Apr 11, 2015
All traumatised souls out there, the ones struggling with haunting remnants of their past, i.e. pichla, purana janam and the accompanying ku-karam, can finally take heart. The requiem to ensure that you rest in everlasting peace is here.
Writer-director Bobby Khan’s Ek Paheli Leela redefines the punar-janam genre by reassuring all laggards from the past that just because their pichla janam hovers around them, it does not mean that they must finish unfinished business, settle old scores, reclaim the love they never got, fix the people they could not fix then.
Mr Khan’s EPL tells us that all those past-life bits replaying in dreams are just a reel from the past. If they so desire, they could indulge in it a bit and then move on.
Since Sunny Leone made the transition from closed-to-gawking-public sets of porn films and arrived in the house of Bigg Boss, circa 2011, for the pleasure of gawking desis, the minds of directors and producers in India have been whirring. They all want her on their sets strutting her stuff. Which film? What story? Who cares!
What matters is this: her role must require lots of dress changes — from fully clothed to semi-nude; something that puts Ms Leone in the path of harm and gives her at least a couple of chances to change her expression from horny to harried; and, of course, a few scenes which, without putting Mr Pahlaj Nihalani’s chaddies in a twist, organically require that Ms Leone’s bra-pantie come off after there’s been a decent amount of caressing and panting.
The plot must be convoluted in such a way that Ms Leone is always surrounded by men of all shapes and sizes, even sexual orientation, who are continually wheezing for her. And given Ms Leone’s preference for lesbian-only action, writers could throw in some friendly panting by a girlfriend as well.
It’s imperative that all team members are emotionally invested in this endeavour, else the desired outcome will not hit the mark. So, for example, the dress designer must challenge himself — all semi-nude costumes must not add up to more than one metre cloth. The cinematographer must stay focused throughout on shooting in this sequence — cleavage-pert behind-milky thigh, cleavage-pert behind-milky thigh…
As Dave Barry said many years ago, driving men wild with desire is no rocket science.
Bobby Khan knows that, but he wastes way too much time in trying to give us exactly what neither we, nor Ms Leone need — a story.
Thankfully, Ek Paheli Leela is really not much of a paheli. It’s fairly simple.
Meera (Sunny Leone) is a supermodel from Milan. Andy (VJ Andy) is an annoying, hyperventilating event manager of some sort who organises her dance show in London. This is followed by a photo-shoot with photographer Radhika (Shivani Tanksale).
In the middle of the shoot the lights go off. Meera yelps for help before passing out.
A doctor tells Radhika that Meera suffers from claustrophobia — dark, small, closed spaces freak her out — and should see a psychiatrist because somewhere in her head lurks her “back story”. Awww. Poor, sweet little thing.
Radhika hums and haws, gets Meera drunk and flies her off to Rajasthan for another photo-shoot. When Meera comes to her senses, she freaks out. But gorgeous Rajasthan puts Meera at ease and soon she’s happy to change into skimpy clothes and pose and pout.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, we’ve met Radhika’s cousin, Karan (Jay Bhanushali). He is a singer and a traumatised soul. Every night he dreams of some whipping action and wakes up screaming “Leela”. We quickly put two and two together and begin tapping our feet, eagerly awaiting some carnal activity.
But no. First Meera has to meet a handsome prince, Ranveer (Mohit Alawat), and his evil cousin, Bikram (Jas Arora). Ranveer is a decent guy and is instantly smitten. But he and his kamina cousin are locked in a legal battle over a piece of ancient ruin where lies hidden a moorti of Leela that many firangis are willing to pay hundreds of crores for.
Meera gets married, but Karan’s nightmares don’t stop. One obliging pandit, Bikram’s search for moorti, Meera’s claustrophobia, Ranveer’s bicep tattoo, one song stolen from Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Vishwakarma day bring the back story to the foreground. It’s 300 years old and involved one moorti-kar, Bhairon (Rahul Dev), who, when he spotted Leela-the-skimpily-clad-lass skipping about, saw playmate of the year. He said that he felt prerna (inspiration) for making a moorti, but what he really felt were stirrings of the lustful kind. That Leela was keen instead on some kama sutra action — at least 10 seamless positions — with Bhairon’s understudy, Shravan (Rajniesh Duggal), is what led to this entire pichla janam mess.
At EPL’s climatic conference of all punar janam creatures, the genre gets redeemed.
Sunny Leone is adorable. She has the cutest accent and booty in town, and her gyrations really do justice to the Baby Doll song. I could look at her all day. That’s why I believe very strongly that commenting on Ms Leone’s acting skills, or lack thereof, is plain mean.
I mean, expecting a woman to be shapely, to sizzle on screen while shaking her stuff is a tall order. To add to this a side order of acting is being sexist and morally reprehensible.
How much must a woman do? Isn’t it enough that she looks hot, cute and vulnerable, that she can simper, arch her back and touch herself meaningfully, that she can loll about in sand while panting and making orgasmic sounds? Isn’t all that enough value for money? What more do you want, man?
My only humble request is that the next director who gets to sign Ms Leone in a title role and the film is certified A, must not waste any time in telling a story. All efforts must be devoted to making sure that her orgasmic shenanigans are of the quality and quantity that merit the A certification.