Ranbir Kapoor

Cinephile Stock: Jagga Jasoos

Ranbir Kapoor
in & as


Written and Directed by Anurag Basu
Produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur, Anurag Basu Ranbir Kapoor
Starring Katrina Kaif, Saurabh Shukla & Saswata Chatterjee
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



FLASH!: Ae ‘Dull’ Hai Mushkil

Ae Dil is classic Johar. Exotic locations, good-looking actors, decently-written characters, great music, but clumsy story. Ayan’s love for Alizeh is something I couldn’t comprehend. Why? Why is this guy in love with this overly-bubbly, yet likeable girl? His motive is not in the picture. Alizeh sticks to her guns throughout the film, making her the most well-written character. Then there’s Saba, a shaaira (female shaayar). A character tailor-made for Aishwarya Rai. DJ Ali is of vital importance to the ‘story’ but hardly does anything.

Ranbir Kapoor once again slipped into his role easily and really hit the bull’s eye with his comic timing. Aishwarya Rai was sincere despite her half-written character. So incomplete a character that it seems Johar got tired of her. Anushka Sharma is easily the best of the top-billed cast. She grabs your attention in almost all of her scenes. I really didn’t know what Fawad Khan was doing in the film and going by his performance, neither did he. Lisa Haydon stole a scene with her act and Imran Abbas was ‘also there’ (it was hilarious to watch him dance). Alia Bhatt had a cameo of a cameo. Shah Rukh Khan had one scene and owned it with his charm and dialogue. Niranjan Iyengar and Johar’s dialogues were awful. They were good in some places but seemed utterly unoriginal otherwise. There were also too many revisitations of other Dharma films. Pritam did a fine job with the music, except the opening riff of Bulleya. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics were beautiful. The editing was a little abrupt and shoddily done. Anil Mehta once again showcases his abundance of talent as a cinematographer. This is perhaps his brightest film in terms of colours. He brought the locations alive with his work. The problem lay in the story. It seemed like a half-hearted attempt at writing one. The comical bits stayed comical but the drama should have been more real and more in substance. Johar’s direction was also off the mark, though not as much as his writing. He seemed to be in many minds about scenes and the film suffered. Also, half the budget seems to have been blown on buying rights for classic songs. Wish there had been more of a time- and mind-based investment on the script.

All in all, not the worst film in the world but not a must-watch either. Basically, you might as well watch this if you can watch a Salman Khan film. Fortunately not as bad as K3GK2H2, and SOTY. 

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: 2/5


Tamasha: A Spectacular Spectacle

   This was one movie I was very very keen on watching, which is something that cannot be said often for Hindi films. Imtiaz Ali is a rather talented man. He is a good director-writer (Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, Rockstar, Highway) and was a revelation as an actor in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday as Yakub Memon. Ranbir Kapoor has not had the best year, given that both Roy and Bombay Velvet failed. But he was awesome as Johnny Balraj. It takes guts to agree to a role like that and had the film released before Roy, it would’ve garnered a lot more credit for its protagonist. He has been amazing in so many films: Wake Up Sid, Rocket Singh, Rockstar, Barfi, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Why wouldn’t you wait for a film of his? Deepika Padukone is fabulous. She was brilliant in Piku. And she has been great in Cocktail, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani too. And their chemistry is crackling (a little too crackling for the CBFC).

So, let’s get to the point. Tamasha is a simple enough story if you have a loaf (Not of bread, you fool!). Two people meet in Corsica, France by chance. They mutually agree to lie about themselves to each other, hence sparing themselves the needless act of behaving properly in a foreign land. Four years later, they meet again. This time, they choose to actually introduce themselves. It leads to what, atleast for me, was a rather enjoyable experience. Ved/Don (Ranbir Kapoor) loves to hear and tell stories and one thing he grasps from all of it is in this one line that he utters: Wahi kahaani phir ek baar, Majnu ne liye kapde phaad, Paar tamaasha beech baazaar!

1. DIRECTION: Imtiaz Ali always has a fresh take on a story that we all seem to think is the same. That is the man’s way of telling you that each story is the same, only the treatment and interpretation of it is different. He directs with some amazing flair and transforms into a complete storyteller even with this one. He is, undoubtedly, one of the finest directors in Bollywood.

2. MUSIC: Irshad Kamil has written thought-provoking songs which enhance the plot of the film since they too have a story to tell. Music to the words by AR Rahman is pleasant to listen. Matargashti, Safarnama, Chali Kahani and Tum Saath Ho are my personal favourites from a thoroughly enjoyable album.

3. STORY: The story of Tamasha is highly unusual. It isn’t something that you hear or think of at any point of time. But finally, Imtiaz Ali returned to the happy ending of the story. While I personally didn’t feel bad for Janardhan/Jordan after Heer’s passing in Rockstar, Highway was different. The journey of it added to how bad one felt for Veera after Mahabir dies. A refreshing story with a twist of events that one expected but was still eager to watch.

4. SCREENPLAY: The screenplay is not too long, nor is it too short. While the exploration of places isn’t quite possible, it is interesting to watch things unfold in Corsica.

5. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ravi Varman has done a brilliant job with the camera. The colours give a really nice feel to it. Matargashti was really well shot. The landscape of Corsica was captured in a magnificent manner, as was Simla.

6. EDITING: Aarti Bajaj has edited some really interesting films: Paanch, Black Friday, Paan Singh Tomar. Her editing ensures that the film doesn’t get too dull and moves briskly enough to keep the audience engaged.

7. DIALOGUE: The dialogues are very well written and are completely in sync with the moods within the film. Utterly hilarious in many sequences and rude in the ones that have words bleeped out (Sanskaari CBFC).

8. PERFORMANCES: Yash Sehgal as the younger Ved is really good. And his performance is boosted by the fact that he looks like Ranbir Kapoor. Piyush Mishra as the old storyteller makes the character come to life. Javed Sheikh provides praise-worthy support as Ved’s father. Deepika Padukone continues her rollicking run of performances with Tara/Mona Darling. She is especially good in the scene with the restaurant manager in Corsica. She makes you enjoy and love her character. Ranbir Kapoor delivers after his class act in Bombay Velvet. He has two shades in the film: the story-teller and the employee. In the former, he puts up a display of the fun and imaginative side of his character. In the latter, he manages to make the audience laugh at his sucking-up. He brings about a certain madness and rage to the character whenever the script needs it. All in all, one of his most powerful performances.

If you’re interested in a different story, try Tamasha. And also if you don’t mind non-linear screenplay and songs which play mostly in the background but add a fascinating touch to the cinematography and story.

My rating for Tamasha-8.5/10