Ali Fazal, Kiran
Kumar, Tanvi Azmi, Supriya Pathak, Zarina Wahab,
Trying hard to emulate ‘Kahaani,’ this, Samar Shaikh’s maiden effort is a middling experience at best. About a wannabe Private Detective, Bilqis Ahmed a.k.a Bobby Jasoos (Vidya Balan) belonging to a studiedly conservative family from Mohalla Moghulpura, Hyderabad, who takes on petty cases, on her own initiative in an effort to get into an established PI agency.
But the Boss is not too impressed and sends her packing despite her numerous attempts to curry favour. And just when she is losing hope of establishing herself as a well-established PI, she gets a high-yield case from Anees Khan (Kiran Kumar).
There’s a mystery behind his seeking her out which only gets revealed towards the end. Needless to say the eager-to-please PI Bilqis jumps at the chance to prove her mettle and inevitably gets embroiled in skullduggery that also involves her family and familiars. There are several sub-plots to add weight to the main narrative plotline and they make for an interesting and entertaining assemblage of events. Unfortunately, it’s the main plotline hinging on the cases of ferreting out three persons that fails to convince.
The film begins interestingly with two lovers (Arjun Bajwa, Anupriya Goenka) making out while a Maulvi stares at them intriguingly. But the moment is lost when the Maulvi takes out his cell phone and films/clicks pictures of the proceedings. There’s absolutely no attempt to make the Maulvi’s attempt to photograph the clandestine lovers look like it’s done with any semblance of guile or smarts. The obviousness is off-putting and the resultant chase appears pre-meditated. Of course it’s a signature introduction for our wannabe jasoos who comes out on the winning side.
After being chased through the mohalla by local goon Lala (Arjun Bajwa), the Maulvi takes to a side street and removes his disguise. Pronto, it’s revealed that the Maulvi is in fact our feisty little Bilqis who later, walks right through the market place without much ado or fear of discovery. Following this, we are introduced to her largish family of parents (Rajendra Gupta, Supriya Pathak), aunts (Tanvi Azmi, Zarina Wahab), siblings, cousins etc. And we get to know that she is actually doing duty for one of her aunts and another for a TV anchor Tassavur (Ali Fazal), trying to find fault with every wedding proposal he is confronted with.
These cases are of course too lame for Bilqis’ talents and Anees Khan’s entry into the scene allows for Bilqis’ high-fluting ambitions to take shape. A Rs. 50.000 advance and more to come once the case is solved, whips up her appetite for intrigue and she sets out on the chase with ingenuity but without any thought for repercussions. It’s only when the last case from Anees Khan falls into her lap, that she gets set into thinking as to why he is so mysterious. But by then too much water has flown under the bridge to make what comes next believable.
The milieu, the setting and the cinematography are top-notch. The Hyderabadi lingo though not note perfect, allows for some strong flavour and lends gravitas to the otherwise uneven tone. The casting is also perfect. You won’t find fault with the assemblage of stalwarts both young and old. Supriya Pathak, Rajendra Gupta, Kiran Kumar, Tanvi Azmi, Zarina Wahab, Ali Fazal, Arjun Bajwa and the rest of the supporting cast make it stick despite this being a Vidya Balan show all along. Even Vidya Balan does her best to keep the interest and entertainment going but the flagging storyline and the un-enchanting narrative structure makes it difficult going. ‘Bobby Jasoos’ can be said to be fitfully entertaining but certainly not inveigling!
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