Producer/Director Raj Kumar Kohli hit the jackpot in the late 60´s early 70´s when his star studded supernatural horror films turned out to be HUGE superhits. Later in his career Kohli hit a all time low when his attempts to launch his son Armaan aka Munish Kohli failed time and time again, whether it was a drama (Aulaad Ke Dushman) or an action flick (Qahar). At the age of 71 Kohli once again strikes back, this time amalgamating his two biggest hits-Nagin (Sunil Dutt/Reena Roy) and Jaani Dushman (Sanjeev Kumaar/Sunil Dutt).
The movie revolves around a Ichadari snake (Munish Kohli) who is madly in love with (Vasundhra) Manisha Koirala. Due to a sadhu´s (Amrish Puri) curse Vasundhra dies an early death. In order to be reunited with her Munish has to wait till the 21st century when she will be reborn.
Cut to the 21st century where Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Aftab Shivdasani, Sonu Nigam, Sharad Kapoor, Aditya Panscholi, Arshad Warsi, Manisha Koirala, Rajat Bedi, Siddarth, amongst many others, all study in the same college. Divya (Manisha again) is in love with Sunny Deol and plans to marry him after he sorts out some of his business deals in London.
The entire group decide to meet at Nagda Falls on Valentines Day, but two of the scheming students (Rajat Bedi and Siddarth), who have a personal grudge against Divya, trick her into arriving early and then rape her. Munish arrives on the scene as do the other college students and Divya blames her death on all her college mates due to various reason as she feels they all contributed to her death in some way.
Munish vows to take revenge and kill each and every one of the college students who were involved in that incident. Manisha who is now a spirit also helps him and observes.
One by one the deadly duo start killing off all the college students. Is there a way to stop Munish and Manisha? or won´t they rest until they make sure each and every one of the Jaani Dushman is 6 feet beneath the ground?
In terms of a story, writers Aatish and Kohli have just churned out a mish mash of the previous two hits. The reason why Manisha blames all her friends for her death seems lame, hence the film fails to hold together or have any sort of lasting impact. Also the story of "Ichadari Nag´s" etc is a bit hard to digest in this day and age.
The screenplay of the movie is pathetic. Lot of the scenes in the movie evoke laughter where it shouldn´t. Just take for example how Akshay Kumar and Sonu Nigam don´t die and keep coming back for more. After the worst form of stabbings and bashings, they seem to look almost healthy in the next scene.
Dialogues by K.K Singh are disappointing.
As a director Raj Kumaar Kohli should really retire and stop trying to launch his son and waste his well earned money. Where as in his previous films he managed to extract wonderful performances from his cast and build the suspense gradually, here he uses cheap gimmicks throughout. His direction is full of vulgarity, gore, and cheap song gimmicks. The films structure revolves around party after death, song after party and so forth.
To his credit he does manage to direct a few scenes with elan. Amongst them being the scene where the locket saves Akshay Kumar, Akshay´s pre interval fight with Munish and the waterboat sequence. But these are too few and far in between.
The ghastsly rape scene will not be appreciated by family audiences and women as it is shown in a explicit manner and works against the film. It looks like a sleazy sex ploy, rather than anything emotional.
As a producer he has spent his money lavishly and gone all out in using Cgi and Sfx, though even there some of the scenes are laughworthy. Take for example the beginning scene with the skeleton which is taken directly from THE MUMMY. The skeleton looks so fake here that it evokes laughter rather than fear. On the other hand scenes like the motobike chase sequence, Akshay Kumar´s fight with Munish, the waterboat chase, Sunil Shetty´s fight with Munish or Sunny´s final fight are all extremely well shot. Action fans are bound to lap them up. But here I found a overdose of action which also was overdone in some scenes (Akshay Kumar getting stabbed, then Munish standing on the knife as it plunges deeper).
Cinematography by Thomax Xavier is slick for most part.
Now to the performances. First those expecting a out and out Sunny Deol starrer are bound to be disapointed. His role here is shorther than in Maa Tujhe Salaam and Shaheed! He has almost 30 minutes worth of footage which mainly consist of fight scenes, a few dialogues and one song. He makes the most of it and Sunny fans are bound to appreciate his trademark scenes though it must be realised that this is a multistarrer and Sunny Deol did the film as a favour to Mr Kohli. If you want to see him in real action wait for The Hero or Jaal-The Trap.
Akshay Kumar gives the best performance in the entire movie and has the meatiest role too. He is confident throughout and his character is one that clicks with the audience. Some of the best scenes in the movie belong to Akshay Kumar and he is superlative in the action sequences.
Munish Kohli as the film's main protagonist is below average. For a re-launching Munish doesn´t have any actual acting to do. All he does is glare with his fake contact lenses, look evil and kill. His action scenes are top notch and he puts on a fair fight against Sunil, Akshay and Sunny.
Sunil Shetty is barely average in a pathetic role. He goes through his part automatically and his love angle was not necessary. He plays his macho part naturally and his death sequence is interesting.
Sonu Nigam makes a pathetic debut. He has no talent in terms of acting at all. His screen presence is also dead. Maybe its because he is up against so many stars, but I did not see a shimmer of talent in him at all. His only positive side is that he is a confident dancer.
Aftab Shivadasani is pathetic in his role. He almost makes a mockery of his loverboy image that he has created for himself! His character of Prem is one that fails to click with the audience and his entire courtroom scene doesn´t win him sympathy like it´s meant to be.
Manisha Koirala did her part as expected and all her facials were correct. However, this is a poor choice of role for her.
Actors like Sharad Kapoor, Aditya Panscholi, Arshad Warsi, Rajat Bedi, Siddarth, Raj Babbar and Kiran Kumar all do their roles well. Actors like Atul Agnihotri, Amrish Puri, Raza Murad, Jaspal Bhatti, Johnny Lever, Upsana Singh all have a few minute roles and do their walk on parts well.
In terms of music the flick is a mixed bag. Aaja Aaaja and Zindagi Tujhpe both appear many times in the movie. The song sounds like a throwback to the song from Nagin minus the melody. The song is out of touch compared to todays time and day and gets irritating. The picturisation is interesting, though a bit overdone since the entire song is done by SFX. Chal Kudiye is your typical Sunny Deol/Punjabi number which is catchy when its on. Jaaneman Tu Khub Hai is catchy and nicely picturised but the same can´t be said for Ishq Juni Hai which is dull and hinders the pace of the movie. Javed Bhai So Le Re is the most interesting number of the lot composed by Sandeep Chowta. The song is catchy and picturised like a music video. Though it doesn´t gel with the mood of the movie, it is enjoyable.
The background music of the movie is excellent as expected from Mr Chowta.
Summing up Jaani Dushman - Ek Anokhi Kahani is strictly for those who are fans of the supernatural genre, enjoy gory action films, or like to see the star studded line up. The film is full of loopholes and is below expectations.