12 January, 2015

Movie Review : Ugly ... so ugly that it is brilliant !

Viewers or Voyeurs?

Some times, just some times, one goes into a cinema hall expecting nothing and comes out with a screen experience so stark and real, it leaves one totally gob smacked. ‘Ugly’ is one such experience where the viewer is turned into a voyeur.
This is on account of the events taking place in front of his eyes are so bare one doesn't feel one is watching a movie. You the viewer are the invisible participant that sees all of the ugly slice of life unfolding before your very eyes.

If one asks me what has been Ram Gopal Verma’s biggest contribution to cinema, unhesitatingly I would state that it is his ‘Factory’ that makes those entire mercurial and eclectic films. It is from here that Hindi cinema has been introduced to talented actors, writers, cinematographers and directors. Anurag Kashyap is one such find that came from the Factory and made his mark with his unique brand of cinema.

Worlds of Cinema

In Ugly we get into Anurag Kashyap’s world. If you notice there are different worlds in Hindi cinema, there is a Yash Raj World that has daffodils, Switzerland, love, good songs and more over it is beautiful and no one is poor. It is a trip to a five star hotel’s restaurant, where the cuisine could be anything but the ambiance rules paramount. This world has been extended into two stylized worlds, one owned by Dharma Productions or Karan Johar’s world that is young, candy flossed to the extreme; there are extra terrestrial colleges the kind one may never have encountered on earth. Moving in it is like a visit to a franchised outlet on the lines of a McDonalds or KFC...everything looks & tastes the same the only variation in the equation is the shape of the restaurant, which could be different. The other stylized extreme to it is owned by the Bhatt brothers of Vishesh films. Locations are hip, clothes are chic, there is tight young flesh on display and wonderful music to back it up, the plots are real exposing the underbelly but without getting the hands all dirty. People may die at inopportune moments in this world and there is weakness of character generally that flashes about predominantly. This is Mahesh Bhatt’s world. It is like visiting a multi-cuisine, Grade –A restaurant where the ambiance is clean and all dishes served are either orange or green. His nephew Vikram Bhatt is stylizing a world left vacant by the Ramsay Brothers and Mohan Bhakri’s . Vidhu Vinod Chopra was the king of soft focus romances till he stopped making films and handed over the baton to his two assistants Raju Hirani and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi made a world akin to Aesop, meaningful yet funny and having a moral. It is a community kitchen like MTR, where the focus is on wholesome food of superior quality served in a middle class neighbourhood.

 A visit to Bhansali’s world is still being figured out by Bhansali, no one else can understand it and comprehension is a far cry. RGV crashed into this party with his own take and pushed the envelope in a different direction. His cinema was technically superior, dark had blood and gore and his speed of making films was mind boggling. Quantity replaced quality and for every four times one takes a trip into this world you get a good ride only once, but that one ride shall be spectacular making one forget the sheer ordinariness of the previous three. RGV was the Pizza Express all offerings reach you within half an hour, excellently packed and only once ina while you make the right call with the toppings...

Anurag’s world is a visit to the back of the by-lanes kebabwallah’s where the neighbourhood is filthy but the kebab’s are skewered fresh from the mince rolled right in front of your eyes. The process is Ugly but the result is always delicious, his cussedness lies in making us a part of his process, if you can withstand that then you shall enjoy the ride. It’s not for the faint of heart, this world.

Ugly : A Movie or Reality...go figure

Ugly lay’s it all out there. Human weaknesses, Corruption, Crimes of the depraved and petty mind & power games in a plot so intricate that if you miss a scene you shall miss the momentum of the bus that is hurtling to an end at breakneck speed right from the moment you boarded it. 

A ten year old is kidnapped and the plot touches upon one of the worst crimes in the roster child trafficking. From this event begins the game of search and whodunit. Every single person in the frame is Ugly...the soul less eyes of the lady trafficker as she blows a plume of bidi smoke and denies everything while being interrogated by the cops, to the starring characters of Inspector Shoumik Bose ( Ronit Roy, outstanding ), His wife Shalini played brilliantly by Tejaswini Kolhapure, Rahul Bhatt  as the out of work actor Rahul Kapoor& Vineet Kumar as his casting agent, part time producer of B-grade films(By far the most stand out performance in the film), Girish Kulkarni as Inspector Jadhav ( effortless, like he was in the Marathi film Deool) and a support cast of excellent actors like Ajay Purkar, Jayant Gadekar, Madhavi Singh  and the late Abir Goswami. All are ugly.

The technical cast and crew has supported the film brilliantly but at the end of it all it is the director who stands tallest in making a movie with as much honesty and not taking the viewer for granted even once in this amazing and horrifying tale, Anurag Kashyap. It is difficult to stand up to one’s own work at times and after Gangs of Wasseypur one wondered what would come next whether it would enthral and disturb equally.  With Ugly, you have gone that extra mile, take a bow, its well deserved. This movie is a must watch for all those who like real cinema, going to the movies shall never be the same experience after this.


Pradeep Panicker said...

Taken from 'Taken'??

kau kau goes the crow said...

Yeah Pradeep the similarities are undeniable...however for once I felt that while Liam Neeson did an Ok Ok job in the American version, the Indian movie is far better etched out; clearer and where the ethos is far more believable.
Taken is way over the top as a movie and franchising it makes me lose sympathy for its excellent premise that they created in the first movie.
UGLY has no chance of being made again :-) at least one hopes he doesn't..