The closing credits of Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly rolled. There was a numb silence lurking inside the auditorium. A few guys stood up and walked out silently. The rest, including yours truly, followed the crowd, only to realize that we ended up taking the wrong lane to the exit, despite the signboards clearly indicating the right route. We laughed at ourselves, turned around and walked outside. Such is the impact of Ugly.
Metaphorically, this small, silly incident also reflects our filmmaking trend. A few guys beg, borrow or steal a South Indian film, Punjabify it with Yo Yo Honey Singh songs, Khiladi Kicks and garnish with Leone assets – lo and behold, you have a perfect recipe of a 100-crore blockbuster. And the rest simply follow the suit, despite the signboards of logic clearly indicating the right route – The Ugly route.
Pardon the digression and that too, right in the opening paras, but the point I am trying to drive home is: We seem to have forgotten the craft of film-making, as well as film-appreciation. On one hand we pooh-pooh the masala potboilers and on the other we watch the same films Friday after Friday and secure their entry to the much-coveted 100-crore club. Hope that Ugly marks an end to this trend and the only way we can make this happen is by spreading the good word about films of such caliber.
To begin with, Ugly isn’t an easy watch. It takes you through the labyrinthine lanes of your inner dark self (We all have one, let’s admit it) and shakes you to the core. What begins as a kidnap story traverses into a completely different zone.
The kidnapping of a little girl becomes a backdrop. What transpires on screen makes you root for characters, suspect them, love them, despise them, feel awed at the in-depth research of writer-director Anurag Kashyap that is writ large in every frame laced with real brutal world, question your own belief system – all in the same breath, within the 128 minutes of this masterpiece called Ugly.
Each character has been so well-written that you might end up believing that you actually know these people, be it the gem of an actor Ronit Roy as the cop, Shoumik Bose, Tejaswini Kolhapure as Shalini Bose, Girish Kulkarni as Inspector Jadhav, Vineet Kumar Singh as Chaitanya Mishra, Siddhant Kapoor as the iPhone peddler Siddhant or as they say ‘above all’, Rahul Bhatt as a struggling actor with two names Rahul Kapoor and Rahul Varshney (Amitabh ke kya do naam hai? Retorts Girish Kulkarni in a hilarious police station sequence).
The actors become characters here and it hence becomes difficult to decide who actually stands out – they all are sure to haunt you hours after you’ve left the auditorium. Ugly is surely Anurag Kashyap’s best work after Paanch, Black Friday and Gangs of Wasseypur series, replete with his trademark expletives sprinkled in generous proportion. Still watch it. Well, The only problem is: You would no longer appreciate films belonging to 100-crore ilk. So begin this Happy New Year on an ‘Ugly’ note.