Tag Archives: Jism 2

Movie Review: Boom (2003)

Boom_movie_poster1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon

2003’s Boom was brought to my attention by Shah Shahid of Blank Page Beatdown as an example of a movie that is so bad that it is actually good. Shah Shahid is absolutely correct. This is a terrible movie that is a lot of fun to watch.

Let me clarify what, in my opinion, makes a movie “so bad, it’s good.” The movie must be entertaining or funny in an unintentional way. “So bad, it’s good” movies can never be made ironically or with any kind of self-awareness. They result from the earnest efforts of a filmmaker that fall woefully short of competence and quality.

There also has to be a sort of inevitability to the failure, as though anyone reading the script would think, “This will never work.” And yet the filmmaker manages to secure the money to make it and convinces people to participate in the filming, in spite of what should be glaring flaws. My best Bollywood example — before having seen Boom — is Jism 2. Birdemic and The Room are my favorite American examples.

Boom meets all the criteria. Writer-director Kaizad Gustad clearly envisioned making a sexy, edgy crime flick to push the boundary of what passes for good taste in India. It fails miserably.

Setting the action within the fashion industry allows Gustad to cast his three main actresses for their willingness to don revealing outfits, and not for their acting ability. In the film’s opening scene, a bra-less Padma Lakshmi struts the catwalk in a see-through shirt, the opening salvo in a barrage of breasts that continues throughout the film.

Lakshmi plays Sheila, one of a trio of model friends that includes Katrina Kaif (in her film debut) as Rina. The group is led by Anu (Madhu Sapre), who’s presumably in charge because she’s the only native-born Indian. The foreign-born status of Sheila and Rina — who speak primarily in English in the film — is mentioned often, seemingly to justify their wearing skimpier outfits than Anu.

The friends find themselves in trouble when Anu fights with another model in the middle of a fashion show, and dozens of stolen diamonds spill onto the runway from their hiding place in the model’s hairdo. The other model flees, leaving the three ladies to account for the missing diamonds.

The diamonds were supposed to make their way to Dubai, home of crime boss Bade Mia (Amitabh Bachchan) and his brother, Medium (Gulshan Grover). Bade’s co-conspirator in Mumbai, Chhote Mia (Jackie Shroff), sends his muscle, Boom (Javed Jaffrey), to force the trio of models to cooperate. Things get complicated when Boom starts making his own plans, with the help of the models’ maid, Bharti (Seema Biswas).

The plot doesn’t make a lick of sense. Boom’s scheme to get out of debt to Bade involves stealing Bade’s own diamonds from him, then selling them back to Bade. This is the same Bade who snaps one of his employees necks because the toilet paper in his hotel was folded incorrectly. Sending a bunch of inexperienced models in to negotiate with Bade and Medium seems phenomenally stupid.

Also stupid: getting the models high before forcing them to rob a bank, although the mass-hallucination dance party that they experience mid-robbery is spectacular.

Predictably, the film’s ending makes no sense. Turns out Bharti and Bade’s oft-humiliated secretary, Alice (Zeenat Aman), are criminal masterminds in their own right. Apparently, they schemed for years in the hope that, one day, Anu would accidentally pick a fight with the one model who happened to be smuggling diamonds, thereby providing them with a means to ascend to the top of the underworld.

But plot irregularities are the least of Boom‘s problems. The performances are crazy, across the board. Kaif and Sapre are almost unbearable in their big screen debuts, making Lakshmi look like Meryl Streep by comparison. Aman and Biswas are fine, given the odd tasks that are required of them, including Aman doing a table dance in a conference room.

All of the male characters — apart from Medium — are completely wacky, and bless the actors for playing them as such. Bachchan sports a white wig and drives around a Toys R’ Us in a child-sized motorized car. Shroff growls through his dialog while sitting behind a desk that his female assistant lives under. He also licks a newspaper photo of Bo Derek.

Did I forget to mention that Boom features Bo Derek in the world’s most under-utilized cameo? Besides having her photo licked and having Bade bark to Alice, “Get me Bo!”, Bo — who’s in either Mumbai or Dubai (or both?) for a book signing — is only seen in Bade’s dream sequence, emerging from the ocean in a gold saree. She has no dialog and doesn’t interact with anyone else in the cast.

While the model characters dress rather butch when they’re not sporting bikini tops, Bade and Chhote wear outfits that even Liberace would consider garish. Bade dresses in all white (to match his wig), favoring lacy shirts with flouncy sleeves. Chhote wears black hot pants with a shirt that appears to actually be a lady’s sheer, fur-trimmed robe.

Jaffrey’s Boom is equally over-the-top. His giant handgun is an obvious metaphor for his penis, made that much more obvious when he lays it on his lap, barrel pointed toward his face, and strokes it for a good two minutes. When he’s not stroking his gun, he pokes the models in the breasts with it as a way of emphasizing his conversational points.

As is always the case with “so bad, it’s good” movies, a written account of Boom‘s oddities does not do it justice. It must be seen to be believed. It’s awful, but it’s always entertaining.

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Best Bollywood Movies of 2012

2012 was a good year for Hindi movies. Of the fifty 2012 releases that I reviewed this year, thirty-one earned positive reviews of 2.5-stars or higher. The ten films below were the best of the best. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

My favorite movies of the year were almost exclusively dramas, whether the subject matter was political (e.g., Shanghai and Chakravyuh), social (e.g., Ishaqzaade and Talaash), or personal (e.g., Cocktail and Patang).

English Vinglish — a personal drama about a mother’s quest to regain her self-worth — proved to be one of the years most delightful surprises, thanks to a triumphant return to the big screen by Sridevi.

I awarded a perfect four-stars to three movies this year — movies that could not be more different from one another. Supermen of Malegaon is one of the most fun and fascinating documentaries I’ve ever seen. While it never released theatrically in the U.S., the whole movie is available for free with English subtitles on YouTube.

Evaluated in a vacuum, Barfi! is a wonderful and heart-wrenching movie. But given director Anurag Basu’s apparent lifting of whole scenes from other films, I have trouble recommending it with a clear conscience. Therefore, I instead recommend the (unfortunately-titled) Jism 2, a movie so bad, it’s good. There’s no movie I had more fun watching in 2012.

The best film of the year was a meticulously crafted thriller with character development to spare and a magnificent, evocative setting. My best Bollywood movie of 2012 is Kahaani.

This is a movie I could watch over and over again. Vidya Balan reaffirms that she’s the most talented actress working in Hindi films at the moment. Her co-star, Parambrata Chatterjee, holds his own alongside her, playing a police officer with a crush that’s doomed to go nowhere.

One aspect of Kahaani I particularly appreciate is its positive take on marriage. Balan plays Vidya, a pregnant woman from London searching for her husband, Arnab, who’s gone missing in Kolkata. Everyone tries to tell her that he has probably just run out on her, but she refuses to believe them. She knows in her heart that not only would he never leave their unborn baby, but he wouldn’t leave her, either.

So often, we’re confronted with cultural tropes that portray marriage negatively. Husbands are depicted as either incorrigible philanderers or hapless morons barely tolerated by wives who only need them for baby-making and yardwork.
Isn’t it more satisfying to see an onscreen marriage in which both partners really know and value each other? That’s what makes Vidya’s search so frustrating and engrossing: there’s real love at stake.

Best Bollywood Movies of 2012

  1. Kahaani — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  2. Barfi! — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  3. Supermen of Malegaon — Buy at Amazon
  4. Talaash — Buy at Amazon
  5. English Vinglish — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  6. Patang — Buy/rent at iTunes
  7. Ishaqzaade — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  8. Chakravyuh — Buy at Amazon
  9. Shanghai — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  10. Cocktail — Buy at Amazon

Honorable MentionJism 2 — Buy at Amazon

Previous Best Movies Lists

 

In Theaters August 10, 2012

With the guaranteed blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger set to open next Wednesday, there are no new Hindi movies opening in Chicago area theaters on Friday, August 10. However, the options that remain are pretty good.

The inept yet deliriously fun Jism 2 carries over for a second week at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. The South Barrington 30 also carries over the compelling romantic drama Cocktail for a fifth week. Last weekend’s largely unheralded new release, Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai, gets another week at the Golf Glen 5.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Andala Rakshasi (Telugu), Julayi (Telugu), Mirattal (Tamil), and Vaadhyar (Malayalam).

The trailers for two October 5, 2012, releases went public today. Preity Zinta’s Ishkq in Paris:

… and Vivek Oberoi’s Kismet Love Paisa Dilli:

Some other noteworthy trailers released recently include those for Raaz 3 (opening September 7):

… and Student of the Year (October 19):

Movie Review: Jism 2 (2012)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

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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Opening August 3: Jism 2 and Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai

Another new Hindi sequel opens in the Chicago area on August 3, 2012. Jism 2 isn’t a direct follow-up to the 2003 erotic thriller Jism and features new characters played by Randeep Hooda and Sunny Leone. Given that “jism” (Hindi for “body”) is a crude slang term in English, I will ask for my ticket using the film’s subtitle: To Love Her is to Die.

Jism 2: To Love Her is to Die opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 12 min. Read my review here.

Also new at the Golf Glen 5 on Friday is the romantic drama Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai.

The comedy Kya Super Kool Hain Hum carries over for a second week at both of the above theaters and the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. The South Barrington 30 is also holding over Cocktail and Bol Bachchan.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Mirattal (Tamil), Uu Kodathara? Ulikki Padathara? (Telugu), and Vaadhyar (Malayalam).