Ugly

Ugly-Movie-Poster

Ugly
Release date: December 26, 2014
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast:Tejaswini Kolhapure, Ronit Roy, Rahul Bhatt, Surveen Chawla, Vineet Kumar, Girish Kulkarni, Siddhanth Kapoor, Abir Goswami, Madhavi Singh, Anshika Shrivastava

What kind of a father leaves his kid behind on the only day he gets to see her? What kind of a mother feeds her kid milk laced with sleeping pills? What kind of a person marries someone to just get even for an old fight? This is the dubious setting in which Anurag Kashyap sets his reality-driven fictional universe. The charm and thrill of the unexpected at every step distracts you, and the case of a missing girl in the film, from looking at the obvious.

Kali (Anshika Shrivastava) is the ‘Gone Girl’ and her “failed hero” actor/father Rahul (Rahul Bhat) and his casting director friend Chaitanya (Vineet Kumar) start searching for her. In their attempt to file a police complaint, they end up talking about why aspiring actors in Mumbai change their surnames, why can’t a casting director cast his friend in a film and Inspector Jadhav (Girish Kulkarni) takes them only seriously when he discovers Kali’s relation to a senior officer.

The senior officer is Shoumik Bose (Ronit Roy) who is also a monster dad and a hardboiled cop turns the complaint around and starts suspecting the original complainants. Shoumik is also a control freak, yet vulnerable; as he hears his wife’s phone conversations on the loudspeaker mode and yet monitors her every movement. Shalini (Tejaswini Kolhapure) is the repressed wife who’s the link between Shoumik and Rahul.

In an engaging character study and the slow divulging of small plot points that replay in hazy flashbacks, Ugly paints every character with a motive for crime. With an amateur robbery heist, it shows you the desperation of the characters. Logically, the heist could have been stopped by the immediate interference of the snooping police force, but that’s the only kink.

Rahul Bhat as the cash-strapped, abusive husband and the troubled father is splendid; while Kolhapure as the incurably hapless betrayed wife is sickeningly empathetic. Ronit Roy strikes fear with his verbally limited vocabulary and more than able physical repertoire. He’s shadier than the News of the World and as unrepentant as a proven psychopath. Vineet Kumar and Surveen Chawla as the friends with their own murky interests only help to further tighten the mystery. Not to forget, Girish Kulkarni is a complete showstealer in every scene he appears in.

Ugly also gains a lot from the slick background score by Brian McOmber. It provides bass to the treble of the stylishly-shot visuals, no matter how disturbing they may appear to the fainthearted viewer. The director is in complete control towards the end of the film and uses DevD-ish fadeouts to let the viewers fill in the blanks deliberately left open in the narrative.

There are no angels with halos in this dark world, only co-conspirators with headphones, voice modulators and laptops. Kashyap is asking you to trust no one, yet don’t convolute the obvious.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

 

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