July 17-2017
Jagga Jasoos VFX review: The singing movie raises the VFX bar with the promise of a comic book franchise

Ranbir Kapoor’s much awaited film Jagga Jasoos released recently on 14 July 2017 with a lot of expectations since the film was delayed since a long time . If I say it in a one liner, it is a visual and musical delight with spectacular VFX done by Prasad Suttar and Naveen Paul’s team from NY VFXWAALA. The film is like a Disney musical meets Indiana Jones or Tintin’s adventure ride. Director of the film Anurag Basu brings in the charm of Barfi in the film repeating many of the actors. The story telling is very emotional with things indicated through subtle expressions. The icing on the cake is the innocent and situational slapstick comedy which you will love it.

The movie starts with Raj Kapoor’s picture showing Ranbir Kapoor’s production house Picture Shuru. From the first image of the film we get to experience VFX starting with the Purulia arms drop from helicopter by parachutes  swooping down from the sky. The scene looks breathtaking.The blurry image which you see in the first scene as well as in several scenes in the film is the posterised effect using VFX.It gives a surreal feeling to the scenes.The film shifts to Katrina Kaif narrating stories to school kids from Jagga Jasoos comic book. It gives strong hints for a Jagga Jasoos comic book which was announced by Ranbir few years ago. The first comic book has been named as Jagga Jasoos and the magic of the red circle. Katrina narrates the story in a sing-a-song type storytelling to the kids. The whole thing is enacted by kids in a theatrical style with the props changing and swooping at the background. Undoubtedly, the film being made by Disney gives a big priority to kids and is being loved by them. When I saw the film, the hall was filled with kids and they were literally singing and dancing. The parents had a bad time handling them.

Jagga Jasoos starts with Jagga’s story in Moinaguri, West Bengal  where Jagga is a kid growing up in the hospital who is loved and adored by all but can’t speak due to stammering. He then meets Badal Bagchi(Saswata Chatterjee)who is not his real father but takes cares of him and becomes like his father soon.

The wonderful concept of the red circle has been shown using VFX at many places in the film.There is a beautiful shot in the film where Jagga and his mentor father Badal Bagchi sit in an animal farm and he teaches him how to overcome his weakness. As evident in Disney films there is a lesson for kids.Another eye catching thing is Ranbir Kapoor’s hairstyle which seems inspired from the one Tintin had in the comic book.Badal Bagchi is shown as a jinxed person with bad luck following him which creates misadventure with him all the time.The VFX  colour grading of jungle is astoundingly done by Red Chillies Color. It gives you the feel of an overdose of colours painted on the screen with paint brush.

Director Anurag Basu has brought back his Barfi team actor Saurabh Shukla with a stronger character this time and he also has more screen presence.The father-son bond of Jagga and “Tutti Futti” is quite strong especially the departing scene of Badal Bagchi is quite emotional. Anurag has undoubtedly mastered the art of showing complex entangled human emotions.Kudos to Kahaani’s Bob Biswas (Saswata Chatterjee) for the superior acting. Due to superior colour grading, the VFX created landscapes are looking stunning like bright bulbs. Shiamak Davar has also given a career best choreography that is simple, sweet and has steps that anyone can do with joy. The dance steps of “Ullu Ka patha” are already big hits.

The second comic book is Jagga Jasoos and the mystery of the clocktower. The clocktower seen from outside has been created by VFX through matte painting. Visually, it looks like a page from a comic book, similar to a nicely illustrated painting. In this story, Jagga solves a murder mystery cleverly. But what was annoying for me as a viewer was the singing and rhyming while you are focusing on the suspence. It gets diluted at a point. But undoubtedly the singing and rhyming is funny and very well written so it makes you laugh. The popcorn chewing audiences not just loves it but applaudes it with whistles and claps.This is ultimately a winning point for the makers of the film. Its like every line is a musical joke.Then comes the part where Jagga gets a video tape from his father on his every birthday. Jagga sits on a heighted place thinking and  dreaming about the video from ‘Tutti Futti’ as he calls his foster dad. The landscape here has been treated with colour grading and the colour of it has been visually enhanced. The whole place has been created using VFX no doubt.Then comes the birthday video where Badal Bagchi teaches Jagga almost everything about this world. If you see closely, the VFX treatment is clearly visible here showing the different background of Badal Bagchi when he is singing for his son. Either it has been given such an average visual treatment to make it look funny or the VFX guys decided to relax for a while.But the singing does not ends in the lines only. There are normal songs also, yes there are total 30 songs in the movie. Indian audiences love song and dance. And the trend has always been that if the film is weak then the producer puts in songs to satisfy the audiences. Ranbir Kapoor as a producer has ensured an ample supply of songs following the above policy. Undoubtedly, the songs are very good with music by Pritam and several of them being sung beautifully by Arijit Singh.

A new song enters here, Tum Ho Yahin Kahin where Ranbir remembers his dad. It shows Badal Bagchi in Mombaca city where many of the landscapes are VFX shot. Then comes the giraffes. Yes, I wondered why there are giraffes in so many sequences and what is the significance of it. Are they symbolic? I would love to ask that to Anurag Basu.Mostly, he changes the scene with a colour graded background and the giraffes doing some activity which has been achieved through VFX.Katrina opens the third comic book which is Jagga Jasoos and the murder in the giant wheel.

It seems Anurag Basu has been really benefited by becoming a reality show judge which has given him a rich experience of music, song and dance. This movie has shown several refreshing music from India and abroad which is not shown in a typical Bollywood movie. In this part, there is a presence of Assamese music and dance.Katrina continues narrating the story to kids and as she explains them that she is in the story herself she enters inside the story . To achieve this through VFX Katrina has been made to sit on the Manipur state transport bus transiting from the real world. This transition is so clearly visible that a person sitting beside me in the hall literally shouted that VFX has been used here. The visual effects gives a comic-book-type feeling again where a character that is Katrina Kaif is almost entering inside the book. She is introduced similar to Badal Bagchi as someone who is “badlucky”. Now “badlucky” is a word created in the film for Katrina’s character Shruti Sengupta and Saswat Mukherjee’s Badal Bagchi. Now Anurag who has a love for Charlie Chaplin type comedy has used this element to put in falling, crashing and disasters again and again which makes the audience laugh on them. Humour is always created when somebody falls down. So we find both of them falling down and crashing all the time.

Actress Sayani Gupta who has acted in several films like Jolly LLB, Parched, Fan is shown as a small Burmese teenager. She is looking really really transformed into a kid. I was not much satisfied with Ranbir Kapoor’s physical transformation into a 17-year-old-teenager even if his mannerisms continue his man-child avatar.The concept of red circle is introduced again which I want you to see it in the film itself.(Spoiler alert) Then Ranbir Kapoor has an amazing vehicle which I felt jealous of. He uses a skating board with a motor attached to it. There is a superb situational comedy scene here with the policeman character enacted by Bengali actor Rajatava Dutta where he tries to receive the phone call from a multitude of phones. It is soon followed by superb chase scenes. Very good action direction has been given by action director Allan Amin. Anurag Basu has tried to show more visually or through singing or action and the dialogues have been reduced. Even Ranbir Kapoor has been reduced to a stammering  guy who can hardly speak. The focus of the movie goes on seeing things rather than listen to dialogues.

Then comes the next comic book narration that is Jagga Jasoos and the murder mystery of the giant wheel. It is a good action sequence and seems inspired from a Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Strangers on a train. The whole sequence has amazing VFX in it. And to match it up the song “Milan ki Bela” is completely in tune with it. Ranbir and Katrina Kaif meet each other in a hotel in Okhrul city. There is a small fight between them which is compared to a scene happening parallel on TV. It ends up with Ranbir stammering and then singing a song. He does a colour graded rap song to explain himself.

Actor Denzil Smith has done a good job as the Burmese villain.There is an interesting confrontation scene of Denzil, Ranbir and Katrina in a cave sequence. The whole sequence ends with the very refreshing Jhumritalaya song with the funny sequence of the actors stuck in the bamboo attire.Then comes the birthday video tape with story narration of Netaji where a lot has been done through VFX.Another visually scintillating sight is the Mocumba city where both Jagga and Shruti go to trace Tutti Futti or Badal Bagchi with rendition by the song Ullu Ka Patha. A lot of the city has been created by VFX and again African music is the new ingredient here. Many of the houses, streets have been done through VFX.

An interesting sight are all the animals we see which we miss in our real life like zebras,elephants, giraffes again and a standing meerkat. Second half of the movie is filled with adventures and I found it better than the first half. There’s a scene where Ranbir and Katrina ride on ostriches in a chase scene. The ostriches have been replicated through VFX techniques.Next, slapstick sequences are introduced where Jagga and Shruti are flying planes and entering terrorist bases. Ranbir and Katrina are seen seated on a plane which very much resembles comic book character Tintin’s yellow plane.Already a lot is being written about the similarity of Tintin and Jagga. This plane sequence has been achieved through VFX. But the part where both are flying the plane and there is a train moving across it gives a Harry Potter like feeling when the Hogwarts train moves. Kudos to the special effects. The train has been shown crossing the map.

Much of Jagga Jasoos has been shot in Cape Town, Africa and a lot has been done through VFX greenroom shooting. Lot of the shoot has also been done in Morocco. However, due to delays the bazaars of Morocco were recreated in Mumbai’s Chandivali Studios.As such, there are several sequences in the African grasslands filled with animals. There’s the sequence where Ranbir and Katrina try to escape from a tigress which is VFX treated in the train compartment. Then there is an artificially created pumpkin being thrown on enemies by Ranbir.And yes NY VFXWAALA’S logo is visible on a truck travelling in the desert in one of the sequence where Ranbir, Katrina and Saswat Mukherjee are fighting it out on the train.

And not to forget there is a part where there is a huge boulder pushed by Katrina Kaif to the arms trading place. Such boulders are created with a lot of detailing, scaling and using magnification techniques such that it does not look kiddish or fake. NY VFXWAALA have made a huge endeavour in achieving this. Jagga finds a new mission at the end of the film of ending the arms trade.The film ends with a strong message of leaving hatred and embracing peace. Jagga Jasoos is truly like a Disney musical with a purpose. If you see the ending you will realise , “What you are seeking is also seeking you.” The last scene has the symbolic giraffes swaying together which shows the directors love for giraffes once again. Finally, there are VFX made cute parachutes coming down with chocolates showing the message of love and peace.

Jagga Jasoos is no doubt a new chapter in the history Indian cinema of creating a musical movie, a comic book adventure with spectacular VFX and special effects. It can be called Disney’s very successful venture in India.It seems like there are high chances of the comic book and animated series adaptation coming soon. The film is all hearty and brings out the child inside all of us. All I can say let more adventures unfold and brighten the child inside us.