The film Bobby Jasoos starring Vidya Balan in lead is a very special film. As a detective comedy-drama Bobby Jasoos is filled with furtive delights and the ambivalent aromas of a city and a heroine that never sleeps.
If the truth be told, and it's the truth that our endearing
Hyderabadi Nancy Drew is drawn to, there are two heroes in
Bobby Jasoos. One, of course, is Vidya Balan and the other
more surprising hero is the city of Hyderabad.
You can almost feel the unrehearsed jostle of a city always in a
celebratory mood, the colours and gaiety, and yes, the
Oh yes, there is a whole mouth-watering section devoted to
biryani where our lady snoop takes her extended family hand-in-hand
on an eating expedition.
So may I add another hero, cinematographer Vishal Sinha to the
ravishing roster of achievers in this film about a female
under-achiever, Vidya trying to impress her father into finally
giving her some desperately-needed attention and affection.
Vishal captures the bustle, jostle, aromas and attitudes of
Hyderabad with the same affection of a non-tourist as he did when
he shoot Raanjhanaa and Issaq in
You can almost touch the city's skyline and then willingly dive
right into our heroine's over-whelmed heart as it searches for all
sorts of clues for what humans do to and in a city mired in mystery
Debutant director Samar Shaikh is as proficient in bringing us
the sleepless city's endearing as well as unspeakable
transgressions, as he is in showing Bobby's home life.
The protagonist, Vidya Balan's family life is constructed with
the affectionate diligence of a carefully built brick-and-mortar
Taj Mahal. In no time at all we know every member of Vidya's filmy
family. That they are played by some superb actors, notably Tanve
Azmi (as a busybody match-maker) and Rajendra Gupta (Vidya's
father), is just such a stroke of luck for this genre-inventing
Bobby Jasoos is that colourful kaleidoscopic surge of
vibrant drama and humour, which we tend to seek but seldom find in
our cinema-viewing experience. It's got the kind of bouncy
effervescent energy that somehow eludes today's cinema.
That Vidya plays the inept detective trying so hard to prove her
worth to self and dad, is providential. With her impeccable comic
timing, faultless dialogue delivery and eyes that don't only speak
volumes, they chant reams of poetry on the hurt and healing process
of existence, Vidya just nails her goofy free-spirited
This is her best performance to date. Yes, even better than
Kahaani and certainly far superior to the over-rated
over-sensationalized The Dirty Picture. In the title
role she sparkles, shines and shimmers providing us with more proof
The mystery that surrounds Bobby's cryptic client Kiran Kumar's
assigments for missing persons provides a kind of conspicuous
backdrop to Bobby's free-wheeling relationship with the world at
You will carry home a wonderful father-daughter love story
between Rajendra Gupta and Vidya. It's good to see commercial Hindi
cinema acknowledging the father-child relationship.
Babby Jasoos also will leave you with one of the most
heartwarming romances in recent times. Bobby's brittle relationship
with a television journalist Tssavur (Ali Fazal) grows in the plot with
nurtured natural niftiness. Not for a minute does the relationship
appear unreal or manipulated.
There is this lengthy wonderful episode in a narrow lane between
Bobby and Tassavur where they discover their true feelings for one
This is the kind of romantic writing that cinema today sorely
misses. And when was the last time we heard the Santoor playing in
the background in a romantic sequence? Slow clap for Shantanu
Moitra's thoughtful dreamy and fluent background music.
That Vidya is partnered on screen by the striking Ali just gives
dizzying spin to the narrative. Though the film belongs to Vidya,
Ali makes his own space and owns his part with pride and
confidence. Make no mistake - he is star material, probably Vidya's
most confident co-star to date.
Bobby Jasoos works so well because it creates a unique
yet relatable world for its female hero without making her seem
Bobby in her salwar-kameez, sneakers and various super
disguises, is a fearless, unabashed bundle of bumbling energy. Her
infectious gusto and irresistible joie de vivre envelope this
biryani-flavoured Hyderbadi delight of a film.
Like Vidya's multiple disguises, the film's ability to surprise never flags. If Bobby revels in a sense of adventure then the narration doesn't lag behind. You can find flaws in Bobby Jasoos, but you won't hold them against the film. That's a guarantee.