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Jism Movie Review


Expect the unexpected from JISM, inspired by the English flick BODY HEAT [1981], which itself was loosely based on DOUBLE INDEMNITY [1944].

JISM explores the darker side of a woman – a subject alien for Bollywood, a genre that has rarely been attempted in the past. But JISM is contemporary and dares to be different. It is also a shining example of the subtle use of erotica.

Kabir Lal (John Abraham) is a restless, reckless and alcoholic lawyer whose steady race towards self-destruction even his close friends are unable to stop. A chance encounter with Sonia Khanna (Bipasha Basu) – a young, sexy and dangerously ambitious wife of a middle-aged industrialist Rohit Khanna (Gulshan Grover) – exposes Kabir to needs, emotions and areas of himself that he never encountered before… including crime.

The sexual chemistry between the couple intensifies with each encounter and blinds them to the point where they decide to get rid of Rohit together. The trouble in paradise begins when the murder plan is executed successfully and Sonia begins to take independent decisions.

Soon, Kabir finds himself a helpless victim at the hands of his conscience, circumstances and Sonia. Legal entanglements, moral apprehensions and mad, destructive passion towards possessing Sonia lead Kabir to his inevitable doom and ironically towards his redemption.

JISM scores in several respects, but it tends to have its loose ends. But first, the uppers –

Director Amit Saxena needs to be lauded for choosing a bold theme for his debut vehicle. Together with writer Mahesh Bhatt, Saxena has opted for a plot that defies stereotype. Much like the two English versions, JISM follows a seductive and dark theme.

Two, the narrative moves on a singular track throughout, without deviating into sub-plots. There's no cheap comedy, no guns, bullets or mindless action, nor have songs been incorporated for the heck of it. The subject is treated realistically.

Three, Bipasha's character has been developed beautifully. Her volte-face in the latter reels has been handled with such dexterity that the viewer gets a shock when it dawns upon him that the lady is not actually what she pretends to be.

But the film has its share of downers –

One, the first half of the film moves at a lethargic pace. So slow-paced is the narrative that it tests the patience of the viewer at times. Also, not much seems to happen in this half, till Gulshan Grover enters the scene.

Two, the treatment of the story would suit the elite more than the hoi polloi. For the hardcore masses, the lethargic pace with which the drama unfolds and also the class-oriented treatment will prove a major deterrent.

Three, the climax.

Although the second half has several dramatic moments, the film fumbles in the climax when Bipasha has a change of heart unexpectedly. The climax depicts Bipasha's true colours – that of an ambitious woman who'd stoop to any level to inherit the riches – but the sudden love for John towards the end looks ridiculous. For, barely a minute ago, Bipasha had confessed that she'd never loved anyone in her life, except herself.

Writer Mahesh Bhatt's script is not foolproof. There's no denying that Bhatt has delved into an area where very few writers have dared to enter, but the outcome is not as captivating as it should've been.

Amit Saxena's maiden effort at direction is creditworthy. His story telling is placid, easy for an average viewer to comprehend. The dramatic sequences have been handled deftly, while the erotic ones (plenty of them!) have nothing vulgar or cheap about them.

Niranjan Iyengar's dialogues are simple, contemporary, without frills. The lines compliment the goings-on beautifully. Fuwad Khan's cinematography is striking at places, but uneven at times. M.M. Kreem's music gels well with the mood of the film, but the film lacks a hit score. 'Jaadu Hain Nasha Hain' is the only track that can be singled out.

Supermodel John Abraham makes a confident debut. Although the cinematographer hasn't done complete justice to his looks, the actor rises beyond his looks and registers a strong impact with his performance, more so towards the second half. His dashing looks and excellent physique only add to his persona.

But the real show stealer is Bipasha Basu – her sexy look and seductive deep voice, in contrast with her cold and calculating personality, makes her the most impressive femme fatale since Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi.

Gulshan Grover is quite alright. Anahita Uberoi is superb in a small, but significant role.

On the whole, JISM exhibits Bipasha Basu's talent and anatomy to its fullest. Coupled with a hot title and eroticism in plenty, the curiosity-value for the film increases manifold. But the subject and its treatment being city-centric, the film will appeal more to the big city audience. The reasonable price at which it is sold at should prove to be advantageous.

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