The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jism makes it to bed with hot hundred, barely

London, Nov. 30: Jism, starring Bipasha Basu, was last night ranked number 92 among the “100 Greatest Sexy Moments” on screen compiled by Britain’s Channel 4 television.

The “honour” of being picked as “the sexiest screen moment of all time” went to a bikini-clad Ursula Andress, emerging from the surf in Dr No, the first James Bond movie released 41 years ago.

Jism was introduced by the film commentator, Nasreen Munni Kabir, who explained the conventions of Bollywood.

The point was made by Bobby Friction, a British Asian DJ, that this time, the couple do actually “kiss and kiss and kiss and...” whereas he had been brought up to believe that at the critical moment, the camera invariably cuts to something like a “bee landing on a flower”.

Of Jism, which was released last year and heavily plugged by its distributor at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, Channel 4 had this to say: “Bollywood’s not known for the explicit sexual content of its films, which is why the appearance of Jism on our screens is something of a surprise. While still tame by Western standards, this remake of Double Indemnity, starring John Abraham and Bipasha, has turned the traditional portrayal of women in Bollywood movies on its head.”

Channel 4 added: “Its heroine is strong and open about her sexual desires. The scenes of passion between the two leads had audiences queuing up to see the film in India, and the movie has already spawned a series of imitators.”

Polling was done online by thousands of Channel 4 viewers in Britain who have been brought up almost exclusively on a diet of American movies.

The review of Jism, which was directed by Amit Saxena and also stars Gulshan Grover as the husband the illicit lovers conspire to murder, is none too enthusiastic, however.

“A lame remake of Body Heat with little sense of the conventions of film noir, Jism is remarkable only for pushing the boundaries of Bollywood’s generally prudish attitude towards explicit sexuality” is Channel 4’s description of the movie.

It continues: “If Jism were as in-your-face (ahem) as its title suggests, it might have proved a lot more fun than it actually is. For cinemagoers in search of some naughty but nice eroticism, it’s ultimately little more than a lame remake of Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat (itself a remake of classic film noir Double Indemnity) that was originally launched in India with a ferocious advertising campaign designed to tempt over-expectant punters through the doors with the promise of far more than it would ever have been allowed to deliver.”

It goes on: “The first of a wave of Bollywood skin flicks made in response to falling Asian ticket sales, Jism is a sex movie only in the loosest sense of the term. While far more risque than the usual Bollywood fare, it’s only a vaguely sexy thriller by Western standards. Even its attempts to spice things up by pinching key scenes from Body Heat (including an ice cube interlude) prove desperately disappointing.”

It adds: “Sonia Khanna (Basu) and Kabir Lal (Abraham) are illicit lovers conspiring against the former’s minted husband Rohit (Grover) in between singing (this is a Bollywood movie, after all) and romping around together in the sweltering heat.”

And the conclusion is: “The result is a brave addition to the Bollywood canon that inevitably sparked controversy with its (relatively) blatant sexuality and smouldering femme fatale anti-heroine; as such it helped push the boundaries of traditional Hindi cinema culture. Yet for anyone hoping for a hot and heavy skin flick this softer-than-softcore film is guaranteed to disappoint.”

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