Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Girish Kulkarni, Siddhanth Kapoor, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Vineet Kumar Singh, Surveen Chawla
Music: G. V. Prakash Kumar, Brian McOmber
Rating: 4/5. Go for it, if you haven’t so far.
Anurag Kashyap’s long awaited UGLY, hit Singapore screens (Bombay Talkies) this week, despite an unimpressive showing back in India. So is this critically acclaimed movie worth your time and money? Here’s seven important things you can expect from Ugly (spoiler free):
1. Mirror, mirror on the wall: Ugly mirrors on how ugly humans can get, a true reflection of society, of daily news. A husband taps his wife’s phone conversations and listens to them in public. A wife is in complete captive, despite getting all fringe benefits of a marriage. A daughter dupes her father for money…and a lot more Ugly.
2. Mindblowing performances: Ronit Roy was expected to give the chills, but is equally matched by slimy casting producer, Vineet Singh, and protagonist Rahul Bhat. The cherry on the pie however goes to Girish Kulkarni for essaying the role of an police inspector – efficient at work and at bullying. The FIR filing scene reflects every police station in India – where the heated discussion is about smart phone features, than about a kidnapped girl’s whereabouts. Ugly.
3. Money is everything in life: A wife begs for money, a brother smuggles fake phones for money, a friend lives in huge debts and out of those debts, funds an aspiring actor’s survival. When a ten year old girl is kidnapped, only thing on everyone’s mind is how to extract money from the situation. That’s life. If you ask yourself, how many of your 500+ social media friends would be willing to part with 500$, if you were to be hospitalized and in need, the likely answer will be a handful … maybe not even that. Ugly.
4. Ego and obsession tops money: A jilted lover decides to take revenge by spying on his friend’s life and then marrying her, only to teach a lesson. A top cop wastes time thrashing his wife’s ex-husband to get even over a decade plus old incident. A brother cheats his sister and parents to get even. In between all this, a girl stays kidnapped and forgotten. Ugly.
5. Anurag was always right: Kashyap’s long fight with the censor board over the ‘Smoking is injurious to health’ ticker, delayed the films release by more than seven months. But he was always right. In the most critical scenes, especially towards the climax, the viewer is distracted significantly. The censor board’s ego and obsession won this time, over some nonsense disclaimers. Ugly.
6. Good cinema means less crowds: Ugly hit screen in India a week after Aamir Khan starrer, PK. While both movies have got equally good ratings (as per IMDB and top publication reviewers), when it came to box office collections, meaningful cinema lost out to starry eyed entertainers. At the time of writing, PK has grossed 600+ crores, while Ugly is yet to hit four. First show at Singapore (this friday) had three quarters of the hall empty. Ugly. Go for good cinema, to read life closer and to encourage our makers to make more of such. In reality, Simran’s dad is unlikely to let go of her hand in a railway station.
7. Love your kids: Kids today are becoming exhibit tools of our ego and bank balances – we splurge on them so that they can show off on our behalf. But in actual love and care, they are neglected. Or living a life of insecurity, especially when burdened by fighting or separated parents. A ten year old girl in Ugly has the latest iPhone but no care, time or security from parents. In one scene she is given sleeping pills so that her mom can have some fun with a friend. Kids trafficking is so much on the rise that it’s criminal to drop your guard. Often I see parents indulged in window shopping, flashing credit cards or submerged in mobiles, neglecting kids in crowded malls. Ugly tells us in kidnapping scenarios, ransom calls don’t come 80% of the time. And that fair girls are trafficked within India, and not so fair ones, abroad. Irrespective of age. Ugly.