Jism 2: To Love Her is to Die is simultaneously ridiculous and wildly entertaining. The “sequel” is related to 2003’s Jism (“Body”) in name only.
The film’s main gimmick is that director Pooja Bhatt cast Canadian porn actress Sunny Leone in the lead role, Leone’s first outside of the adult film industry. Jism 2‘s opening lines, spoken by Leone (actually, by the actress who dubbed Leone’s Hindi dialog), are: “My name is Izna. I’m a porn star.”
This revelation has no bearing on the plot. The only indications that she’s a porn star are her penchants for pale pink lip gloss and platform heels. I suspect the profession is mentioned to condone the fact that Izna has sex with both male leads. Would that behavior have been unacceptable had Izna been a doctor or a bank teller?
Izna is recruited by an unspecified government agency to seduce her ex-boyfriend, Kabir (Randeep Hooda), a former intelligence officer turned terrorist. He has “data” the agency wants. Don’t expect satisfying answers about what the data is, the nature of the agency, or why Kabir went rogue.
Izna finds herself in a sticky situation when the agency officer who recruited her, Ayaan (Arunoday Singh), falls for her. Will she be able to betray her former flame, even though he still carries a torch for her?
Leone exceeds expectations by not being terrible. The spunky newcomer is undeniably gorgeous, and she makes a determined effort to convey Izna’s conflicted emotions. However, her acting is overshadowed by her heaving bosom. Leone’s lips are parted in all scenes except for those showing her sleeping, her mouth-breathing allowing her to achieve perpetual breathlessness and maximum breast movement.
Hooda likewise tries really hard to make Kabir mysterious and sexy. This performance should establish Hooda as Bollywood’s go-to actor for smoldering intensity. Given the volume of Leone’s cleavage on display, there aren’t nearly enough shots of Hooda shirtless on balance.
Compared to the performances of his costars, Singh appears in most scenes to have been recently roused from a nap. While Leone heaves her little heart out, Singh just stands there, delivering his lines limply.
I think it’s time to have a discussion as to whether or not Arunoday Singh is leading-man material. He’s not a great actor, and his high-pitched voice doesn’t match his beefy frame. Yes, he’s tall and muscular, but he’s not handsome, no matter how often the female characters in movies such as Aisha insist that he is. He’d make a fine villain or bodyguard/sidekick, but cast alongside a hunk like Randeep Hooda, Singh gets blown out of the water.
The height differential between Singh and Hooda presents continuity problems in Jism, 2 as Leone is forced to change footwear mid-scene, depending which actor she’s paired with. She wears heels as she leaves the towering Singh for a jungle meeting with the much shorter Hooda and emerges from the underbrush wearing flats.
How did this jungle meeting come about, you wonder. Izna invites Kabir to discuss their unresolved feelings in person via a truly hilarious text message: “Meet me in the jungle next to the highway.” An ideal spot to rekindle a romance! I wanted Kabir to show up late, apologizing: “I went to the forest next to the turnpike by mistake.”
The text message exemplifies the most unintentionally funny aspect of Jism 2: Izna is a terrible seductress. In a flashback to her initial meeting with Kabir years earlier — the scene isn’t introduced as a flashback, so for a time I wondered why the former lovers didn’t recognize one another — Izna falls in love with Kabir after he lets her off the hook for a crime. She expresses her feelings to him in a love letter written in her own blood!
Somehow, Izna’s batshit crazy overture works. Kabir repeatedly sniffs the letter, as if inhaling her perfume: AB+.
Even the romance scenes veer into creepy territory. Both of the guys sneak into Izna’s bedroom and spy on her while she sleeps, clad in uncomfortable-looking lingerie. Liplocks routinely end with the kissers joined by strings of spittle. Leone writhes and arches her back like a champ, but shots of Kabir sucking on Izna’s toes are just gross.
Just for the sheer craziness of it all, I think I’m recommending Jism 2 as a must-see. It’s not good, but it’s certainly entertaining in spurts.