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Saturday, 27 December 2014

Ugly (2014) (Hindi)

It takes a lot of courage to portray the darkest sides of human behavior.  People are capable of much worse than we could imagine – given the right circumstances.  Most of us are aware of that but live in denial.  To the film maker who doesn’t believe in the beaten path, this aspect of homo sapiens sapiens is nothing short of a delectable treat.


Written and directed by Anurag Kashyap, Bollywood’s last installment of 2014 reeks of the master film maker’s style from frame 1.  In all aspects related to cinema from titling to editing to music and of course direction & acting, Ugly has AK written all over it and makes it a must watch for the weekend.

Rahul Varshney aka Rahul Kapoor (Rahul Bhat) is a struggling actor like many other in tinsel town.  He meets his daughter Kali (Anishkaa Shrivastava) on Saturdays who otherwise stays with his ex-wife Shalini (Tejaswini Kolhapure) since their divorce.  Rahul’s crappy life is funded by his close friend and casting director Chaitanya Mishra (Vineet Singh).

The irresponsible Rahul leaves Kali unattended in his car (one of the few aspects that has been left undefined – how can he afford one to begin with) while waiting for a script that Chaitanya is supposed to hand over.  In a matter of minutes, Kali disappears from the car leading to the premise of the story – the hunt for a kidnapped 10 year old.

While the broad story is not path breaking in any manner, it is the treatment that makes it fabulous.  Kashyap focusses his attention in unraveling the layers of each character’s personality.  Every single person of the cast including side actors are treated with more attention than expected and thereby ensuring that each one delivers at a higher level than what one would normally associate with them.

Leading the performances would clearly be Ronit Roy who is taking to roles with shades of dark grey like a fish to water.  Roy’s is superb as the ruthless Shoumik Bose, a senior cop who is now married to Shalini.  He is effortless at the risk of being type-casted and makes you cringe in your pants every few minutes.

While the entire cast was superb, I was most surprised by Tejaswini Kolhapure.  In all honesty, I have never thought that TK was capable of delivering an intense performance as the desperate wife wanting to end her 2nd failed marriage and an alcohol problem. Apologies for not having called out the rest of the cast specifically but they were all superb to say the least.

The narrative is dark like most Kashyap movies backed with music that borders on psychedelic (for lack of any other word to describe it).  The editing team could have done better but some aspects that us mortals consider unnecessary are what make an AK movie what it is.  In all a must watch.  8 on 10.

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