On being seen

Last month I brought up the 2006 Bollywood feature I See You, noting that it was an adaptation of Marc Levy’s novel If Only It Were True, albeit without actually crediting Levy. This was in fact the third time I’d mentioned this film, once on this site and twice elsewhere, so at the very least, I reasoned, I ought to see the darn thing.

The story starts with Raj Jaiswal (Arjun Rampal), your basic Charming Rogue who has a TV talk show in London with the cheeky title British Raj. He’s done well for himself, with a lovely high-rise and a Porsche Cayenne, and he thinks himself prepared for anything, with the exception of the arrival of a young woman on his balcony who explains that it’s really her balcony.

Dr Shivani Dutt (Vipasha Agarwal), the lady in question, is having an extended out-of-body experience, while her flesh-and-blood body is being kept on a ventilator in a West London hospital after an auto accident — except that it wasn’t actually an accident: she discovered staffers engaged in a grisly organ-harvesting scheme, and as far as they’re concerned, a comatose witness is the best kind. And while normally Raj would greatly enjoy the prospect of a beautiful female visitor, Shivani upsets all his plans. It doesn’t help that apparently he’s the only person who can see or hear her.

If you saw 2005’s Just Like Heaven, with Reese Witherspoon, you’ve pretty much seen this story already, except that this being a Bollywood film, there are semi-spectacular production numbers at regular intervals. Despite their inclusion, I See You runs a mere two hours, fairly short by Bollywood standards. This being a romantic comedy, you expect a certain number of punchlines, and I See You does not disappoint. Agarwal is almost scarily beautiful in her screen debut — Rampal said in an interview on the DVD that they were looking specifically for a newcomer — and the supporting cast seems to be having a good time, especially Michael Maloney as Inspector John Smith, who’s properly suspicious throughout and never once says “What’s all this then?”

Is I See You as good as Just Like Heaven? I think so. But I have to dock it points for concealing its origins.

(Review copy acquired by me at retail.)





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