'Jagga Jasoos' Review: Anurag Basu's self-indulgent mishmash of ideas and themes

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Jagga Jasoos, Katrina Kaif, Anurag Basu, semi-nude basket scene

Jagga Jasoos is the latest offering from Indian filmmaker Anurag Basu who’s known for films like Murder (2004), Gangster (2006), and Life in a… Metro (2007). Basu’s previous directorial venture Barfi! (2012) was a major box-office success. Jagga Jasoos stars Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles. The film was originally supposed to release in 2014 but the film was marred by endless delays. Initially the delay was caused by friendly arguments between the movie’s leads, Ranbir and Katrina. Remember, this was the time Ranbir and Katrina were in the middle of a serious relationship. Unfortunately, things gradually turned sour and they parted ways and it had a detrimental effect on the movie’s prospects. And it was only after a lot of efforts that Basu finally succeeded in bringing the duo together. Jagga Jasoos is a collaboration of Disney India and Picture Shuru Productions—the joint venture of Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor. Jagga Jasoos revolves around the adventures of a boy named Jagga. Although, Jagga stammers and comes across as a simpleton, he is endowed with a razor-sharp mind which he uses to solve crimes. Jagga Jasoos co-stars Saswata Chatterjee (who played the menacing serial killer Bob Biswas in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani) and the veteran thespian Saurabh Shukla.

Jagga Jasoos has look and feel of a quintessential Disney live action adventure thanks to its brilliant production design and VFX. With references to films ranging from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times to Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle Rouge to Akira Kurosawa's KagemushaJagga Jasoos is a mishmash of ideas and themes: a detective thriller, a Disney adventure, a musical, a video game, a comic caper and more. While watching Jagga Jasoos it's difficult not to be reminded of Tintin, Indiana Jones, and Mad Max. While it's all in good spirit the problem is that it feels a bit superficial, incoherent and superfluous. Yes, Anurag Basu’s love for cinema is admirable but self indulgence can often be fatal. One can just hope that the movie at least breaks even so that we can have the sequel that Jagga Jasoos teases us with before its end credits with the shape-shifting Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the two-headed villain.

Jagga Jasoos, Entertainment, Katrina Kaif, Typewriter imitation

As for Ranbir Kapoor, there is a new sleuth in the world of truth seekers and his name is Jagga and although he is no Byomkesh Bakshi or Sherlock Holmes or Feluda, he certainly is likable and effective. It's difficult to think of another mainstream actor who can take such risks and yet pull it off. But, remember, this is the Ranbir from 3-4 years ago. Owing to the slump in his box office during the last couple of years or so he has forced to do out and out commercial films like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Having said that, Ranbir shows in Jagga Jasoos that how committed an actor he is. Alas, the movie’s incoherent narrative fails to do justice to his arduous efforts!

Jagga Jasoos, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Kissing Scene

The USP of Jagga Jasoos has to be its visuals and Basu and team seem to have left no stone unturned to achieve the desired level of visual brilliance. The performances are solid and all seem to revolve around Ranbir’s stammering sleuth act. Saswata Chatterjee deserves a special mention for playing his part with a desired mix of subtlety and flamboyance. Katrina Kaif has never been known for her acting and her main job here is to compliment Ranbir and look good while doing it which she does reasonably well. Apart from the aforementioned flaws, Jagga Jasoos drastically suffers from pacing issues, especially in the second half. Basu and his editor would have done well to do away with at least 15-20 minutes of footage. Jagga Jasoos is essentially a movie that’s meant for the children or for the child hiding inside you. If you like Ranbir and have the patience to watch him emote to the instructions of a self-indulgent ringmaster for about 3 hours then certainly Jagga Jasoos is for you. As for the rest, you would be better off watching it in the comfort of your homes on a slow Sunday afternoon once the film’s DVDs are out.

Rating: 5.5/10

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

Jagga Jasoos - Official Trailer (YouTube)

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