As we came out of the matinee show after watching “Bobby Jasoos” we realized that it was raining cats and dogs outside. As we stepped out of the theatre we were lucky to find an auto and as we hopped into it, I muttered, “ CMH road ko jana”. I was aghast that I was speaking Hyderabadi Hindi… that speaks volumes about Bobby Jasoos and the Hyderabadi lingo used in the movie and its impact on the viewers!
Shot completely in Hyderabad, the view of the city at night is truly breath taking. The movie has only one dream song that has been shot outdoors. Otherwise, the entire movie has been shot in the city. The truth is that there is not a minute of boredom when you watch the movie. Often Bollywood movies have a sense of deja-vu about them. Bobby Jasoos is a honorable exception!
Contrary to what you would expect, Vidya Balan’s able performance does not overshadow other performances. The film has done complete justice to all the veteran actors [Kiran Kumar, Supriya Pathak, Rajendra Gupta, Tanve Azmi, Zarina Wahab] as well as newcomers [Arjan Bajwa, Ali Zafar, Prasad Barve].Ali Zafar does resemble Shreyas Talpade a bit but his performance is worth taking note of. We all know how Shahrukh Khan signed veteran actress Kamini Kaushal for a 46-second role in “Chennai Express”. Rohit Shetty should take a leaf out of Diya Mirza’s book. The Hyderabad born actress and former Miss India Diya Mirza has produced this movie along with future husband Sahil Sanga and has ensured that every actor in the movie is given ample scope for displaying their histrionic talents!
The plot is simple and less contrived and the narrative is as taut as “Kahani” was. For a change, Vidya Balan as Bilkish aka Bobby is seen in salwar-kameezes except in one particular scene where she is breathtaking in a multi-colored saree [which is the latest fashion trend now]. Bobby wants to become a female detective and in the process antagonizes her father [Rajendra Gupta, subtle but nuanced performance] and her khaala [ Tanve Azmi as the wily, foul-mouthed aunt with a heart of gold]. The only one who stands by her is mother [Supriya Pathak, who literally steals the show as a Hyderabadi woman].
Zarina Wahab is originally from Hyderabad and she plays a brief role in the movie. No need to mention that Hyderabadi dialect is something that you will fall in love with after watching the movie. Vidya Balan’s various avatars and different get-ups spice up the movie as expected. Some of her antics make you laugh for a while. What was the motivation for Bilkish to become a jasoos… a female detective? This aspect is somehow never revealed in the movie. However, in a conservative Muslim family based in Hyderabad, a daughter is given a free hand to choose her career is something that is noteworthy and speaks of the progressive times that we are living in. In any case, scripts choose actresses like Vidya Balan and Kangana Ranaut and it is certainly not the other way around!
In a tailor-made role, Vidya shines as Bobby Jasoos who wants to join a detective agency but is spurned by the promoter for her lack of English speaking skills and for not having a BA/ MA degree. She decides to start on her own and her first client is one Mr Khan [Kiran Kumar in a subdued and restrained performance] who is cryptic with his instructions but rewards her handsomely for her feats as a female detective. Bobby uses innovative methods to track down the people her clients want to know more about. But when Mr Khan offers her a huge sum of money for tracing one Mr Ali, she retracts and starts doubting his intentions. Before long, she and Ali Zafar manage to break into Mr Khan’s hotel room where she picks up his diary. Using the clues in the diary, Bobby manages to track Khan’s past to some extent. The real reason for Khan using her services is revealed in the climax and it is somewhat predictable.
The sub-plot involving the dashing and debonair Arjan Bajwa [who had earlier acted in “Fashion”] as Lala also manages to hold your interest. The final scene in which Bobby breaks the iron wall between herself and her father is filled with poetic emotion. The dialogue deserves a mention – ‘However strict fathers may be, fathers still love their daughters!’
The movie is interspersed with comic scenes strewn around the plot and this is what holds the narrative together. Bobby’s mother trying to fight her fear while stepping on the escalator, Bobby forcing her entire family to eat Biryani day in and day out to unravel a mystery, Bobby fixing an audio device on Ali’s body commanding him to break their marriage, her joi-de-vivre with Shetty, the owner of the internet café, her squabbles with the menacing Lala… all these contribute to the screen play that never falters even for a second.
The music is nothing to write home about. The dialogues are easy going and the Hyderabadi lingo, to reiterate, is sweet music to the ears. The performances are avant garde. Ali Zafar shows lot of promise. Arjan Bajwa’s talent needs to be exploited by Bollywood in the future. Tanve Azmi is sharp. Rajendra Gupta brings the image of a Hyderabadi father in front of your eyes. Supriya Pathak lives the role and her innocence and love for her eldest daughter Bobby is heart rending.
Above all, the film truly belongs to Vidya Balan who has carried the film on her able shoulders. From a shy woman in “Parineeta” to her bold and sexy avatar in “The Dirty Picture”, to an avengeful woman seeking justice for her husband’s murder in “Kahani” to “Bobby Jasoos” - Vidya has indeed come a long way and has proved, beyond doubt, that she is an actress of substance! Bollywood scriptwriters can now rejoice for so long as we have actresses of the caliber of Vidya Balan, the script will continue to be the hero!