(Published in The Sunday Guardian, on 5 August, 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/more-than-just-skin-show)
Cast: Randeep Hooda, Sunny Leone, Arunoday Singh
Director: Pooja Bhatt
Rating: 3 stars
My most memorable impression of Jism 2 came from an exchange on Twitter. On July 6, Pooja Bhatt tweeted: “Showed the final cut ofJism2 to my father. His comment: Jism2 is India’s answer to Last Tango in Paris.” Of all people, Salman Rushdie replied, with: “If that was India’s answer to Last Tango, what was the question?”
Truth be told, I was waiting for this movie so I could rip it apart. From the promos and trailers, I’d already composed lines about how Sunny Leone looks like she’s going to, umm, jism every time Randeep Hooda so much as touches her arm. But the film turned out to be about more than just sex.
Of course, the predominantly male audience whooped for Sunny Leone. But to Pooja Bhatt’s credit, she’s exploited the carnal appeal of Randeep Hooda, thereby giving heterosexual women and homosexual men plenty of fare. Hooda, whose performances – and physique – seem to get better with every film, excels as the disturbed cop-turned-assassin Kabir Wilson. It appears perfectly normal for Wilson to worship both Communism and Christ.
You know he’s delusional when he takes up with porn star Izna (Sunny Leone), a former flame who’s been hired by intelligence officer Ayaan Thakur (Arunoday Singh), and then tells her something about being the only tree in his dasht-e-tanhai – or its Hindi equivalent. Also, the izna in his gloom.
Naturally, a movie from the Bhatt banner is bound to have holier-than-thou rhetoric, tirades against corruption, and terrorists. And therefore, lines like “Terrorist ko maarna punya hai.”
Of course, the premise of the film is illogical. You’d think a guy who’s got a book on Che Guevara (who didn’t quite preach what he practised) and The Bible by his bedside would’ve got used to celibacy. But for all its flaws, it has one great asset – a male lead who can act – and a female lead whose assets distract from her inability to act.
Most of the time, it feels less like a thriller than a mood piece. The lighting is haunting, frames exquisite, and songs pleasant. There are occasional moments when one wonders whether this film could have climbed above its genre if Hooda had a more capable co-actor to bounce energy off of, but then one remembers that this is a product of what will likely become the Jism franchise. And the homecoming of India’s one truly famous hardcore porn star.
The Verdict: Yes, she’s topless most of the time. So is Hooda. Enough reason to go?