Movie Review: Therein lies an ‘Ugly’ truth

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Anurag Kashyap’s “Ugly” is a dark thriller about the aftermath of a child’s kidnapping. The characters in the film are dysfunctional and messed up in many ways. Yet, they don’t invoke the audience’s sympathy.

 

The film is about people who are ugly on the inside. They are shallow, self-centred and completely oblivious to anything that doesn’t serve their own interests, even when a missing child is concerned. As a result, it is not a pleasant watch.

 

The plot starts with the disappearance of Kali, the 10-year-old daughter of divorced parents. But father Rahul, a struggling actor, is more concerned of the bruises he sustained during the police interrogation because he fears they might spoil his chances during film auditions.

 

Kali’s mother Shalini (Tejaswini Kolhapure) is a suicidal, melancholic woman who is trapped in a loveless marriage with Soumik (Ronit Roy), a policeman. When Kali disappears, Soumik accuses Rahul of staging the kidnapping. This sets into motion a chain of events where everyone tries to use the child’s disappearance for their selfish interest. Finding her is the last thing on everyone’s mind.

 

Kashyap sets up the first half well, and tension among the characters is palpable. The three protagonists are all fighting their demons, and Kashyap amplifies their pitiable conditions through their bleak surroundings. The fights between Rahul (Rahul Bhat) and Shailini, shown in flashback, seem even worse in the backdrop – the matchbox-sized house, the dusty furniture and the cheap clothes that they wear.

 

But in the second half, the plot slips. Kashyap seems to lose track of all the balls he’s been juggling and holes in the script start to appear. The police, who are tracking everyone’s phones, seem too busy eavesdropping to follow even the most obvious of clues. The final revelation comes almost as a coincidence, and therefore seems contrived.

 

“Ugly” is a disturbing film which will make you squirm in your seat. But if you don’t mind that, it is worth a watch.