I always have time for a film that charms while it entertains and that is precisely what Bobby Jasoos does. With a very simple premise of an aspiring private detective who gets a big job that takes her out of her depth, I felt the film had a clear ambition and was determined to get to its goal, neatly working through or around certain obstacles. Whilst this approach works well in the first half, the second half could have done with some tidying up – a song chopped off and a tighter resolution to the romantic angle would have made for a much stronger film.
Having said that, Bobby Jasoos is still a decent film which has a lovely self confidence about itself – there is an unhurried feel to proceedings which is at odds with the convention of four storylines converging every thirty seconds that audiences are force fed these days. But the upshot is the characters are given a rare breathing space to explore and grow into three dimensional people who are believable and interesting to watch. This is especially prevalent in the case of the lead character Bilkis aka Bobby who wins us over with her charm and drive to make a name for herself in her world.
Performance wise, the ensemble cast led by Balan all give a great performance. Kumar tones it down to give his mysterious character the right amount of intrigue and shadow. Fazal is wonderful as the romantic lead whilst Bajwa also makes more of the grey shaded Lala than he is given. Though Pathak, Azmi and Wahab don’t have much scope, they do leave respectable accounts of what are essentially stock characters. Balan is wonderful as Bobby – measured, natural and spontaneous, Balan is the life of the film, giving a spirited performance and carrying the film when the screenplay falters. That she is good in both ensemble and solo scenes is a testament to her versatility.
Anyone expecting a gritty or intense detective drama will be sorely disappointed – this is not a whodunnit nor is the pay off at the end something that will satisfy everyone. Instead, Bobby Jasoos is a family entertainer in the vein of a Bhoothnath where larger issues are carefully concealed but not ignored and at its heart, has a simple message of a woman following her dream against the odds. I enjoyed Bobby Jasoos and think there is ample mileage to make a very interesting franchise out of this character; I certainly want to know what happens to the characters after the film ends. A surprise in a good way then – Bobby Jasoos is worth a watch.