The trailer of Jagga Jasoos by Anurag Basu is an epitome of what can be described as Bollywood. Hindi Cinema traditionally has been marked as something of a melting point of various thoughts, ideas and styles, exemplified by the most recognisable form of the classic potboilers which draws from different and even dissimilar genres, styles, myths, histories, etc. With globalisation and Bollywood, one can safely call it eclectic. In fact as a philosophical school, eclecticism is defined as an approach which doesn’t subscribe to a singular paradigm of thought but draws from diverse theories, ideas, thoughts and styles. Eclecticism, along with fragmentation, intertextuality, indeterminacy, etc. are considered to be the most symptomatic manifestations of postmodern art forms.
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Having said that, the trailer is among the most exciting ones in recent times for multiple reasons. One of the first things to grab the attention is the sheer lack of verbosity. Hindi Cinema or Bollywood has always been marked the use of words whether in one liners, monologue or even in songs which can range from the poetry of Gulzar to Honey Singh’s party plans. The trailer running for more than two and a half minutes carries just one line of dialogue right the end resulting in a fresh aural experience. Even the music used here is that of the Acapella style which is devoid of any words or even instruments and relying just on various sounds produced by human voice in various pitch and timbre. And with all the absence of words, the approach to acting depends heavily on facial expression and body language, a throwback to the era of silent comedy which was also seen to an extent in Anurag Basu’s previous film Barfi.
At the heart of the film, there is apparently an emotional story of father and son, something that is right up Bollywood’s alley. However what looks different this time around can be described by the pop cultural term of ‘Disneyfication’. As a result, the story seems to unfold in a completely fairy tale universe comprising of the Renaissance era Disney cartoons of 90s and the European comic book imageries such as Tintin, Asterix, etc. In an eclectic world of rich colours like gold, red and green along with presence of strange animals, Sherman tanks and Tiger Moth aircrafts, Jagga Jasoos promises a grand adventurous love story which might remind of Indiana Jones, Buster Keaton, Ace Ventura, Grand Budapest Hotel, Disney films and Comic books among various other things. What remains to be seen is how of these promises are finally delivered in the narrative and characterizations in the actual film.
Arup Ratan Samajdar