Thursday, February 24, 2005

Jurm - It Happened One Night

A man lies unconscious in his farmhouse. There’s blood on the floor and a murder weapon under a sofa. The police mentions that the man’s wife had earlier called the control room and said, ‘He wants to kill me! I’m Sanjana Malhotra. My husband…’ and screamed before disconnecting. 

Here’s my question: How can the man be arrested for the murder of his wife, produced in court, and denied bail, when there’s no victim’s body to begin with?

Thus begins Vikram Bhatt’s Jurm. Sure, there are twists aplenty, but any self-respecting crime thriller must support those twists with attention to detail. Sadly, few Bollywood films live up to the demands of a taut script in the crime genre. The only exception to the rule in recent times being Robby Grewal’s Samay.

Back to Jurm, Avinash Malhotra (Bobby Deol) is arrested for the murder of his wife Sanjana (Lara Dutta). He pleads innocent, but doesn’t recollect a thing, as he was drunk when it happened. Avinash narrates the entire story of how they met, fell in love, married and what happened before he got drunk the previous night, to the police. His pillar of strength through life, and even now, when in trouble, is his lawyer friend Rohit (Milind Soman), who contests his case in court, and finally helps him escape from prison when all legal attempts to free him fail. There’s also a good friend-cum-silent lover, Sonia (Gul Panag) who visits him in prison, with tiffin dabbas of food.  

What actually happened when Avinash was unconscious, and how Avinash finds the real culprit, and avenges himself, forms the rest of the story.  

Bobby Deal and Lara Dutta have acted together in E.Niwas’ Bardaasht (incidentally, scripted by Vikram Bhatt!). Despite that, there’s no chemistry between the lead pair. Bobby Deol looks either angry or bored, Lara Dutta is wooden except in the sequences when she’s supposed to scream. Milind Soman has a chunky role, and definitely performs better than the lead pair. Gul Panag looks good, emotes fine, but could do with a spot of training on dialogue delivery. Shakti Kapoor does the usual sleazy role. The scene between him and Gul Panag does nothing for the script and their respective careers. Milind Gunaji, sadly, has a very small role as a lawyer. Ashish Vidyarthi’s is the usual cop role, with no scope for innovation.  

Technically, the film is just above average and lacks the relative finesse of Bhatt’s Raaz. The editing (Kuldip Mehan) is a trifle erratic and the cinematography (Pravin Bhatt) picks up in the latter half, when the action moves to Malaysia. Music has never been the forte of a Vikram Bhatt film, and Jurm’s music (Anand Raj Anand and Anu Malik) follows on the same predictable lines despite or because of the presence of two music directors. Adnan Sami’s voice on Bobby Deol for the song, ‘dil deewana ho gaya– bad idea. 

Jurm is not worth forgoing one’s afternoon nap or a good night’s sleep over. If you’re a connoisseur of crime thrillers, this movie is definitely NOT for you.

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