Katrina Kaif

Cinephile Stock: Jagga Jasoos

Ranbir Kapoor
in & as

JAGGA JASOOS

Written and Directed by Anurag Basu
Produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur, Anurag Basu Ranbir Kapoor
Starring Katrina Kaif, Saurabh Shukla & Saswata Chatterjee
with
Denzil Smith, Sayani Gupta & Rajatava Datta
Photographed by S. Ravi Varman, ISC
Edited by Akiv Ali
Music by Pritam

I have to admit that I really didn’t like Barfi a lot. It had good performances but instead of the ‘homage’ it claimed to be to many films before it, it seemed lifted in far too many places.

Jagga Jasoos is better in terms of originality, though it does have certain co-incidental sequences. But in almost all other aspects, it fails stupendously in comparison to Anurag Basu’s previous film.

The story revolves around Jagga and his search for his missing foster father. It goes from Bengal to Manipur to Africa, creating a major muddle. The backdrop of the real-life Purulia Arms Drop of 1995 and militants adds a little bit of intrigue, which Basu then proceeds to screw up royally.

While Bombay Velvet was overwritten, Jagga Jasoos is the opposite. Characters are picked up, written a little and abandoned, plot points are half-baked. There is no moment where the story seems to really take off. Despite the intended emotional impact, you couldn’t really care whether Jagga and his dad meet up.

The novelty of the cast singing the dialogues instead of saying them wears off after a while and becomes annoying.

The film has terrible visual effects, wherein one can actually make out the CG background and objects. Prasad Sutar and his team from NY VFXwala aren’t to blame, the hurried post-production is. When you spend close to forty months on making a movie and deliver a shoddy finished product, you don’t call for much appreciation.

Katrina Kaif’s casting is questionable since she is hardly able to transform a written character to a live-action creation. She does pull off the Calamity Jane bits with ease but is off-key in the more dramatic scenes.

The major portion of the blame for this carelessly made film lies on the doorstep of director Anurag Basu, who takes his mess of a script and messes it up even more. The film has no sense of coherence or continuity. Physics, logic and common sense are a few prominent victims of Basu’s overactive imagination. Rohit Shetty may have MDMA-fuelled action, but when you have a sub-plot involving arms dealers, rockets that change course 180 degrees do not work. The length of the film is another issue: it is at least half-an-hour too long. A tighter film would’ve made for fewer mistakes.

Pritam’s music is not all that great. It gets boring and repetitive after some time and has very few memorable tunes. He should’ve just taken something (second nature to him) from the films Jagga Jasoos seems to pay homage to: the likes of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and The Adventures of Tintin.

Noted action director Allan Amin provides some cool stunts and chases, almost making those scenes feel out of place, in a good way, in this film.

Akiv Ali’s editing was on point, with a special focus on the way scenes shot in different places merge into the same frame. Had Ali had more freedom, the film wouldn’t have been so clunky.

Ravi Varman’s lensing is reminiscent of his work from Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. He captures the vast landscape of the film very well. Despite the shabby visual effects, the frames look like paintings. Lit intelligently and coloured well by Ken Metzker, the visuals are the biggest plus in the film.

Actors of the calibre of Sayani Gupta, Denzil Smith and Rajatava Datta are wasted in their brief roles, though they do try their utmost, especially Mr. Datta. They were either given underwritten characters or their roles were snipped off in the edit (my allowance money is on the latter).

Saswata Chatterjee as Jagga’s foster father is the polar opposite of Bob Biswas from Kahaani. Warm, friendly and clumsy, Mr. Chatterjee has some of the more remarkable scenes in the film: those with the young boy playing Junior Jagga. He is the emotional lynchpin of the film and plays his part to perfection.

Saurabh Shukla is excellent. He has the best lines in the film and his recitation scene with Ranbir Kapoor is the funniest in the film. Mr. Shukla doesn’t really have the shades of villainy the character should’ve had but he is enjoyable nonetheless.

Ranbir Kapoor is quite good. There is a sincerity, an innocence and a determination to overcome the stutter in his performance as the titular character. He faces up to the challenge of playing detective admirably. However, he is far too old to pull off a school boy character which, even with some lein-dein, can’t possibly be older than twenty-two. He makes up with some wonderful stuttering and sing-talking, though Tushar Joshi has dubbed for roughly thirty percent of the scenes of the latter nature (not songs, scenes!).

Anurag Basu’s Jagga Jasoos failed to live up to my expectations. It is a haphazard film whose director did not seem to have a confirmed course. Despite the cliffhanging climax, I’d rather there wasn’t a sequel.

Verdict: C (Clumsy and Cluttered)


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Up next on CINEPHILE STOCK: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk on July 21.

Varun Oak-Bhakay

14.7.2016

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Fitoor: Style Over Substance

First up, I read Great Expectations way back in 2010/11. When I was around eleven. I couldn’t go past the first couple of pages because it seemed boring. And so, I will not be judging whether the film is an accurate portrayal of what Mr Dickens wrote which, in any case, is a personal opinion. And subsequently, genres like Military History, Non-Fiction, Thrillers and Harry Potter took over. Not to forget amazing comics like Calvin & Hobbes and Commando! Hence, I have no clue about the book from which the film is adapted. And a shout-out to those people who are offended by Bollywood’s adaptations. Each person has his/her vision and can, and perhaps should, do things differently. Recently, MEA wailed about the facts in Airlift. Was the RMS Titanic fictitious? No. Was the story of the Kate Winslet-Leonardo DiCaprio starrer true? Maybe not. But does that make anyone say that Titanic is a shitty film? No. Point is, let people do things according to the way they want. And in any case, films come with a ‘Disclaimer’. That is not a frigging showpiece. Read it!

Fitoor is an enjoyable film. Atleast I enjoyed it. The cast performed very well (including Katrina Kaif) and it was beautifully shot.

DIRECTION: I haven’t watched Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che but I do remember watching Rock On!! when it released back in 2008. It was a really good film. Kapoor directs well. There is a lot of style over substance at times but the actors make up for it.

SCREENPLAY: Could have been better. A lot of things were dropped hurriedly towards the climax. At a time when none of the Khans are releasing films shorter than a hundred-and-fifty minutes, Kapoor and Supratik Sen shouldn’t have had a problem increasing the length by about ten odd minutes. It would definitely have made the film better. Sen nails the dialogue accurately, except for the one where the drunk Aditya, for no real reason, shouts Doodh maangogey toh kheer denge, Kashmir maangogey toh cheer denge! at a visibly confused Rahul Bhat. The line, however cool, has no real significance in the film.

EDITING: The editing, handled by Deepa Bhatia, is smooth but should have been a little rustic in some sequences.

MUSIC: Hitesh Sonik delivers a fine bit of background music that set the film up well. Amit Trivedi adds calming music to Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics. Pashmina and Yeh Fitoor Mera are, for me, the best tracks of the album.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Anay Goswamy strikes with amazing cinematography. He captures the Valley amazingly, with the Dal Lake, the gardens and the Chinar looking exceptional. The colour palette of the film is vast, though red is never absent from it. The colours and the varying saturation and tones add to the film. Kudos to the Art Director and the Production Designers as well.

PERFORMANCES: Tunisha Sharma and Mohammed Abrar are extremely good in their roles as the younger versions of Firdaus and Noor. They look the part of Katrina and Aditya. Lara Dutta and Aditi Rao Hydari are good in their brief roles. Rahul Bhat, while not as good as he was in Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly, delivers a powerful performance as Bilal. Katrina Kaif is okay, and that’s saying something. I have seen her act in only three films: Namastey London, Raajneeti and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Her performance couldn’t surpass the ones in those two movies but it was better than her Phantom act. Tabu is amazing. Just superb. Better than the Tabu of Drishyam and surprisingly, as good as the Tabu of Haider. She brings out the haunting and broken character of Begum Hazrat Jaan in supreme fashion. Ajay Devgn is in a special appearance and inspite of the fact that he doesn’t sound even remotely Kashmiri, he’s impressive in his more suave avatar later in the film. Aditya Roy Kapur is extremely good as Noor Nizami. He presents the artist and the obsessive lover very well.

Fitoor is not a must-watch but it is enjoyable. It has a scrappy screenplay but the performances and cinematography draw one’s attention a lot more and keep the viewer occupied.

My rating for Fitoor: 4/10

Next up is Ram Madhvani’s Neerja and hopefully, Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh.