A young, almost naked, doped-out man (Siddhant Kapoor) dances wildly to loud music, with currency notes hanging out from his undies.The camera moves in such a way that you can feel his numb state.In his delirious trance, he is so deaf and blind to his surroundings that he does not see a team of cops, a foot away from him. Senior cop, Bose (Ronit Roy) has his gun raised, ready to shoot. He is an explosive mix of rage, despair, frustration and determination. The trapped guy stops in amazed horror at the sight of Bose.
The scene ends in a perfect anticlimax.
The sequence reflects the insanely, disturbing subtext that haunts and dictates the film, Ugly, every brutal second of its 128 minutes length.
The money crazy actor, by the way, is Shakti Kapoor’s son, and even creepier than the dad’s screen avtaar.
Ugly, written and directed by Anurag Kashyap, is relentless in its pursuit of all things, bad and ugly in human relationships. After a phenomenally lengthy and grossly violent saga of gangster family generations in the eastern hinterland, Gangs of Wasseypur, Kashyap explores a simpler drama between five immoral characters on the mean streets of Mumbai.
The characters are as twisted as they can be.
Rahul (Rahul Bhat) is a failed actor,desperate for a role. His ex wife, Shalini (TejaswiniKolhapure) is an alcoholic who only bothers about her ten year old daughter, Kali’s well being, when Rahul takes her out. Shalini is a housewife, kept almost captive by an indifferent and controlling second husband, Shaumik Bose (Ronit Roy). He is a cop who keeps tabs on her by leaving a guard with her and tapping her phone. She walks around the house like a corpse forced to live.
The film begins with her attempt at suicide. A strange, cacophonous soundtrack sets the disruptive mood.
Rahul picks up Kali for their regular outing but leaves her alone in his car, to go for an audition. Kali goes missing. Chaitanya, (Vineeth Kumar), his best friend and shady casting director, joins him in his panic driven hunt for Kali.
An engrossing chase sequence (Kashyap’s Black Friday and GOW also have memorable chase scenes) ends up with a suspect dead.
A typically indulgent and humorous, long exchange involving ‘daddy calling’ and cell phones, follows in the police station, between a cop (Girish Kulkarni) and the two complainants. Soon, Kali’s step dad, Bose, enters the screen with a brutality and a force that shakes up both the concerned dad and the plot. Old and bitter college enmity comes to the fore. Dirty consequences lead to several many dead and mean alleys. Every turn leaves you glued to the theatre seat. The unruly locations of Mumbai and faces of minor characters like the local suspect’s aunt, make the film look uncomfortably real.
Some unnecessary diversions related to a character, Rakhi (Surveen Chawla) and her husband, dampen the screenplay’s raw edginess. Further complications come with Shalini’s greedy brother, Siddhant’s involvement.The film gets so entangled with each character’s petty and personal agenda that you forget that amongst the dirty guns, there is also a soft target: Kal. Perhaps this is deliberate and symbolic of the selfishness driving the characters.
Within the genre of dark thrillers, Ugly is a fine film. The deeply fascinating first half, however, leaves you asking for a balanced grey rather than a bleak black hole. This might have helped bring in the otherwise lacking emotional quotient.
Needless to say, both the casting and the acting surpass excellence. Girish Kulkarni as the over smart cop; Vineeth Kumar as the unpredictable friend as well as a foe; Rahul Bhat as the frustrated and vengeful guy and Ronit Roy as the angry but righteous husband; each are a treat to watch. Tejaswini and Surveen have less screen time but make their presence felt.
Ugly is an engrossing thriller with some fine scenes and great twists. Watch if you can handle twisted,morbid characters,too. Just leave behind all notions of morality.