Basic team behind last year’s high-tease hit, “Jism,” goes for a second, less successful serving with “Paap,” a sultry saga set in the Himalayan foothills mixing erotic fantasies, Buddhist reincarnation and nasty gangsters. Stunning locales in Himachal Pradesh partly compensate for a weak storyline and pretty-but-bland leads in this first helming stint by Pooja Bhatt, daughter of vet producer Mahesh Bhatt, who shows a sharper visual eye than dramatic grasp. B.O. for January release was below average.
Simple plot centers on celibate Kaaya (breathless newcomer Udita Goswani), first seen swimming in her scanties in a lake. Daughter of a strict Buddhist (Mohan Agashe), she’s sent to Delhi to find a tyke, Llahmo (Madan Bhiku), purportedly a reincarnation of a grand master. But when the kid witnesses a gangland killing, the two are pursued back to the mountains, along with hunky cop Shiven (John Abraham, from “Jism”), who sets Kaaya’s pulse racing. “Witness”-like story is an excuse for loadsa heavy breathing, three modestly staged but attractive musical numbers, and copious shots of bare-chested Abraham. Pic is first Bollywood production to preem in Pakistan (at last December’s Karachi fest). Title means “Sin.”