If you are a child of 80s from a middle class bengali “bhadralok” family, there are certain things you did growing up. You read Tintin in Bengali in Anandamela, waited for their yearly pujo barshiki edition to read the adventure of Gogol, Feluda, Kakababu Santu, Arjun and others. You had your own famous five in form of Pancha Pandav, and eagerly waited for their latest escapade. Your parents insisted you see or took you to see movies like “Goopi gyan bhaga byan”, “Hirok Rajar deshe” and discussed if not with you, then in front of you, about plays, movies by the great directors like Satyajit Ray or Ritvik Ghatak. You knew what was happening in the world because your father hotly debated about them with his friends from all kinds of political parties in their weekly card games and insisted that you read the newspaper. Why I am saying all these? Because Jagga Jasoos is what happens when you grow up Bengali and remember your childhood.
I don’t know how old Anurag Basu is, but after seeing the movie, I am sure he is a 80s kid like me. I won’t spoil the fun by telling you the story, but I will tell what I felt after watching the movie. First of all, it is a visual treat. There is a comic book feel to it, especially, as said before, in the tune of Tintin. Even the hair of Ranbir was designed like that!! Second the music. It is funny and the rhymed dialogues or songs that Jagga sings, are so reminiscent of the dialogues between Hirok raja and his courtiers.
Ranbir is excellent as the teenage detective, he has that young innocent face that makes you undergo “a suspension of disbelief” and accept him as a young boy. Saswata is our Generation’s Utpal Dutta; he can make you laugh as a common man getting a genie to fulfill all his wishes, give you the chills as the most cold blooded contact killer, and here, make you laugh in one scene and then make you cry in next. Katrina was ok, she was perfect as the foreign returned bumbling journalist.
Now whether the movie will be a hit or not depends on who is watching. If it is someone like me, it will be a journey back to your childhood when Puja holiday meant new detective stories. But I can understand that very few people will get the joke of a hotel named “Agapastala” or a station called “Tiktiki” or a country called “Shundi”. They may not connect the pair running through a grass field to catch a steam train with the scene of two siblings running through “Kashphool” to catch a glimpse of a steam train. Or how the knife throwing scene made me remember another favorite childhood movie, “Jai Baba Felunath”. I understood the need for Mr. Basu to add a segment about what is happening in the world and how much apathy we middle class have towards problems not affecting us directly. And I loved it and so did my mom and most audience in the hall. The fact that my hard to please eldest son also enjoyed the movie gives me hope that today’s video game and YouTube generation will also enjoy this madcap adventure.
So if you have not watched the movie yet, catch it as soon as possible. And take your children too for it is truly a family movie.