Rating: 3 ½
(Bottom-line: The treatment is the real hero)
It takes some time to get used to the unusual setup and a character that is an oddity. But once you warm up to the cheerful, plump, semi tomboyish, backpack-toting woman who disguises herself in almost every scene; Bobby Jasoos begins to gently conquer your heart. Despite some glaring plot loopholes.
Bilkis aka Bobby (Vidya Balan) is a 30-year-old single woman who aspires to be a detective. In an overcrowded Mughalpura mohulla teeming with 80 lakh people, everyday is a struggle. First she aches to win over her disapproving Abba (Rajendra Gupta) who worries about her singlehood and weird ways. Then she has to win over an employer who takes her detective act seriously.
Meanwhile she does small jobs for people in the neighbourhood. She spies on a friend who is having a torrid affair with a local goon, Laala (Arjan Bajwa) and blackmails her. When about to get caught, clicking their pictures, she jumps over vehicle tops, clad in a kurta, turban and a beard, like an action hero. Rescuing herself, she sneaks into her home, hides behind her mother (Supriya Pathak) to avoid her Abba’s wrath and quietly drinks a glass of milk like an obedient child.
It is this highly populated, colourful environment of a simple, middle class Muslim family in Hyderabad’s Mughalpura that sets Bobby Jasoos apart. The art production and costume designing along with a pacy camerawork draws you completely into this world and even makes you fall in love with it. Just like the upmarket, unsuitable boy, Tasawur (Ali Fazal) who hates the place initially but Bobby’s honest charm makes him forget the low lifestyle of the local basti.
The charming romantic track between the two does not take away from the main plot where Bobby has to solve a particularly intriguing case for Anees Khan (Kiran Kumar), a mysterious rich stranger. She has to dig out two girls with birthmarks and a young man with a missing toe. A wonderful comically treated investigation leads Bobby into waters murkier than she had imagined. The screenplay seamlessly merges her personal life of an impending unwanted marriage, with her professional adventurous one and does a fine job of adding a touch of emotional quotient.
Each and every character is well used and well performed; including Tanvi Azmi as Bobby’s family member (her relationship to Bobby is not explained), Arjan Bajwa as the amorous goon, Laala; Ali Fazal as the reluctant groom, Rajendra Gupta as the stern but concerned Abba, Supriya Pathak as the doting Ammi; Bobby’s own gang of two assistants. The best scenes are written for Kiran Kumar who makes a fabulous comeback on the big screen. He delivers a most impactful performance in a lovely, satisfying climatic moment.
Then, of course, there is the boisterous Vidya Balan who continues to surprise with yet another fine act. She gets into Bobby’s skin with as much ease as she mingles in with her co-actors.
Vishal Sinha, also the cinematographer of Raanjhanna, is a master at capturing a city’s bright and vibrant character; be it Benaras or Hyderabad. Shantanu Moitra’s background score is used really well, at the right moments to give a comic and pacy tone.
The performances and the treatment charm you enough to ignore some flaws in the basic logic of Balan overlooking background check on her client and a vital question in the end, involving a gun.
Kudos to the director –writer team, Samar Sheikh and Sanyukta Chawla along with wonderful actors for makingBobby Jasoos a thoroughly enjoyable fare.
You walk in to Bobby Jasoos expecting a solo Vidya Balan show. You walk out with delightful memories of each and every actor.