Thursday, January 17, 2013

So, I watched Jism 2. Yes, really.

There were three film reviews of Jism 2 I considered writing. 

One was a long, sprawling essay that read too much into the gender and sexual politics of the film, and could essentially be summarized with "there's a woman and two men, and one of them tells her what to do and is mean, and the other tells her what to do slightly less and is actually gives her some agency, and wait, why is she a porn star again?". That's just what happens when I watch erotic thrillers, I suppose, but it didn't quite work, and I think I knew it from the get-go. 

The second one was a short collection of rather shallow notes on Randeep Hooda's performance in the film. Not really one for the general readership of the blog, so I opted not to write this one, either.

The third option was to just snark the film, so that's what I did.

In order to support female directors, or female directors benefiting directly from nepotism, I decided to watch Pooja Bhatt's erotic treatise on international terrorism and conspiracy theories. Just kidding, I actually just wanted to watch Randeep Hooda endlessly making out with (current? former?) porn star Sunny Leone. On that front, the film was completely satisfying, no complaints. Everything else? Well...

I have to question the choice to make her character Izna a porn star as well. What exact purpose did this serve? She sleeps with the intelligence agent Ayan, who eventually hires her, in the first scenes of the film after seducing him at the bar. Was this the reason? Only porn stars have casual sex with strangers? Soon we find out her mission as the new 007 is to effectively seduce her ex  Kabir (Randeep Hooda) who's gone rogue, killing people left and right. Well, not seduce, exactly. They just need her to steal the data from the computer he keeps in his bedroom, but Ayan doesn't want her to sleep with her ex. It's almost as if she's not dealing with professionals! (Spoilers: she isn't.)

I must express concern for Sunny Leone's health, as she appears to constantly be on the verge of an asthma attack throughout the film. Not a scene goes by where the poor woman's breath is not stuck in her throat for whatever reason, and her bosom heaves in desperate need of air. Her physique suggests she gets enough exercise, and does not seem winded, so it's got to be something else, and I believe a doctor should attend to this as urgently as possible. 

As much as I harp on Miss Leone and her irregular breathing, she's not as bad at acting as the two men whose characters rope her into this mess - so bad they are in fact, that I refuse to look up their names for this review. Run to Google, should you care. Her acting is mostly just reacting to things other people tell her - and she actually does a pretty fine job of it. Isn't the most difficult part of acting reacting, anyway? Isn't Sunny Leone, by excelling somewhat at this, miles ahead of pretty much everybody? Shouldn't Ranbir give one of his Filmfare Awards to her already? Besides, for all the talk about how bad porn actors are at acting, let us consider this for a moment: how well would you act, if your character is a horny college girl who has to seduce the pizza delivery guy. It's not like you can go method with scenarios as flimsy as that. I'd like to see Aamir Khan sink his teeth into that one. (Not literally..)

Thankfully the torture from the secondary characters on-screen comes to a merciful end and we are treated to the sight of Randeep Hooda, who is under the illusion that he is in a genuinely good film. It would be tragic if it were not so spectacular. He puts his goddamn everything into the dialogue, so much so that I succumbed to the same illusion myself for a moment, and was left heaving, breathless like a poor woman's Sunny Leone. He also looked good. So. Very. Good. Suddenly, I believed in the silly, plothole-infested story. He was a tortured guy, stuck in a job he could no longer leave - she was the sole light in his life, and having her returned to him, he didn't want her to leave. Sadly, the illusion lasted only as long as each of his scenes did. (That voice, though, damn.)

Now here's the biggest plot hole of them all: why pigeon-hole a porn star into an erotic thriller that isn't even very erotic? Look, call me old-fashioned, but if you want to watch her in erotic situations, surely you just her previous career's fruits? You don't watch a low budget Hindi film with some liplocking and one potentially erotic back rub scene that doesn't even reach the heights of a softcore film. It's pretty unfair to think that Sunny Leone's talents lie solely in the world of erotica. I look forward to seeing her as prime minister, or as DCP, or as chief rowdy, or as an incarnation of a goddess. Pooja Bhatt, are you up to the challenge?

Would I recommend Jism 2? Yes, of course. It will serve its viewer in a meaningful manner and inform them philosophically. It's like an erotic back rub for your mind. Trust me. 


Stuart Martin said...

What a fun review, a kinder, gentler version of the Vigil Idiot's. Sadly, I think you've made it clear that the film is far too cerebral for my tastes.

veracious said...

Yeah, I liked that review for the ruthlessness but it did not capture the campy redeeming elements of the film at all.

Beth Watkins said...

"Like an erotic back rub for your mind." I say "EWWW" and "HAHAHAHAHHA!" :D

veracious said...

Ahaha, you should've seen the scene that inspired me to say that! So bad, yet so good.