Rating : Excellent (4.2/5)
Genre : Mystery
Year : 2014
Running time : 1 hour 57 minutes
Director : Samar Shaikh
Cast : Vidya Balan, Ali Fazal, Supriya Pathak, Tanvi Azmi, Rajendra Gupta, Zarina Wahab
Kidwise : PG
The object of movies is to entertain, to enthrall, to mesmerize preferably via a strong story, good direction and believable characters. Such story-based movies in Bollywood are scarce, (especially this year, when one mindless film follows another), so when one like Bobby Jasoos does come along, it is a must-see.
Vidya Balan plays Bilkis Ahmed or Bobby, a feisty young Hyderabadi woman born into a conservative Muslim family. She has little interest in household tasks or feminine frivolities like clothes and make-up, and runs around with one goal in mind – to become a detective. Her unladylike demeanor and her clamor for working outside the home leave her father disgruntled. At 30, almost an old maid according to some, and the butt of jokes, Bobby remains steadfast nevertheless with the support of her loving mother.
Turned away by the only detective in town, Bobby decides to set up shop on her own. The cases when they come are local domestic disputes and altercations and background checks for marriage alliances. Tasawwur (Fazal) is a regular client who comes to her with some of his personal problems.
Bobby is tiring of these small-town shenanigans when one day a plum case literally lands in her lap. A mysterious rich stranger wants a girl found, and all he has to go on is a name and a physical characteristic. Bobby is ecstatic because the fee he is offering is large. She manages to find the girl, and soon the same client wants another girl found. Although gleeful, Bobby now starts to have serious misgivings about her client.
This film starts off slow – think low-key rural drama – but revs up very nicely. Vidya Balan veritably sparkles with energy as vivacious Bobby, who’s sure about her career goals, yet wanting to please her father and be the good daughter. Ali Fazal is also a good fit as Tasawur, the young upwardly mobile whipper-snapper news anchor who wants to break out of Charminar’s narrow lanes and build himself a new life, complete with modern wife. You might remember him from Fukrey, where he unimpressively played Zafar, poetry spewing limp noodle. In this film he is so much better, probably because the role itself is better defined. The easy off-hand camaraderie between Bobby and Tasawwur is quite entertaining to see.
Even the supporting cast is fabulous – Supriya Pathak is Bobby’s doting mom and Tanvi Azmi plays Kausar Khala, Bobby’s match-making aunt. Rajendra Gupta is Bobby’s dour and weary-looking father, and what a wonderful job he does!
Bobby Jasoos is not the usual in-your-face, bombastic entertainer. It is a jolly tale of a single, very determined and resourceful young woman. Bobby has qualities rarely found in most Bollywood heroines – she is strong-minded, intelligent and holds her ground. Exuding an earthy confidence Bobby never doubts her abilities, and has a penchant for speaking her mind pretty truculently. Most importantly she thumbs her nose at society’s rules of honor and “izzat” – a nice change from the wimpy heroines wilting under the disapproving male gaze. I quite liked her.
Bobby Jasoos is well directed. I found it endearing with its realistic characters and story. It does have a tepid predictable ending, but remains an entertaining film and a great watch for the whole family.
Kidwise : Barring some necking, this is classy and clean.