With a name like "Jism" and promo┬┤s showing Bipasha Basu and John Abraham engaged in some compromising poses, the big question is - Is "Jism" all skin? The answer is - There┬┤s a lot of skin. Underneath the skin, however, there is an impressive soul that forms the core of the film. The "thriller" gets re-invented here as a stylishly slick noir-like product.
John Abraham plays Kabir Lal, an alcoholic lawyer straight out of a Dostoyevsky novel. He meets sexy, rich housewife Sonia Khanna (Bipasha Basu) and start a passionate affair fueled by lust that eventually leads to the murder of her husband (Gulshan Grover). Kabir finds no solace in his quest for "happily-ever-after" as his world begins to crumble around him.
The biggest star of the movie is by far the ambience that the director (impressive newcomer Amit Saxena), cinematographer (Fuwad Khan), and production designer (Pooja herself) have created. There is a certain mood to the film - within which the French Quarters of Pondicherry blend well with pastels, candels, oversized props, plush couches and pillows, and Bipasha and John┬┤s chique "threads". And the camera captures all of this (as well as John┬┤s and Bipasha┬┤s curves) beautifully. This generates plausibility and assists in the development of the complex lead characters. It also provides for great entertainment.
Although Bipasha┬┤s "jism" has hogged much of the publicity limelight, it is definitely John Abraham who walks away with the acting laurels. In his very first film itself, he demonstrates that he can carry a very complex role. From drunkard to playboy to passionate lover to a man on the verge of insanity, he plays the various shades of his character with the professionalism of a pro. Bipasha Basu, to her credit, proves to be a 21st century Zeenat Aman. Not since "Qurbani" has the ocean looked more inviting. She manages to impress with her talent and confidence as the femme-fatale anti-heroine. There is also great chemistry between the lead pair.
Gulshan Grover does his job well in a role that has not been unecessarily over-developed. The supporting cast - particularly Harsh Vasishtha (as a small-time bomb-maker), Anahita Uberoi (as Sonia Khanna┬┤s drunkard sister-in-law), and Vinay Pathak (as Kabir Lal┬┤s inspector friend) all make their presence felt.
M.M. Kreem┬┤s soulful music has been aestheticly shot and the songs fit well within the context of the story without hampering it. The beautiful lyrics (Sayeed Quadri and Nilesh Misra) blend well with former journalist Niranjan Iyengar┬┤s sharp dialogue.
The story penned by Mahesh Bhatt is given a beautiful treatment overall. The much-hyped sexual scenes are shot in an aesthetic way. There are no gimmicks or comic relief characters and the movie pushes forward with single-minded purpose. There are no social messages or excuses to be found here. Cinema is meant to be an experience. "Jism" IS one.