My Take – Anurag Kashyap is one of the most intriguing directors of Bollywood who always dares to do something different, whether its gangster flick Gangs of Wasseypur or his retelling of classic tale Dev D (2009) or the disturbing Black Friday (2004) or the almost non nonsensical noir thriller No Smoking (2007) or the political drama Gulaal(2009), he has always a new dimension with brand stamp of dark themes & black comedy. And just like his earlier films this one just like its title suggests the gets into an ugly territory. The story based on true events follows Shalini (Tejaswini Kolhapure) is a middle-class housewife forced to stay at home by her second husband, police-chief Bose Shoumik (Ronit Roy). She considers suicide, and is about to shoot herself in the head with her husband’s gun when she is interrupted by her daughter, Kali (Anishika Shrivastava). Unaware of her mother’s activities moments earlier, Kali asks her mother to call her estranged father, Shalini’s ex-husband, Rahul (Rahul Bhatt). It’s a Saturday, and Kali’s day with her father as decided in the custody agreement from the divorce. Rahul, an aspiring actor struggling to make it big, comes to take her for a drive but ignores her in favor of phone calls made to try to further his career.
Finally, Rahul leaves Kali alone in the car to go to an audition and to check in with his agent, Chaitanya (Vineet Kumar Singh). When he returns to the car, Kali is missing. Rahul first searches for Kali through the police, Chaitanya in tow. The local police-captain, Jadhav (Girish Kulkarni), does not take Rahul seriously until he realizes that Kali is the stepdaughter of the police-chief. Bose, out of hatred for Rahul, orders Jadhav to accuse Rahul of the kidnapping and to torture both Rahul and Chaitanya to interrogate and punish them. A game of ego boosting follows as Rahul and Bose search for Kali while simultaneously attempting to upstage the other. We also have a producer’s wife – actress Rakhi Malhotra (Surveen Chawla), who is best friends with Shalini & lover to Rahul & Shalini’s brother (Siddhanth Kapoor), who is way into debts, have their own take on the events. From the beginning itself your mind is not allowed to rest. The film raises so many questions as the movie progresses which get cleared up slowly. The best parts of the films are the wacky moments, a signature in Kashyap’s films – instead of launching a manhunt for the girl, the captain absurdly chats about mobile phones, selfies, divorces, Rahul’s film career etc, while the distraught Rahul caves and Chaitanya attempts to lean him into action, once the inspector realizes the missing girl is the stepdaughter of police honcho Bose, and his attitude switches to that of a professional. Almost each and every major character in the film uses the abduction incident to earn a few and that is the best element Kashyap conveys in the film.
The climax marks the grave reality we live in, not caring for things that should be actually cared for. This film would not have worked without the brilliant cast of Ronit Roy, Rahul Bhat, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Vineet Kumar Singh, Surveen Chawla, Siddhanth Kapoor & Girish Kulkarni. Anurag Kashyap has never stopped intriguing me, making films that are not only bold and beautiful but also strong in themes and fables. With this film, which he promised to be his most honest work, he succeeds in making a point the same haughty way, but ends up saying nothing more than we already know. When the movie ends, you just know what “Ugly” stands for. Its not just another missing-child movie like Prisoners, but a raw chronicle of human behavior. On the whole Ugly is a not a film which can be seen with a vast audience, due to its “ugliness”, nevertheless the good humor, intensity, superb performances & great direction makes this one of the best films out there!
Director – Anurag Kashyap
Rated – R
Run Time – 128 minutes