Hats off to Mahesh Bhatt and Co for bringing sex out of the closet, rescuing it from the clutches of Z-grade filmmakers and getting it past the ubiquitous Censor Board.
If that's not a serious enough contribution to Hindi cinema, there is the other first: ridding the heroine of the garb of eternal nobility and transforming her into a delectable siren who has absolutely no qualms about using her jism to get what she wants.
Needless to say, there's a great deal of jism on display in Amit Saxena's directorial debut. In the first half, there is little else. From the moment Bipasha Basu walks out of the sea wearing a trendy bead necklace and a body-hugging apology for a dress, she seems to have not just protagonist Kabir Lal (John Abraham), but also director Saxena and cinematographer Fuwad Khan following her voluptuous body with single-minded focus.
She's Sonia, the lonely wife of travelling millionaire Rohit Khanna (Gulshan Grover). Kabir is a maverick lawyer who seems to have very little purpose in life as he guzzles rum by the gallons and laments whatever it is that ails his sorry existence (of course, we will never find out the exact cause of his boredom).
When he spots Sonia yet again in a very backless black dress standing all by herself in the town's hot spot, he falls straight for her sizzling jism.
The story crawls on as the Kabir-Sonia affair assumes steamier proportions and the director gets so wrapped up in their entanglements that he forgets about giving the proceedings a move on. Eventually, Sonia's hubby comes back from wherever to his prized beauty and Kabir frets and fumes waiting around in the hope that he can reclaim Sonia's jism sometime soon. He even keeps his shirt off at all times, perhaps in anticipation.
Post-interval, the pace accelerates as Kabir tells Sonia he is prepared to kill her husband if that is what he has to do to be with her. The plot is hatched and executed almost perfectly. The enormity of his blunder gradually dawns upon Kabir when his conscience wakes up.
His DCP friend Siddharth (Vinay Pathak) starts asking him awkward questions. Rohit's drunkard sister (Anahita Uberoi) arrives on the scene to claim her share of his estate and Kabir realises he is losing control of the situation.
Mahesh Bhatt's story has apparently been inspired by the Hollywood film Double Indemnity. For once the writer has made no attempt to redeem his characters or give the plot a Bollywood touch.
Niranjan Iyengar's dialogues have a liberal splash of jism-heavy sentences. Plus there is this dense philosophy about a good and a bad dog barking in every man's head and directing his actions. There is also an esoteric observation that there are 100 different ways to commit a crime and 101 ways to get caught.
M M Kreem's score and Sayeed Quadri and Neelesh Misra's lyrics are infinitely more alluring than most recent Bollywood scores. Particularly soulful are Jaadu hai nasha hai and Aawarapan. Cinematographer Khan captures the breathtaking Pondicherry shoreline and vast expanses of sky and sea with finesse.
Of the cast, theatre actress Uberoi is wasted in a miniscule role. Grover is unintentionally funny and doesn't look terribly pleased even while being seduced by his ravishing wife.
Bipasha is not required to act because, for most part, her role demands striking Cleopatra-like poses and showing off her curves (her wardrobe is audacious enough to put Sonam, Sangeeta Bijlani, Sonu Walia and their ilk to collective shame). Since her voice appears to have been dubbed (ditto for Abraham), she does whatever little is demanded of her by way of performance, with efficiency.
As for debutant Abraham, his permanently bare torso draws more attention than his desperate attempt at emoting. A creased forehead does not a Dilip Kumar make. It must be said despite the lead pair's acting inadequacies, they still look good together on screen.
Director Saxena makes a bold debut with Jism and definitely deserves credit for daring to be different. Jism is a first of its kind theme for Bollywood and, therefore, worth a look.