The thrill of the chest

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By Nishita Jha

Jism 2
DIRECTOR
Pooja Bhatt
STARRING
Sunny Leone, Arunoday Singh, Randeep Hooda, Arif Zakaria

When Mahesh Bhatt offered Sunny Leone the lead in Jism 2, he told her she had all the raw material (“commitment, emotions, intuition”) necessary to elicit a first-rate performance. Unfortunately, Pooja Bhatt is unable to evince little more than a heaving of Leone’s fine bosom. The audience, (which includes Leone’s fans, accustomed to reading her body language online) is left to decode the rate of heaves-per-minute, and decide whether she is angry, scared or turned on.

Leone’s character Izna informs us that she is a porn star, but this serves no purpose, except perhaps to explain to the viewer why she could like sex — because porn star is still code for slut. After a wordless tryst with Ayaan (Arunoday Singh), which leaves her make-up and lingerie inexplicably intact, Izna discovers he is an intelligence officer looking to hire her for a secret mission. The two go to Galle, where Ayaan’s boss (Arif Zakaria) informs her that she must seduce rogue cop and terrorist Kabir (Randeep Hooda) — who is Izna’s ex-flame and conveniently still loves her. Izna’s bosom heaves, possibly in trepidation, and after tossing back some neat alcohol, she agrees to take on the assignment. Izna and Ayaan (now Karan) move in next to Kabir, who Izna manages to seduce.

All of this is supposed to lead to a secret hard drive that Kabir has hidden in his room. No one manages to access this drive, in spite of breaking in to his house, moving in with him and killing his best friend. When Kabir finally discovers Izna is a honey-trap, he hands her the hard drive, growling about a conspiracy theory involving corrupt officers, warlords and arms deals. Izna heaves her bosom (understandingly?) but shoots him anyway and escapes, only to discover that Ayaan had been plotting to kill her once the mission was accomplished. In spite of the fact that Ayaan has now killed his morphine-injecting boss to save Izna, she realises Kabir was right all along and tries to run back to him.

This is Arunoday Singh’s worst performance yet — the only evidence we have that Ayaan loves Izna is him sulking in corners, and the creepy scene in which he caresses her skin with a torchlight (the Bhatts should have retired this move after Kasoor). Hooda has come a long way from his wooden performances, but one wonders if this is progress. His gravelly-voice was possibly developed during an acting workshop, to add depth to the Urdu verbiage he spouts, but he ends up sounding a bit like Mahesh Bhatt himself, when he told Leone that Jism 2 would be the story of a girl who rises from the gutter to great spiritual heights.

There is little holding this film together except Leone’s jism, her ease in tiny clothes and high heels, and the beautiful locales.

Nishita Jha is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.
nishita@tehelka.com

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