Reviewing the Reviews: Critics snigger at Jism 2

06 Aug,2012

By Deepa Gahlot


The Bhatt camp got a whole lot of mileage– equal amounts of outrage and admiration– for signing up porn star Sunny Leone for Jism 2.  Right from the erotic poster (that so offended Mumbai’s mayor) to sizzling stills, the film – directed by Pooja Bhatt – offered viewers sex on toast… and then delivered a tepid, tedious love triangle.


A few years ago, Sunny Leone’s skimpy clothes might have attracted male audiences at least, but now every A-list actress has a bikini body and every male star six-pack abs. So what is the big deal, a ticket buyer might ask.


As can be expected the film got no higher than 2 stars, except of course, the Times of India’s 3.5. Almost every critic decried the lack of a sufficiently high heat quotient and sniggered at the cheesy dialogue. Indian Express’ Shubhra Gupta rightly headlined her review, Bare All Dare Nothing.


Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times wrote, “Neither a feminine nor masculine gaze can combine intense passion with such a ridiculous story. For an erotic film, everyone talks way too much. Of course, we get love-making, Leone’s bare back and ample cleavage. But the Bhatts – Mahesh and Pooja – also want to unveil some deeper truth about men, women and their obsessions with each other. So Jism 2 plays out like an unintentionally funny fever dream. Kabir is a sort of artist-assassin. He plays the cello and sings mournfully. He quotes Faiz to Izna and says lines like, Mausam guzar jaate hain, yaad nahin guzarti. Hooda is a fine actor but here he seems to be emoting for all three of them. Leone, who is very pretty, clearly wasn’t cast for her acting skills, but honestly, she’s not bad. She wisely finds a sort of half-bewildered, half-heavy breathing expression and then stays with it. When the emotion becomes too complex for her to handle, Pooja cuts to the back of her head.”


Sukanya Verma of commented, “In most movies of this genre, sex is employed as a sly tool to arouse psychological intrigue and suspicion, where lack of inhibition works as a disturbing element (Eyes Wide Shut, Sleeping Beauty, anyone?) instead of shabby titillation. But what can one say about a film so paranoid that characters react with such emotional exaggeration and neuroticism as if a nuclear holocaust is upon us? Things get irreversibly dreary after a while. I mean, how many times can one watch two people with zero chemistry going at it, again and again and, well, you get the drift. The one good thing about Jism 2 is the lush green resort it has been shot in — Galle, Sri Lanka. At one point, the possibility of getting a detailed tour of the resort or even its unoccupied rooms seems more exciting than yet another glimpse of Leone’s undressed torso.”


Shubhra Gupta cribbed, “You sit back and wait for some hot action which is what porn stars are meant to show us, right? Or what are they porn stars, avowedly and loudly, for? I am here to tell you that on that count alone, Jism 2 is a crashing disappointment. Yes, there are several flashes of bare backs. There are several flashes of bare everythings, actually, especially in the chest department whose musculature, as they say these days, is awesome. You can see why Ms Leone would be a smash hit in movies which wouldn’t stretch her beyond the requirements of standard X-rated flicks: she’s really pretty, she’s got tumbling locks that tease her shapely shoulders, a constructed bust that proceeds into the room before the rest of her, legs that go on, and so on. But what the makers of Jism 2 didn’t see that for a two hour-and-some film where the leading lady would have to do a little more than moaning and groaning and heating up the bed clothes, Ms Leone would run into trouble. She is made to teeter about in stilettos while delivering dialogues about patriotism and true love. Yes, that’s right.”


Srijana Mitra Das of the Times of India wrote, “Without such plot absurdities, Jism-2 could have been tighter. Slicker. And hotter. Instead, with unexplained turns (how does Izna go from good girl to porn star?) and over-acting, it’s often limp, salvaged by its last 20 minutes of suspense when Izna learns new facts about the IB. Still, Jism-2 offers one more surprise, earning it a couple more points. It’s pleasingly aesthetic, all its sensuousness clad in spa-like serenity, its lighting – golden gossamer, dusty hazes, cool, pale moonlight – actually its sexiest asset. Thank heavens for foreplay.”


The usually effusive Taran Adarsh of couldn’t find ways to praise this film. “On the whole, Jism 2 has Sunny Leone as its USP, but the lacklustre screenplay and the sluggish pace act as deterrents. However, Sunny Leone in the driver’s seat, coupled with a generous dose of skin show and erotica, besides an attention-grabbing title, should act as a honey-trap to lure the audiences. But how one wishes this jism had soul as well!”


Rajeev Masand of IBN wrote, “Unlike the earlier Jism that Pooja Bhatt produced but didn’t direct, this sequel has little of consequence to say about relationships based on lust. The previous film was a well-acted, adult thriller that had rare sexual frankness. In comparison, Jism 2 feels hollow and exploitative…a film in search of a story. Despite some terrific music and Pooja Bhatt’s neat production design, it’s let down by laughable dialogue and a pace slower than my 90-year-old grandmother on a race track.”


Vinayak Chakravorty  of India Today panned it too. “After all the hoopla, what you get is a two-hour condom ad shot in Sri Lanka. Pooja Bhatt’s Jism 2 roughly divides itself into two moods: Sunny Leone striking sultry half-nude poses with Randeep Hooda/Arunoday Singh (which is what you will pay to watch), and Sunny giving a wide-eyed, clueless look as Randeep/Arunoday blabber, blather and yell. Classy, metaphorical, dramatic, gross, dirty, sad, funny – sex on the screen has been all these and more over the years. Pooja just gave sex a new twist: boring.”


Aniruddha Guha of DNA wrote, “Jism 2 is hybrid cinema. A sort of B-grade sex thriller meets patriotic drama meets intense love story meets spoof. The film is all of the above and none of them. It also falls under a category much cherished by film lovers – the So Bad It’s Good variety. In the past few years, Prince, Haunted 3D and Players have made it to the illustrious list of films that are terrible, yet terribly entertaining. Jism 2 is a fitting addition.”


The usually acerbic Kunal Guha of commented, “Why this film is more erratic than erotic is because it only borders on extremes. Neither of the actors can tread the line between screaming their heads off and being so subtle that they resemble the contents of a washing machine in action. Also, there seems to be some confusion about the role of a porn star as Izna admits to being one but functions as a prostitute. It’s like saying oranges and lemons are both citrus fruits, so oranges are lemons.”


Quite… this one’s did turn out to be a lemon!


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