and his longing for his father. Shruti seems to be there for, well as sad as it sounds, visual variety.

It doesn't help that Katrina Kaif is almost in her worst form. Yet again, her character is from London to justify the actor's accent. Her dubbing is way off. That is criminal in a musical - lots of lip-syncing to go wrong and unfortunately it does too.

In some way, Ranbir Kapoor's act makes up for that let down. The genre does ask for some gimmickry in performances. Yet, he makes Jagga, a potentially fictional character, seem real. He will remind you of Tintin and Harry Potter (I was even reminded of Sholay, Satte Pe Satta and Khoobsurat), but not so much of Ranbir Kapoor himself.

For Jagga as a character, there is no real attempt at creating grey characters, so the characters are simple, making the film gear toward a younger audience. The writing hints at deeper concerns for the world, hands out philosophical words of wisdom every once in a while and even touches upon the dilemma of a superhero – to save the world or to save the loved one. Yet, it chooses not to go too deep or linger too long with these thoughts, and arguably rightly so too – lest the film take a serious turn that it isn't meant to. The story is out from a comic book and wants to be rooted there, while taking shots at the real world.

Jagga, Tooti-frooti, and Shruti do take you around their fairy-tale world. Yet, this fairyland is quite close to the world we live in. So much so that if it weren't for the music, the colours, the quirky, kiddish, borderline slapsticky humor you would be left with a film that was a sad documentation of our times. To even think of mixing these things together is a step in the much wanted experimental territory – for this attempt alone I am stunned by the long stride Jagga Jasoos has taken. Most of all, it is a decent kids film from India. That the narration could have been crisper and the story a tad deeper, we can leave to its promise of a sequel.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Gun fights and chase sequences
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: An extra-marital affair spoken about. An innuendo, but nothing explicit
  • Concept: A musical that runs through the mysteries that Jagga Jasoos solves
  • General Look and Feel: Fun, bright and light.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 3.5
  • Lyrics: 4

Jagga Jasoos - Movie Details

Jagga Jasoos - Trailer

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Comments (7)

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TimELiebe:

Oh, my - apparently I can't watch the trailer (it won't play for me), but that still alone shrieks "Worst CGI since Green Lantern!"

Not that even great CGI will save a rotten movie - but...that's not a good sign at all.

Suman Chakraborty:

Direction: 3.5
Story: 2
Lead Actors: 3.5
Character Artists: 2.5
Dialogues: 3.5
Screenplay: 3
Music Director: 3.5
Lyrics: 4

Shweta:

A musical spy drama...first of its kind. Could have been better with a researched ending. Great picturisation, comic timing was superb. Kids loved the colours. The musical beginning was getting a bit too much but then the story picked up the seriousness and then the abrupt end. A mix of Tintin/Satyajit Ray/Mama Mia(extreme musical part)

Anuj:

The worthless bi product of 4 generations of nepotism delivers yet another trashy musical opera that's got neither entertainment nor substance. Its an experiment gone horribly wrong, a fiasco of epic proportions.

www.bollywoodreviewguide.blogspot.com

guptarakesh:

Jagga Jasoos is a big flop movie. Makers have taken 4 years to make this crap.

Fan:

A horribly boring film that entertains only in parts. The musical format looks interesting for exactly five minutes. Thereafter it just starts getting on the nerves, so much so that the few portions where it strays into normal Hindi dialogues format - those portions seem heavenly.

Yes the concepts are new for Hindi films, and the finishing has a superior feeling comparable to the Hollywood films. But it is long and pointless.

Katrina Kaif is once again looking gorgeous, just as she used to look till a few years back. Or is it because the film dates back a few years? Who cares.

Fan:

BTW other than reverences to Satyajit Ray, Tintin, and Hitchcock - the film is inspired by the Hollywood product Pure Luck. Don't remember seeing any credit given to this film.

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