Come play detective says Jagga Jasoos

The movie has some spectacular set pieces and old style musical numbers, which transport you to Broadway musicals.

 |  Rough Cut  |  2-minute read |   15-07-2017
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Some movies require audiences to bring their A-game to theatres. Anurag Basu's Jagga Jasoos is one of them, a brilliant homage to Tintin and Feluda with all sorts of cinematic references thrown in. It's done so seamlessly that you don't realise it, just go with the flow of a lovely story about a boy detective, Jagga, and his self-declared father, Tooti-Phooti. Played by Ranbir Kapoor and Saswata Chatterjee respectively, that relationship is at the heart of the movie, capturing the director's own relationship with his father, a former SAIL employee in Bhilai and an amateur theatre artist.

For various reasons when Tooti-Phooti goes away, he sends his son a series of videotapes which teach him how to be a man, from how to fire a revolver to how to shave, "saalbhar ka oxygen". Our very own junior Feluda goes off to look for the man who adopted him. The journey takes him from his little town in Manipur to Assam to Kolkata to Africa to Shundi (a huge nod to Satyajit Ray's Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne), specifically Tiktiki station (tiktiki means detective in Bengali). Along the way, he encounters a corrupt intelligence officer (Saurabh Shukla), a 'bad lucky' journalist (Katrina Kaif) who reminds him of his father, and people of assorted nationalities, from African cab drivers to Russian dancers.

Divided into three anthologies, like a Tintin, it takes Jagga from an arms racket in Manipur to another bigger arms racket originating in Africa. Along the way, he travels by a Tiger Moth (yes, thank you, Tintin), a steam engine, tram (with Sonar Kella's music playing in the background) and rollerblades. The ultimate aim is to bust the business of the biggest arms dealer of the world Bashir Alexander, a man born with two heads (playing all too briefly by a surprise actor).

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There are some spectacular set pieces and old style musical numbers, which transport you to Broadway musicals. An ostrich race as a getaway, a Tiger Moth escape, a runaway steam train, the film has a quirky stunt a minute. You can see where the money was spent – and thank God, it wasn't wasted on recreating lavish weddings and making elaborate brocade costumes. Basu was hoping to change audience tastes with Jagga Jasoos, leading, not following.

Well done to him. Saswata Chatterjee (who played Topshe in one of the many versions of Feluda) is heartbreaking as Tooti Phooti aka Badal Bagchi. Ranbir Kapoor, with his Tintinesque squiff and his stammering singing, plays the boy detective (though one does miss his Snowy). Katrina Kaif is charming as the narrator and journalist with a penchant for trouble. A mystery which urges the audience to play detective – nothing could be better.

Also read: GST explained in bills: Why Indians are tweeting their receipts and rolling their eyes

Writer

Kaveree Bamzai Kaveree Bamzai @kavereeb

Editor-at-Large, India Today Group

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