Reviewing the Reviews: Mostly 2.5 to three stars for Bobby Jasoos

07 Jul,2014

By Deepa Gahlot


Bobby Jasoos

Directed by: Samar Shaikh

Starring: Vidya Balan, Ali Fazal


Vidya Balan worked hard on Bobby Jasoos– both acting and promoting. Every critic gushed over her, not so much over the film. The Hyderabadi backdrop and language appealed to all, and the attention to detail was admirable, but the weak plot dampened the excitement.


Samar Sheikh making his debut as director, has done quite well, but a little more work on the script would have made this film a zinger. Still, it got mostly 2.5 to three stars, and some sighs of disappointment.


Shubhra Gupta of Indian Express wrote, “‘Bobby Jasoos’ works till the time Vidya Balan gets to lead from the front: the courtship with her reluctant suitor is one of the high points of the film. But I wish this amiable, light-hearted yarn had more ‘zaika’ and ‘tadka’. And the songs are strictly unnecessary and uninteresting. Post-interval, the surprises leachout. So does the fun.”


Nandini Ramnath of Mint underlined the film’s Muslim milieu, “The return-to-roots message is lightly conveyed in a movie that is bereft of weightiness. Shaikh is having too much fun to get on to a soapbox, and he doesn’t let the big emotional scenes breathe enough, but he does subtly score a victory on behalf of the so-called Muslim social—centred on Muslim characters, exploring ideas, values and issues facing the community, and set in an identifiably cultural and geographical milieu. The Muslim social is now an endangered species, with Muslim characters appearing in Hindi films mostly as deracinated urban creatures with neutral names such as Kabir and Zoya, or wild-eyed and destructive gangsters and terrorists.”


Aniruddha Guha of Time Out felt let down. “And it really comes down to lazy filmmaking. The third act seems to have been given step-motherly treatment, the writing team struggling to put together the pieces and dispel the confusion without resorting to shortcuts and convenient plot twists. The finale is a mess – and bizarre – undoing a great deal of expectations the film builds up to that point. You look back, then, and find loopholes every step of the way – never a good feeling to carry with you outside a movie theatre.”


Paloma Sharma of found the film confused. “As far as Bobby Jasoos goes, don’t judge a film by its title. Bobby Jasoos is a romantic comedy/drama and although it sometimes rises to the challenge of being a mystery, it seems too confused to know where to go thereafter. Debutant director Samar Shaikh can’t seem to figure out how to handle the many subplots of his film, letting them fight for control and the editing does nothing to help. Shaikh seems more focused on the visual aspects of the film, and while the cinematographer captures Hyderabad’s essence beautifully, pretty pictures will take you only so far (and not nearly far enough). Bobby Jasoos relies entirely on its performances to keep it going.”


Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN commented, “It’s a shame then that she’s (Vidya Balan) let down by the very script itself, which — despite raising important questions about gender equality, financial independence of women, and parental obsession with marriage – fizzles out post-intermission. It needed more humor and more meat, but Vidya Balan comes out tops again.”


Saibal Chattejee of was somewhat impressed. “Vidya Balan does more than just don multiple guises in Bobby Jasoos. She hits many high points as she effortlessly breezes through her role, bearing much of the weight of the film with aplomb in the bargain. The film does need the support of her shoulders and not only because director Samar Shaikh’s debut effort has its share of limp moments. Equally importantly, Bobby Jasoos isn’t the sort of flick that is willing to stoop to any level simply to inveigle average consumers of Bollywood kitsch. A two-hour caper film that thrives on restraint, Bobby Jasoos takes a serious turn in the second half but retains its warmth all the way through. It is consistently charming, if not particularly exhilarating, and benefits immensely from Balan’s energetic performance.”


Saumil Gandhi of Mumbai Mirror raved, “Post Kahaani, it is clear that roles are now written with Vidya Balan in mind. Her spirited performance in the title role justifies this decision. Her effervescence rubs off on the proceedings and gives it an energy that drives the film. She is well supported by a talented ensemble, who show once again that casting good actors in bit roles pays off. There are few things to complain about with Bobby Jasoos. It’s a delightful caper with a lot of heart, and you root for both the film and it’s protagonist all the way till the end.”


Tushar Joshi of DNA commented, “It’s a Vidya Balan film. There isn’t a single frame that she isn’t a part of. It is a role that is written keeping her mind. In fact there are scenes where her nuances and mannerism s seems to play off on their own, without conforming to the boundaries of the script. Vidya plays Bobby with full candor and sincerity. Her ability to switch from one emotion to the other in a jiffy is remarkable. Zarina Wahab, Supriya Pathak lend color and able support to the ensemble. The Hyderabadi setting, lingo, and flavour is aptly brought out by Samar Shaikh. If you haven’t visited the place, Bobby Jasoos will give you a slice of what to expect.”


The views of Anuj Kumar of The Hindu matched those of the rest, “Vidya has once again made a laudable choice. A Muslim girl trying to enter a male domain, it could have easily gone the gimmicky way, but Samar doesn’t overplay the rebel theme and Vidya ensures that her Bobby doesn’t remain just another bubbly character. She is obviously the hero of the piece but apart from a couple of disguises she doesn’t unnecessarily flaunt it. Here is a heroine who has forgotten that she is being shot. The Hyderabadi dialect and setting makes the narrative all the more rooted.”


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