The Harvey Weinstein incident has sent shockwaves around the world and has once again put the spotlight on the existence of casting couch in the business of cinema. It’s coincidental that at this juncture, Deepak Shivdasani is out with his film, JULIE 2, which also talks about this aspect. The issue is definitely relatable and the numerous sex scenes can ensure that the film will get frontbenchers in large numbers. So does JULIE 2 manage to entertain and titillate? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse.
JULIE 2 is the story of a girl who is forced to compromise in order to climb the ladder of success in Bollywood. Julie (Raai Laxmi) is a successful film actress who has bagged the biopic of the late Sumitra Devi, the wife of power broker Ashwini Asthana (Pankaj Tripathi). Four months later, she converts to Christianity on her 25th birthday and then informs everyone by addressing a press conference about it. After the press conference, she goes to a jewellery shop where four goons enter to loot. They end up gunning down Julie. Julie is immediately hospitalized. ACP Dev Dutt (Aditya Srivastava) is given the task and he arrests the four accused in a few hours. But he fails to understand why on earth they would attempt to murder Julie when they have simply come to loot the shop. He approaches Annie Aunty (Rati Agnihotri), make-up artist and mentor of Julie, and she narrates to him how difficult it was for Julie to make it big in the film industry. What happens next and how ACP Dev Dutt finds out the truth forms the rest of the film.
JULIE 2 is advertised like a sleaze fest but there are hardly any titillating scenes in the film. In fact, the first half is devoid of any such sequence, except a few shots in the title song, which is played in the opening credits. The scene where bullets are pumped into Julie in the first 15 minutes does intrigue. The investigation by ACP Dev Dutt is too filmy but makes for a nice watch. However, the flashback portions are not that great. In fact, there are too many tracks in the film – the investigation, Julie’s rise and fall and rise in Bollywood and Julie’s bond with the various men who come into her life. The whole bit is not put together well. Julie is shown to be desperate for love and is heartbroken when she realizes that all men just want to sleep with her. But suddenly in the end, she comes out as an anti-corruption crusader and it’s very unconvincing. The entire Sumitra Devi track, which forms the major part of climax, is also childish and difficult to digest. The film ends all of a sudden and one wonders what exactly the point of the film was at all.
Deepak Shivdasani’s story gives a déjà vu of Madhur Bhandarkar’s HEROINE  and even THE DIRTY PICTURE . But overall, it’s senseless. Deepak Shivdasani’s screenplay fails to keep all the tracks in sync. In fact, it’s all over the place. Deepak Shivdasani’s dialogues are silly and 90s types, that doesn’t work, even in mass centres in today’s times. Deepak Shivdasani’s direction is also dated. It cheats audiences as the promos and posters suggest loads of titillation. But instead, the film has just few minutes of lovemaking scenes and that too much later in the second half. Few questions remain unanswered right till the end.
Performance wise, Raai Laxmi manages to put a good show. She has oomph and also acting wise, she is decent. She is one of the major reasons why the film is bearable. Aditya Srivastava is nice but offers nothing new. He’s playing the same character that he plays in the long-running crime TV show ‘CID’. Rati Agnihotri is alright and hams at places. Ravi Kishen (Ravi Kumar) is fine as a southern superstar. Pankaj Tripathi is the only one who plays his part with conviction. Nishikant Kamat (Mohit) does well but is an odd choice for a romantic hero. His track suddenly ends in the first half and it seemed like the director was desperate to culminate his scenes so that he can move on to Julie’s next chapter. Sahil Salathia (Cricketer Vikram) leaves a mark in a cameo. Dev Gill (Atif Lala) overacts a lot and his character could have been quite interesting but the writing ruined it. Asad Khan (Ambani) gives a good performance. Anant Jog (Benefit Rao), Viveck Vaswani (Shanti), Dolly Mattoo (Julie's mother) and Yuri Suri (Julie's step father) are passable.
Music is poor. 'Oh Julie' works as it’s shown during opening credits. 'Kabhi Jhoota Lagta Hai' is forgettable. 'Kharama Kharama' is a very poor inspired version of ‘Ooh La La’ and ‘Naino Mein Sapna’. 'Mala Seenha' and 'Koi Hausla Ho Toh' come almost back to back and are forced to give the film a sizzling touch. John Stewart Eduri's background score is dramatic. Sameer Reddy's cinematographer is simple. Asif Ali Shaikh's editing is nothing special. Tinnu Verma's action is too filmy for 2017 tastes. Ashley Rebello and Tanushka Kitt's costumes are glamorous. N Dharma Rao's production design is theatrical.
On the whole, JULIE 2 is a senseless saga and has very few sizzling scenes. The buzz has already died down and hence, the film has no chance to excel at the box office.