A breezy, audaciously jaunty ride through the misadventures of a stuttering, bumbling boy-detective in search of his missing foster father, Jagga Jasoos has memorable madcap moments, stemming principally from its free-flowing mix of music, dancer, situational and slapstick humour and wildly improbable action. Even if it might feel like an epic misfire at times, Anurag Basu's deliciouly wacky adventure drama, when it is on song, has an oddly bewitching quality.
Lead actor Ranbir Kapoor's undeniable gifts power the film. But does Jagga Jasoos hold its avowed course over its nearly three-hour runtime? Not quite. It wanders off frequently, leaving the audience in an extended state of befuddlement. But when it returns to its chosen track, starting with the 1995 Purulia arms dropping case and careening through an espionage operation gone wrong and a pursuit of the world's most dreaded weapons smuggler, it is fun.
Thanks to the peppy music and the bright and varied colour palette used by director Anurag Basu and director of photography S Ravi Varman, Jagga Jasoos is never less than entertaining. If only it had greater consistency as a story, it would have been an unqualified triumph. It isn't. That's a shame because in terms of its conception and execution the film does exude warmth and joyful abandon. It is intermittently infectious all right and that might prompt the audience to overlook some of the glitches that stares us in the face.
Katrina Kaif, as a mishap-prone investigative journalist, is hard-pressed to match strides with Ranbir, but the free-flowing nature of the yarn allows her enough opportunities to catch her breath when she needs to and continue to saunter along for company. It is just as well that she plays second fiddle, letting Ranbir do all the heavy lifting. He carries the weight of the film without letting the strain show. If Jagga Jasoos passes muster, it is largely due to a pivotal star turn that is worth its weight in gold and the surreal touches that Basu imparts to the fantasy.