By Troy Ribeiro
Cast: Kalpana Pandit, Anant Nag, Abrar Zahoor
Director: Sandeep Malani
"Janleva 555" is like a slow poison that slowly consumes you, leaving you feeling wasted and annoyed. The theme and treatment of the film is outdated and difficult to digest from the word go.
It has all the ingredients of movies of the bygone era. Reminiscent of films of the 1970 and 1980s with 'nagins', 'saperas' et al, "Janleva 555" starts off as a snakebite awareness film and gradually morphs into an adventure-cum-romantic-cum-mystery movie. Whatever, the imagination of the filmmaker could encompass.
To make matters worse, the 15 songs, dollop of re-incarnation drama and elements of horror, make "Janleva 555" a mish-mash of genres. Result - the viewer is thoroughly confused.
Apparently, India, known as the land of snake charmers, is also a country with the highest number of snakebite deaths. To highlight the fact, Neelam (Kalpana Pandit) along with her friends, who share the same goal, decides to make a documentary on the subject. How noble!
They zero in on a remote village and land in a dense forest to film the snakes in their habitat. Romance brews between Neelam and Abrar Zahoor. Songs are sung and suddenly Neelam recalls that she was a snake in one of her previous births, about 555 years ago. Then starts the re-incarnation saga followed by mystery, revenge and an incessant headache for those watching.
After cliches, the plot stagnates. The situation and the songs seem strained and is probably the reason that audiences fail to get the crux of the story. If there is any, that is!
Kalpana as a producer and actor has left no stone unturned to show her histrionics. She is in every frame. Also, she seems to be in awe of Sridevi and imitates her, especially in the snake dance sequence.
Co-incidently, Sridevi too was called Neelam in "Nigahen", where she played a snakewoman.
Anant Nag with his light and expressive eyes does a decent job of what's expected of him. In fact, with 10 fresh faces "Janleva 555" seems to be a launch pad of sorts.
The songs sung mostly by newcomers are a strain on the ears.
Longinus Fernandes' choreography is nothing to write home about.
Though Selvam and Kamal Lokhandwala have captured the locales brilliantly, and Santosh Chawla's editing is neat, "Janleva 555" has anachronistic feel. Perhaps director Sandeep Malani lacked a clear vision.
Don't waste your time. Highly avoidable.