Friday, December 19, 2014

Ugly (2013)

Anurag Kashyap's Ugly is actually an ugly film in itself: sordid life of big, chaotic Indian city, none of the characters that invite even remotely any sympathy, a plot with several loose ends and a very predictable end. The latter two aspects especially hamper a film that claims to be a thriller. However, even more than that, it is the inability of the viewer to connect with any character at all that makes the film an unbearable watch. Films have been always made that have had nothing but characters of dark shades: yet when a character is built well, the audience can relate to it, for in many of us also lie darknesses. However, Ugly does not go into any understanding of its characters: it goes more for style over substance, for the manifestations of sick minds rather than clues to their depravities. A poor storyline and poor editing do not help matters.

Ronit Roy has become the standard abusive figure in Hindi films these days: I thought those days of Hindi cinema were over when you had to watch Aruna Irani or Tun Tun playing the same role over and over again in different films. How can a director take an audience for a ride like this? And, as in 2 States, do not expect much of explanation for Roy's fury: it's just that the character is in vogue and pretends to give the film a psychological depth when in fact the film lacks any substance whatsoever. The plot has huge holes, all left unexplained: why would the police drop shadowing the toy seller woman completely even if Roy was busy with his personal enmity, and more importantly how come they just converge suddenly upon the toy seller woman when the film demands it? Why would Roy not implant a tracking device onto Rahul (and on his body) just silently: why let him know? The police commissioner (Roy) seems to have become one just because he can beat the pulp out of people when the whim takes him: he does not seem to have any smart style of working. And what are appendages like the female assistant to Roy: is she a technical expert working with the police department or a woman constable or a Karamchand Kitty?

The film revels in sickness, just as Kashyap's Gulaal did: it is as if that in the garb of realism you are showing endless stretches of people vomiting and nothing else. Ugly is a film for those who like sick films (plenty of the variety will be found in Hollywood and Spanish cinem) or for those who like to watch squalid Indian cities on big screen and take pleasure in it: but even for these two generalised categories, the gaping plot holes might be too much to handle.