Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jaani Dushman : A Unique story

AVS TV brings so much joy and unmitigated pleasure into my life that it's not even funny. Every saturday I wake up early, clear away the previous night's beer cans and make space in front of my television screen just so that when the clock strikes 11:00, everything will be in place for the awesome moviegoing experience that is about to follow.

In my household, saturday mornings have always been dedicated to viewing AVS TV. It is the television channel renowned for showcasing artsie movies from Bollywood, independent films which, luckily for the mainstream, never made it to the mainstream and should have gone directly to VHS. For example, the amazing entertainer "Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya", which on one blessed saturday, filled my humble two-bedroom apartment with the sweet sounds of what the Guinness Book of World Records, which I am misquoting just to prove a point, calls "The worst Hindi film song ever in the entire history of bad Hindi film songs". And last weekend, AVS TV did not disappoint. It was time for "Jaani Dushman : Ek Anokhi Kahani", or as one reviewer on IMDB calls it, "The worst Hindi Movie ever".

For my non-Hindi speaking readers, "Jaani Dushman : Ek Anokhi Kahani" means "Worst Enemy : A Unique Story". I'm not sure about the "worst enemy" part. My Hindi kinda sucks. Anyways, first of all, let me begin by saying that Raj Kumar Kohli, the movie's director, displays the extraordinarily high metallic content of his balls by naming this movie "A Unique Story". 'Cause guess what, about 25 years ago, he came out with a movie called, hell yeah, "Jaani Dushman". Both movies were horror flicks with somewhat similar themes, both indulged in the gratuitous misuse of big Bollywood stars and both sucked some major ass. Unique? Hardly.

Since this isn't really a review, I'll just lay out some points in the movie that I found interesting. But before I do that, let me give you the gist of the plot. And if I stray away from the truth, bear with me because my brain went into lockdown mode quite a few times during the movie which led to my missing quite a number of subtle twists in the storyline.

So there's this couple see, during some past golden Indian age when people wore gaudy, unwieldy clothes which I'm sure would have been pretty unsuitable for the performance of one's daily ablutions, except for the fact that they didn't have a whole lot of fabric hanging below the waist area. They are a couple of "Ichhadhari Naags", which, through my limited translational abilities, I can only decribe as a couple of metaphorical snakes who can pretty much do whatever they wish and can take the form of anything that can do the macarena. And this couple, it dances and it sings and it's probably in love and then I look away to check what George W. Bush has been up to of late and when I look back, the couple has fallen through a hole in the ground into the presence of a meditating sage who, along with being livid at being disturbed during his cogitations, has also become painfully aware of a raging boner that has begun to bud and blossom 'twixt his holy thighs. The cause of this boner being the female half of the couple, who's fallen directly into his lap. And we all know the dire effect inadvertant boners can have on the temperaments of the righteously sanctimonious.

So this lethal combination of boners and interrupted musings leads the sage to curse the couple to a life of unrequited love till the 21st century when, as the fine print of the curse specifies, they would be able to get back together again. Fast forwarding to the 21st century, the female half of the couple, who, even after going through numerous reincarnations, still looks the same, is seen cavorting with her friends. In the course of cavorting, she once again gets back with her old flame from the bygone era. However, she is then raped and ravaged by a couple of her friends and dies in the arms of her lover. Her lover, who is actually an evil spirit, then exacts vengeance on everybody and their uncle by killing them in a variety of different ways that would have made Adolf Hitler proud. In this noble venture, he is assisted by the ghost of his dead lover who takes "If not in body, I am with you in spirit" to a whole new level. Sadly, I don't know what happens at the end. I stopped watching because I had a food processor waiting in the kitchen with the name of my brain on it.

In one scene Manisha Koirala, who is the reincarnated "Naag", turns into a skeleton after marrying a guy who, I guess, is one of the gang that is destined to die. For anyone who was curious about whether Manisha Koirala would make a convincing skeleton, the answer is no. The excellent rendering of the skeleton, presumably programmed on some kind of PC-XT 286 with 64 kb RAM and 25 MB Hard drive space, reminds one of the amazing production values of a Ramsay Brothers' movie. Also, there is a heart-warming moment during the skeleton scene when its fist gets detached from its wrist and then gets reattached through a complex web of wires that is clearly visible.

Manisha gets raped twice during the course of the movie. The first time, she is asked to forgive her assailants. Akshay Kumar takes the lead in demanding forgiveness for the rapists by saying something to the effect of "Your beauty makes even me, purportedly a sane responsible adult, go crazy when I look at you, so imagine what effect it might be having on these two juveniles who were merely displaying a similar appreciation of your looks when they violated your vagina." And not to be outdone in the stupidity, Manisha's female friends agree with Akshay Kumar's astute analysis and add their voices to the steadily increasing demand for amnesty for the rape perpetrators. Ah Bollywood. You were always the one with the progressive message.

Other features of the movie include the killing of Arshad Warsi who dies after the ghost, displaying his technological savvy, electrocutes him as he is thrashing about in a swimming pool. The ghost then tries to kill Akshay Kumar by taking the form of his girlfriend, indulging in a song and dance routine with him, then walking off a cliff and hoping that Akshay Kumar would still be so into his musical performance that he would fail to notice the lack of earth under his feet, thereby continuing to follow her to his ultimate doom. Devious. He then kills Aftab Shivdasani by taking the form of his girlfriend, giving false testimony in court that convicts him of murder, thus sending him to the gallows. It's times like these that makes me wish I had the highly evolved mental faculties of a disembodied spirit.

The movie abounds in similar twists and turns, most of which will make you run to that food processor time and time again. But you should watch anyways. Not just because it is a great way to spend your saturday morning, but really, when it comes down to it, what else can you do on a saturday morning anyways?


Anusha said...

LOL..you have me in splits here! I enjoyed your narration infinitely better than the movie itself.

Ambar said...

You haven't done an iota of justice to Jaani Dushman. How could you not mention Sonu Nigam's performance in the movie? And Sunny paaji's? And the entire ichhadhaari nag turns into motorbike turns into T2 style blob sequence??

Sacrilege! X-(

gawker said...

ann : Thanks.

ambar : I wasn't paying that close an attention, what to do. But yes, Sonu Nigam sucked royally. He looked like the geeky kid that used to get regularly beaten up in my school, namely me. Unfortunately I must have missed the motorbike sequence. Sorry for the omissions. I will have to watch the damn thing again I guess.

supremus : You have good taste, my friend.

RobRoy said...

I didn't understand most of what you wrote, but in my ghostly existance, I know that it was beautiful and touching.

Bollywood pretty much rules all.

gawker said...

oh come on, it was in the queen's english. but yes, bollywood makes the world go round.

procrastinator said...

wow . thank god i missed watching this. If only the movie would atlest be half as nice as ur post

Anonymous said...

Too good

Anonymous said...

hey u forgot sunny paaji