Body (2005)

Starring: Bipasha Basu, John Abraham
Studio: Weg India/Image Entertainment
Video: 2.35:1 widescreen enhanced for 16:9
Audio: DD 5.1, DD stereo, in Hindi
Subtitles: English
Extras: Trailers
Length: 133 minutes
Rating: ***1/2

I had thought Bollywood movies didn’t allow kissing.  Boy, has
that changed!  This new sexy thriller is a sort of East Indian
remake of Body Heat, and is billed as The Dark Side of Desire. Not
having seen Bride & Prejudice this was my first Bollywood feature
and quite educational in a number of ways. Kabir, the handsome
attorney, is inexplicably  broke and accidentally meets Sonia, the
wife of a wealthy middle-aged industrialist who is often
traveling.  Sparks fly. The young lovers have some very erotic
scenes considering there still are some definite guidelines as to sex
in Indian movies. Occasionally they break into song, but it usually
does seem properly motivated, amazingly.  Sometimes another voice
is singing and the actors make no attempt to appear to lip sync as with
Western music videos. When the songs come on you simply mentally shift
gears and realize, “Oh, this is a musical after all.” The woman playing
Sonia really is gorgeous, but not a very convincing actor.

The thriller part comes as Sonia entangles Kabir into killing her
husband.  Once the deed is done things do not go well for
Kabir.  It appears that Sonia is some sort of witch who has
bewitched others negatively, and Kabir is spiraling toward being even
more down and out than he started. This film evidently caused some
controversy in India for the erotic scenes.  The production is
excellent, with spectacular camera movement during the musical numbers
especially. I found it interesting that the characters switch to
English for certain words and situations, such as ordering drinks in a
bar.  I thought I was hearing a Hindi word that just happened to
sound like “gosh,” and finally figured out the character really 
was saying gosh. The main problem I had with the film was its
length.  Like Indian music concerts, their films evidently tend to
go on forever.  It appears to be winding up, but then it takes
another turn or everything stops for a song.  Still it’s a fun
introduction to product from the world’s largest film industry.

– John Sunier

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