Anurag Kashyap revels in portraying Real characters who mouth expletives, kill-like-animals, and the actresses in his movies have to glorify the no-makeup-look to such a degree that they start looking abhorable. UGLY lives up to Kashyap's world view perfectly. As a viewer you are left with disturbing images that continue to bother you long after the movie ends. Yes if you are a pseudo intellectual then you'd start decoding the hidden nuances but for the ticket buying aam janta there's very little that holds attention.
The find of the movie is Girish Kulkarnj who as the inquisitive police inspector asks some really quirky questions about why actors adopt screen names from a struggling film actor (Rahul Bhatt) and his hapless friend (Vineet Singh). Kulkarni's queries about mobile phones is equally engaging and entertaining.
The plot of UGLY revolves around Bhatt's 10 year old girl Kali's disappearance from his car. Kali's mom (Tejaswini Kolhapuri) is lost in her world of alcohol and pills. Her second husband (Ronit Roy) is a tough cop who has a propensity for tapping her mobile phone and he also relishes torturing Bhatt. Ransom calls start doing the rounds with inexplicable participation from various characters in the film. The free flowing usage of expletives and gory torturing starts to bother after a point of time.
Technically the film is brilliant. Nikos Andritsakis' (Dibakar Bannerji's SHANGHAI and LOVE SEX AUR DHOKHA) cinematography is brilliant. It's moody, psychedelic and extremely engaging with a very minimal usage of lights. Soundtrack by GV Prakash and Brian McOmber is outstanding. The usage of Rock music in key sequences is simply fascinating. The song 'Papa' sung by Shilpa Rao will leave you with a lump in the throat and moist eyes.
Rahul Bhatt made a failed presence with the forgettable NAYEE PADOSAN but as a failed actor he has given a riveting performance in UGLY. Tejaswini Kolhapure as the lonely beleaguered wife brings out various shades in her personality leading to an ambiguous conclusion about her persona. The wife, who slept with her husband's friend, or a hapless suicidal woman with absolutely no hopes from life, she excels. Surveen Chawla as the item girl who oscillates between Bhatt and her producer husband brings in spice to the proceedings but she also brings more ambiguity about some of her actions which are never explained. Vineet Singh is excellent as the friend who could be a villain and a victim. Ronit Roy is in great form and his performance reminds you of the raw hardened fiber of UDAAN.
Anurag Kashyap is the quintessential rebel. He has had a disturbed childhood and it shows in the choice of his movie subjects which turn out to be disturbing for the aam janta. The patrons of Hollywood and European cinema are inherently far detached from the harsh poor realities of life. Patrons of Indian cinema go through the grind of hardships every single day. Movies for them is more of an escape and in many cases the only mode of good entertainment. A film like UGLY is not meant for the wide section of Indian audience that patronizes fun, entertaining escapist cinema. When the reality is so ugly for them why would they want to spend money on buying a ticket for UGLY.
On the whole, technically brilliant with some wonderful performances, UGLY strictly caters to a niche audience. Moreover the choice of releasing it during a festive period isn't a great idea either. Watch it if you are an Anurag Kashyap fan, else avoid!