Cast: Vidya Balan, Ali Fazal, Kiran Kumar, Supriya Pathak Kapur, Tanvi Azmi, Arjan Bajwa
Direction: Samar Shaikh
Samar Shaikh’s naïve detective is not savvy but despite the lack of sophistication, our lady Karamchand has a certain charm that keeps us intrigued. The same can be said about the film ‘Bobby Jasoos’, while it might not break new ground as a Bollywood detective film, it manages to keep us entertained.
Bilkis aka Bobby Jasoos (Vidya Balan) has no formal training, no exceptional expertise, and no finesse and yet, this 30-year-old Hyderabadi girl from a middle-class Muslim family wants to become a famous detective. No one takes her seriously, neither her family nor a potential employer, except her two loyal sidekicks – Shetty (Prasad Barve) and Munna (Aakash Dahiya). In fact, when you see her go about her business, you realize that though she might be good with her many guises, she lacks a basic quality that any detective should possess – discretion. In fact, most of the time, she is clueless on how to embark on her investigation. She ends up making her search a big event rather than tactfully complete the entrusted task.
I actually had more fun watching Shetty and Munna, who were desperate to help than while following Bobby on her fanciful adventures. The small jobs that Bobby was offered by friends, so that they could circumvent uncomfortable situations, also made for some genuinely funny moments. There was hardly any detective work involved but it helped her make some quick bucks.
In fact, even when she gets a big break, it’s less about her competence and more about the logistics – she is at the right place at the right time. And I like that about the director – he never tries to make Bobby an over-achiever, while her process evolves a little by the third search, her craft hasn’t really transformed much. As a viewer while you realize that she really might not make it big as a detective ever, you are still willing to indulge her lofty ambitions.
‘Bobby Jasoos’ is not about how successful Bilkis will be as a detective but it is more about her trying to prove to her father that a young Muslim girl can have dreams other than just aspire to settle down for marital bliss.
And this is where the romantic track also conforms to the theme. Two unlikely people, both looking for an escape from their predictable futures find themselves trapped and betrothed. Bobby is bold, Tasawur (Ali Fazal) is non-confrontational and yet, it becomes increasingly impossible for them to get out of a seemingly uncomplicated arrangement.
Ali Fazal is a pleasant surprise – suave as a local television show host, well spoken and a little too passive, he is a charmer.
Vidya is most definitely more effective in her serious roles than in a comic part but she makes the clumsy Bobby a very believable character.
The film has a solid supporting cast that makes little moments memorable – Supriya Pathak Kapur, Tanvi Azmi and Prasad Barve are commendable in their roles.
To be honest if I had to compare this with another film, the antics of ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ (2005) and the scams they managed to pull off where far more hilarious.
‘Bobby Jasoos’ is not a laughter riot but there’s a rare subtlety in this film that is hard to find these days.