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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.
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Nice written. But why haven’t you mentioned anything about Arif Zakaria? 🙂 By the way, I am impressed by the way you watch every single detail. I never noticed the change of footwear 😀
Surprisingly, I loved Gangs Of Wasseypur 2. Here’s my review – http://thecommonmanspeaks.com/2012/08/08/gangs-of-wasseypur-2-review/
If you know nothing about the first part, please skip the plot section of my review as it can be a spoiler 🙂
Thanks, Keyur! I ran out of room to mention Arif Zakaria (who plays Ayaan’s boss), who totally lives up to the hype from the review written in his honor:
Being a woman, I can’t help but notice when female characters in films wear impractical shoes for their circumstances. What sane woman wears stiletto heels on a jungle trek? When Izna comes running out of the jungle, I knew there was know way she could do so wearing the same high heels she wore into the jungle. Sure enough, she’s suddenly in ballet flats. Mark my words, Keyur: next time you see a female character in a film strolling along a beach or running through a forest, you’ll check to see if she’s wearing appropriate footwear. 🙂
Thanks for posting a link to your GoW2 review (and for the spoiler alert). I hope we’ll get to see it in the U.S. someday. Since you mention how different the tone and pacing of the second film is compared to the first, do you think it was ultimately intended to be shown in two parts or as one 5-hour film, as shown at some film festivals? Would you have preferred to watch it as one epic film?
Lol! You explained the heels thing very nicely. And you know what? Before reading the last line of the first para of your comment, I had decided I should check a woman’s footwear in a film! Wow 😀
I guess the intention of the makers of GOW would have been to show it as a 5-hour movie only in festivals because they know it is impossible for Indian audience to watch a 5-hour movie. In Mumbai, only for today and tomorrow, they have showing the full 5-hour version but only three shows a day. And I don’t prefer to watch GOW as one epic film 🙂
By the way, I thought of you some time back when I saw Aamir’s pictures from Dhoom 3 shoot in Chicago 🙂
I love that Indian audiences are fine watching Lagaan for four hours, but five hours for Gangs of Wasseypur is too long! 🙂 We don’t even get interval breaks in the U.S.! For everyone’s sake, I’m glad GoW was broken into two parts.
I’ve heard that Dhoom 3 will be shooting in Chicago through October. I’ll try and post any local news updates if the stars are spotted out on the town.
Lol! Yes, Lagaan was fine because it was only 3 hours 40 minutes. If it was a 5-hour movie, I don’t think people would have been fine, at least not me 🙂 And I didn’t know you don’t get interval breaks even for Hindi films!!
If you post any local news, I am sure the journos over here will find a source 🙂
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