Vidya steals mediocre show

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TO NDR bobby-jasoos 1 . HIGHLIGHT: Vidya Balan in a scene from Bobby Jasoos.

BOBBY JASOOS

DIRECTOR: Samar Shaikh

CAST: Vidya Balan, Ali Fazal, Kiran Kumar, Supriya Pathak

CLASSIFICATION: TBA

RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes

RATING: **

THERE’S a rash of female-centric films. Films like No One killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture, Kahaani (all starring Vidya Balan), Fashion, Heroine (both helmed by Madhur Bhandarkar), English Vinglish and more recently, Queen and Revolver Rani (both featuring Kangna Ranaut) have encouraged a number of film-makers and writers to think beyond the clichéd, formulaic male-dominated offerings.

THERE’S a rash of female-centric films. Films like No One killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture, Kahaani (all starring Vidya Balan), Fashion, Heroine (both helmed by Madhur Bhandarkar), English Vinglish and more recently, Queen and Revolver Rani (both featuring Kangna Ranaut) have encouraged a number of film-makers and writers to think beyond the clichéd, formulaic male-dominated offerings.

The box-office triumph of most of those films has certainly given impetus to the trend. At the same time, there is a spate of detective films in Bollywood. The year started with Mr Joe B. Carvalho, Samarat & Co followed, now Vidya stars in Bobby Jasoos, while Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and Jagga Jasoos are still in production.

The genre, it is apparent, is being lapped up by the Indian storytellers. What makes this fascinating is the fact that reputed studios, production houses and top actors are ready to take on these films. Come to think of it, we haven’t had a female detective in a Hindi films to date.

Will Bobby Jasoos start a trend?

Having said that, although Bobby Jasoos tells the story of a detective, the film-makers ensure they add human drama to it, which sets the film apart from the detective movies we have witnessed thus far. But an unenergetic screenplay acts as a roadblock. More on that later. The premise first!

Bobby (Vidya) hails from a modest neighbourhood in Hyderabad. Her parents (Rajendra Gupta, Supriya Pathak) are keen for her to marry, but Bobby is keen to chase her dreams of becoming a detective. She offers to work for a leading detective agency, but when things don’t work out, she starts her own detective agency and calls it Bobby Jasoos P Ltd.

Slowly but surely, the cases start coming in, but they are trivial and don’t interest her.

The story takes a turn when Anees Khan (Kiran Kumar) ask Bobby to trace some missing people.

Bobby grabs the offer, but as she starts to investigate, she realises something is amiss…

Unlike the protagonists of Mr Joe B. Carvalho and Samarat & Co, who ended up looking like parodies of Sherlock Holmes, first-time director Samar Shaikh and writer Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh ensure they instill anxiety into the script, making the viewer impatient for the drama to unfold.

Also, the element of mystery is wonderfully intertwined in the narrative, which draws the audience into the world of Bobby and the case she decides to take up.

The twists and turns that ensue – when Bobby realises that this case is not as straightforward as it appears to be – involve the audience completely, also because the writer and director ensure the film doesn’t follow the stereotypical formula.

While much of the first half is devoted to constructing the suspense, the post-interval portions, sadly, do not live up to those lofty expectations.

Sure, there are some absorbing moments and you do hope to get a shocker when the veil of suspense is finally lifted – about the missing girls and also about the true identity of Kiran Kumar.

Sadly, what transpires makes you wonder, what was the chase all about? Why did those families disappear?

The reasons offered by Kiran aren’t too persuasive. Furthermore, the film lacks the thrill quotient, which is so essential in an offering like this.

A couple of episodes have also been drawn out for much reason.

The biryani episode and scenes prior to that, also the audition part, could have been condensed for a stronger impact. Besides, the writer integrates the romantic track with the core story, but there are times when you feel it is forced in the scheme of things. The romantic song before the climax, for instance, sticks out like a sore thumb and could have been circumvented.

The soundtrack is nothing to hum about. The beautiful locales of Hyderabad have been captured with flourish by the director of photography, Vishal Sinha.

Vidya is known to walk that extra mile to get the character right. The supremely talented actress, who is seen in a variety of disguises in Bobby Jasoos and speaks in Hyderabadi accent, is the soul of the film. She embraces the part with all the power that she can muster and is absolutely brilliant.

Ali Fazal is a complete revelation. Although pitted against a powerhouse performer like Vidya, Ali makes his presence felt with a wonderful performance.

The film has a strong supporting cast, but the ones who register noteworthy performances include Rajendra Gupta (as Vidya’s father) and Kiran. Both are top notch!

Surprising, talented names such as Supriya Pathak, Zarina Wahab and Tanvi Azmi are relegated to the back seat and don’t get meaty characters to leave much of an impact.

Arjan Bajwa is okay. Aakash Dahiya and Prasad Barve (as Shetty), Vidya’s constant companions, leave a mark.

On the whole, Bobby Jasoos has an interesting premise, but the writing plays the spoilsport.

The saving grace is Vidya for sure, but is she enough to salvage the film? – bollywoodhungama.com


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