Watching Sunny Leone’s career is like rewinding a porn VHS—it starts out with full nudity and progresses to demurely clothed. She needs no introduction, of course, merely a Google search. Suffice to say, Leone grew up like many others, playing with toys along with other female friends,before moving on to other greater things, like Picasso in his “blue” period, blowing hot and cold and taking as many positions as Mitt Romney. Shooting into prominence for her appearance in a show that may be referred to, without loss of generality, as Big Bs, she caught the talent-spotting eyes of Mahesh Bhatt who then cast her in his daughter’s film “Jizz Em 2” or, as it is called in India, Jism 2. Purely for her acting abilities. And of course because of her attention to detail, for which it seems she wanted to see health certificates (for HIV apparently) of her male co-stars [Link], perhaps because she did not quite understand what “getting into a character” meant.
The film however is Pooja Bhatt’s and she displays a penchant for giving the audience what they are not expecting. Like gratuitous shots of Randeep Hooda’s nipple, which I am pretty sure was not the nipple people paid money to see. In the hands of a lesser auteur, Jism 2 would have been a sultry sensuality-fest, which was kind of what it was advertised to be. That was however the set-up, the sleight of hand of a master magician. Jism 2 is about as arousing as wading through a three-hundred page government document for improving the production of Bajra.
Truth be told, it’s not even about marquee star Sunny Leone, whose heavy-breathing expressions do add another dimension to her multi-D talents.
No. The soul of Jism 2 is Arif Zakaria. I first became his fan in “Asambhav” when despite being a part of a stellar buffet of sumptousity, that consisted of lock-jawed Arjun Rampal, rapacious Milind Gunaji, boisterous Mukesh Rishi, and, most importantly, Anupama Verma’s legs, he stole the show with his lusty “Alissshaaaaaaaaaaa”. This was then followed by genre-busting role as the absolutely degenerate Iyer (known for drawing asleel tasweerein) in Haunted 3D, which is described, at the time of writing, thusly in Wikipedia:
In 2011, he played the ghost that haunts the female protagonist in “Vikram Bhatt”‘s “Haunted (2011 film)” & was appreciated for the ghastly portrayal of a piano teacher falling in love with his young student who gets murdered while making advances towards her and rapes her as a ghost which forces her to commit suicide in the movie.
In short, an extremely nuanced and complex role.
In Jism 2, he plays the “head” of the Agency, a shady counter-terrorism organization, based in Sri Lanka (As an aside: yes even our movies are now like our cricket…it’s all about Sri Lanka). Every second of screen-time Mr. Zakaria gets, he chews the scenery. No no change that. Chewing the scenery would be too quotidian. Mr. Zakaria bites it off like a shark does a swimmer’s leg, masticates it with absolute single-mindedness and then spits it out at the camera. He is perennially in the grip of a silent burning passion, nowhere as clearly articulated as when he tells Isna (Sunny Leone) that when it comes to seducing the mark, “Tumhe sab kuch karna hain…sab kuch”. I don’t know about anyone else, but when he said that, at least I felt “kuch kuch.”
The story is as original as any extreme adult film, you know, like where the pizza-man comes to deliver pizza and intensely interacts with the lady of the house (except of course Jism 2 does not have interactions). Irna (Sunny Leone) is a cleavage-baring lady in red who while walking around, casually striking chaste lesbian poses is picked up by a horse-man Ayaan (Arunadaya Singh). After a night of whole-some lovemaking (not shown), the horse-man reveals that “main intelligence ki aadmi hoon” with presumably the reason he got down to his chaddis so quickly was so that he could give her a mission “briefing”.
Impressed by his largeness, she says “Aap to kafi baade aadmi nikle”.
But unfortunately she has to say “No thank you” to his offer for sloppy seconds. The horse-man Ayaan makes an appeal to her patriotism. She replies “‘Mulk ke madaat main to paheli se hi kar rahe hoon, apni kapde utaarke”.
And as Poonam Pandey has taught us, no one loves their country more than one who strips for it.
The horse-man Ayaan, in return, gets passionate and shouts ” Kab tak utarogi yeh kapde” to which Irna states her price—10 crores and first-class travel.
She is then whisked off to Sri Lanka to meet the Head, Arif Zakaria, who, between intense rolling of eyes and shaking of a mane of perfectly boot-polished hair, lays out the plan—Irna has to go under cover, and then take off all her covers to seduce the dangerous terrorist Kabir (Randeep Hooda) and find out where he has hidden the “data”. Why Irna? Because she used to be Kabir’s girl-friend and so intense is his love that after their split, he has “had no girl-friends… no prostitutes even”. Which granted is a very intense sort of love. After some counter-suggestions from Irna given to the “Head” , most pointedly a suggestion for a gang-banging “Yeh kaam to aap sab milkar bhi kar sakte hain”, all of which are shot down, she is dispatched, posing as the horse-man’s fiance, to Galle in order to seduce and.. ahem…bring the serpent out of its hole (” Taaki woh saap ap ke bil se bahar a jaaye”).
There, she meets Kabir (Randeep Hooda) who looks like the serpent is caught permanently in a zipper, so perpetually tortured his expressions are. A dangerous game beings, a game of sensuality (“Naheen nikaal payogi tum, nahi main nikaal payoonga”), data-extraction (“Yeh data tum jaise rakshon ko kabhi naheen dungi”), pre-mature firing (“We have to do something naheen to mission suru karne ke liye pahele hi khatam ho jayega”), post-mature release (“Wait, I have not finished yet”), austere serenity (“Sab natak hain behenchod”), intense self-realization (“You fucked him”), horsing around (“Mera sabse behtereen siphahi ek langde ghore ke tarah kona pakadke khada hai”) and creepy mystery (What exactly does Irna when she asks Kabir to meet her in the “highway ka jungle”?)
Contributing no less to the experience are the marvelously-written lines like when Hooda’s character, after some excitement, says “Ja soja mera Laxman, tu hi mere hifazat ke liye barson se jagaa hai”.
And finally the ending, you never saw it coming, unless you have seen Gangster of course.
In short, a glorious celluloid achievement, the type that makes the audience scream for “release”, Sunny Leone stylie, “Mujhe mukti chahiye”.