Published On: Sat, Jul 15th, 2017

‘Jagga Jasoos’: Unbelievable… And not in a good way

Film: “Jagga Jasoos”; Director: Anurag Basu; Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswat Chatterjee, Saurabh Shukla, Rating:**

Finally, it is herea The film everyone waited to see for three years. Watching it in a theatre with 20-25 percent occupancy is a huge shock. Dammit, this is Anurag Basu’s Disney fantasy-adventure. Our own Harry Potter-meets-Tin Tin-meets-Barfi. And didn’t Ranbir and Basu create the magical in “Barfi” not so long ago ?

As expected, “Jagga Jasoos” wears a huge “Barfi” hangover

As expected, “Jagga Jasoos” wears a huge “Barfi” hangover. It will also remind you of the cinematic styles of several storytelling legends from Satyajit Ray to Tim Burton. But finally this is a world that only Anurag Basu inhabits and comprehends. I am not too sure if that’s reason to rejoice. We can only partake of the goodies from the outside, like curious tourists peering into an exotic country from a cruising.

The storytelling devices in “Jagga Jasoos” deliberately distance us from the bizarre goings on. The plot is a one-liner stretched vast acres of exposition and posturing. A lot of the lengthy playing time is taken up by Ranbir’s Jagga on the run with ‘journalist’ Shruti. As played by Katrina Kaif. Shruti is a bit of a sloppy busybody. And naturally, like most of Ranbir’s most memorable heroines, she is in love with someone else.

As you can see, I am trying desperately to find a plot in a film that is eager to lose it. The plot, I mean. The basic story of an orphan in the northeast looking for his foster-father (Saswat Chatterjee, brilliantly expressive) is lost in reams of dreams woven around the theme of a picaresque adventure in the African jungles populated with endearing species of the animal kingdom, with Saurabh Shukla playing a sinister arms dealer (if you please) in hot pursuit.

It is heartbreaking to reject a film that has so much heart in it. Saswat Chatterjee’s fatherly compulsions colour the quirky goings-on with a touch of class. Much of Ranbir’s waif-in-a-battle act is an extension of “Barfi” with lots more selfindulgent whimsy thrown in. After a while it becomes exhausting watching his livewire act, with Katrina trying to keep pace.

“Jagga Jasoos” feels like a slog, but looks like a dream. Cinematographer Ravi Varman’s work is out-of-this-world. Every frame a visual feast, every shot a painting. He shoots desolate roads and beckoning trees with an inferred passion that is more imagined than tenable.

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