The first ‘Julie’ that inspired several imitators in the Hindi erotic film genre

Starring Neha Dhupia as the eponymous heroine, ‘Julie’ was the story of a wronged woman choosing to become a prostitute.

Between 2003 and 2004, three Hindi erotic thrillers paved the way for several generic imitations down the years, such as the Hate Story series. These films were Amit Saxena’s Jism (2003), Anurag Basu’s Murder (2004) and Deepak Shivdasani’s Julie (2004). While Jism’s success opened the floodgates for sex-fuelled tales of deceit, betrayal and blood, Murder and Julie strengthened the commercial viability of the genre.

Julie, in particular, was directly influential on the Hate Story series. It was Julie that popularised the idea of a woman using sex to battle the world after getting betrayed by men. Starring Neha Dhupia as the eponymous character, Julie was hyped prior to its release for its “bold” scenes, a “topless” Dhupia and assorted gimmicks. Dhupia’s “Only sex or Shah Rukh Khan sells” statement made during Julie’s promotional tour propelled the film to the spotlight. In hindsight, Julie was one of the better erotic Hindi films of the 2000s when put alongside similar efforts of the time that had minimal filmmaking merit, including Hawas (2004), Ab… Bas! (2004) and Girlfriend (2004). (The movie is not to be confused with the 1975 release, starring Lakshmi).

Shivdasani has made a sequel, Julie 2, which stars Raaj Laxmi in the lead role and in the words of its co-producer Pahlaj Nihalani, is a “complete adult family film” about young talents being forced to compromise in the movie industry. Julie 2’s central theme of a woman having to sleep with men after her dreams get destroyed is borrowed from its 2004 predecessor. The film will be released on October 6.

Julie 2.

The 2004 film begins with Julie (Dhupia) sleeping on a white bed, wearing a white dress, draped in white sheets, in a room with white walls, as a song that plays over the opening credits go “Phoolon si ek nazuk kali, thodi si chanchal manchali.” A lengthy flashback sequence reveals how her whiteness got tainted over time.

Julie, intent on marrying her Goan boyfriend Neil (Yash Tonk), is left high and dry when the money-minded Neil scores a business opportunity with a local honcho and seals the deal by marrying his daughter. A heartbroken Julie moves to Mumbai, where she lands a job as a design consultant for a real estate agency, with no qualifications except that her boss likes her taste in wall colours.

Julie gets close to a senior colleague Rohan (Sanjay Kapoor), and in no time, they are in bed. Whenever a man propositions her for an intimate moment, Julie’s weapon of choice is to run away in glee before submitting eventually. Rohan and Julie are almost set to get married when Julie is hurt once again. This time, Rohan tries to use Julie as sexual bait to land a lucrative contract.

Julie (2004).

The twice-bitten Julie runs to the streets, gets down on her knees, and cries in the rain. She is rescued by a parlour owner-cum-pimp Rosie (Kamini Khanna). Rosie consoles Julie and offers her pearls of wisdom to survive in Mumbai: “The world is not round. It’s a merry-go-round” and “Khudkhushi ko khud-khushi mein badal do.” Julie joins the dots and decides to become a prostitute.

All is fine with her new job till a chance encounter leads to Julie meeting a young millionaire Mihir (Priyanshu Chatterjee), who has businesses worth Rs 1,000 crores at the age of 27 and is the most eligible bachelor in the country. Julie and Mihir fall in love and get engaged, but Julie is yet to tell Mihir the true nature of her profession. Triggered by a televised interview of Mihir declaring that he has a special someone in his life, she barges into a news channel’s office and demands to be interviewed. “Main ek peshewar dhandewali hoon,” she thunders.

Finally, Julie bares it all on television for her friends, family, clients, associates and the rest of the world to see. Mihir enters the show uninvited and an emotional monologue later, announces his love for Julie.

The trailer of Julie 2 follows the new Julie (Raai Laxmi) entering into sexual liaisons to further her career in the film industry. (A character advises her, “Yaha pe sirf body chalta hai, garma garam body.”) Unlike the first part, the story swerves into murder-mystery territory with a tough cop played by CID regular Aditya Srivastava trying to make sense of the complete adult family proceedings.

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Ten awesome TV shows to get over your post-GoT blues

With those withdrawal symptoms kicking in, all you need is a good rebound show.

Hangovers tend to have a debilitating effect on various human faculties, but a timely cure can ease that hollow feeling generally felt in the pit of the stomach. The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale has left us with that similar empty feeling, worsened by an official statement on the 16-month-long wait to witness The Great War. That indeed is a long time away from our friends Dany, Jon, Queen C and even sweet, sweet Podrick. While nothing can quite replace the frosty thrill of Game of Thrones, here’s a list of awesome shows, several having won multiple Emmy awards, that are sure to vanquish those nasty withdrawal symptoms:

1. Billions

There is no better setting for high stakes white collar crime than the Big Apple. And featuring a suited-up Paul Giamatti going head-to-head with the rich and ruthless Damien Lewis in New York, what’s not to like? Only two seasons young, this ShowTime original series promises a wolf-of-wall-street style showcase of power, corruption and untold riches. Billions is a great high-octane drama option if you want to keep the momentum going post GoT.

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2. Westworld

What do you get when the makers of the Dark Knight Trilogy and the studio behind Game of Thrones collaborate to remake a Michael Crichton classic? Westworld brings together two worlds: an imagined future and the old American West, with cowboys, gun slingers - the works. This sci-fi series manages to hold on to a dark secret by wrapping it with the excitement and adventure of the wild west. Once the plot is unwrapped, the secret reveals itself as a genius interpretation of human nature and what it means to be human. Regardless of what headspace you’re in, this Emmy-nominated series will absorb you in its expansive and futuristic world. If you don’t find all of the above compelling enough, you may want to watch Westworld simply because George RR Martin himself recommends it! Westworld will return for season 2 in the spring of 2018.

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3. Big Little Lies

It’s a distinct possibility that your first impressions of this show, whether you form those from the trailer or opening sequence, will make you think this is just another sun-kissed and glossy Californian drama. Until, the dark theme of BLL descends like an eerie mist, that is. With the serious acting chops of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as leads, this murder mystery is one of a kind. Adapted from author Liane Moriarty’s book, this female-led show has received accolades for shattering the one-dimensional portrayal of women on TV. Despite the stellar star cast, this Emmy-nominated show wasn’t easy to make. You should watch Big Little Lies if only for Reese Witherspoon’s long struggle to get it off the ground.

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4. The Night of

The Night Of is one of the few crime dramas featuring South Asians without resorting to tired stereotypes. It’s the kind of show that will keep you in its grip with its mysterious plotline, have you rooting for its characters and leave you devastated and furious. While the narrative revolves around a murder and the mystery that surrounds it, its undertones raises questions on racial, class and courtroom politics. If you’re a fan of True Detective or Law & Order and are looking for something serious and thoughtful, look no further than this series of critical acclaim.

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5. American Horror Story

As the name suggests, AHS is a horror anthology for those who can stomach some gore and more. In its 6 seasons, the show has covered a wide range of horror settings like a murder house, freak shows, asylums etc. and the latest season is set to explore cults. Fans of Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange are in for a treat, as are Lady Gaga’s fans. If you pride yourself on not being weak of the heart, give American Horror Story a try.

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6. Empire

At its heart, Empire is a simple show about a family business. It just so happens that this family business is a bit different from the sort you are probably accustomed to, because this business entails running a record label, managing artistes and when push comes to shove, dealing with rivals in a permanent sort of manner. Empire treads some unique ground as a fairly violent show that also happens to be a musical. Lead actors Taraji P Henson and Terrence Howard certainly make it worth your while to visit this universe, but it’s the constantly evolving interpersonal relations and bevy of cameo appearances that’ll make you stay. If you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ll enjoy a peek into the world that makes it happen. Hey, even if you aren’t one, you might just grow fond of rap and hip hop.

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7. Modern Family

When everything else fails, it’s comforting to know that the family will always be there to lift your spirits and keep you chuckling. And by the family we mean the Dunphys, Pritchetts and Tuckers, obviously. Modern Family portrays the hues of familial bonds with an honesty that most family shows would gloss over. Eight seasons in, the show’s characters like Gloria and Phil Dunphy have taken on legendary proportions in their fans’ minds as they navigate their relationships with relentless bumbling humour. If you’re tired of irritating one-liners or shows that try too hard, a Modern Family marathon is in order. This multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom is worth revisiting, especially since the brand new season 9 premiers on 28th September 2017.

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8. The Deuce

Headlined by James Franco and Maggi Gyllenhaal, The Deuce is not just about the dazzle of the 1970s, with the hippest New York crowd dancing to disco in gloriously flamboyant outfits. What it IS about is the city’s nooks and crannies that contain its underbelly thriving on a drug epidemic. The series portrays the harsh reality of New York city in the 70s following the legalisation of the porn industry intertwined with the turbulence caused by mob violence. You’ll be hooked if you are a fan of The Wire and American Hustle, but keep in mind it’s grimmer and grittier. The Deuce offers a turbulent ride which will leave you wanting more.

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9. Dexter

In case you’re feeling vengeful, you can always get the spite out of your system vicariously by watching Dexter, our favourite serial killer. This vigilante killer doesn’t hide behind a mask or a costume, but sneaks around like a criminal, targeting the bad guys that have slipped through the justice system. From its premier in 2006 to its series finale in 2013, the Emmy-nominated Michael C Hall, as Dexter, has kept fans in awe of the scientific precision in which he conducts his kills. For those who haven’t seen the show, the opening credits give an accurate glimpse of how captivating the next 45 minutes will be. If it’s been a while since you watched in awe as the opening credits rolled, maybe you should revisit the world’s most loved psychopath for nostalgia’s sake.

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10. Rome

If you’re still craving an epic drama with extensive settings and a grandiose plot and sub-plots, Rome, co-produced by HBO and BBC, is where your search stops. Rome is a historical drama that takes you through an overwhelming journey of Ancient Rome’s transition from a republic to an empire. And when it comes to tastes, this series provides the similar full-bodied flavour that you’ve grown to love about Game of Thrones. There’s a lot to take away for those who grew up quoting Julius Caesar, and for those looking for a realistic depiction of the legendary gladiators. If you’re a history buff, give this Emmy-winning show a try.

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For your next obsession, Hotstar Premium has you covered with its wide collection of the most watched shows in the world. Apart from the ones we’ve recommended, Indian viewers can now easily watch other universally loved shows such as Silicon Valley and Prison Break, and movies including all titles from the Marvel and Disney universe. So take control of your life again post the Game of Thrones gloom and sign up for the Hotstar Premium membership here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.