Saw this on 05/06/16
This is not the most interesting Kashyap movie that you can find because it's grim and slow paced. However, like its title, the film is almost all ugly because the characters (all well acted by a not so famous cast) are deeply grey and unlikeable. What makes Ugly worth it is the fact that a highly unnerving incident brings the most selfish and deprieved true form of all the characters and a life takes its toll.
This was not the only scene in Anurag Kashyap's 2013 neo-noir psychological thriller Ugly, that gave me creeps, but this one stood out. The way Kashyap builds suspense over something so inconsequential, so unimportant is phenomenal. With a chilling background score and dark cinematography, Kashyap builds an eerie air around the film, giving you chills.
Ugly is exactly what it claims to be, UGLY. Centered around the kidnapping of a young girl Kali, the subsequent events and happenings form the crux of the story. Kali lives with her disenchanted mother, a lady who is obviously frustrated with her life, and her father- in-law, a tough,straight-faced cop. Her father, a struggling actor, has problems of his own, including having to face the ire of his ex wife's husband.
Seems like a simple drama, right? You are wrong. Kashyap, it seems, wasn't cowed down by the compulsion of making a commercial film. Ugly has an air of realism surrounding it, with real characters, and nothing black and white. There are no heroes in Kashyap's world. There are only normal humans with human flaws and human instincts. And as he inexplicably revolves a drama around them, there are many grey areas. We don't know whom to believe and whom to root for. Everyone has something to hide, and ultimately, we understand, nobody cares for the little girl. Everybody is moving around the cobweb of opportunism, with little care or concern for anybody else.
Kashyap creates a atmosphere so grotesquely different from contemporary Bollywood fare to the point where we feel we are not watching a film, as though Kashyap and his camera are following these peope in their real lives. Under the circumstances, it's horrifying. While centering the story around the kidnapping, Kashyap's taut screenplay manages to drag the film so far away from it, as if it is of miniscule importance. Excellent.
The cinematography is excellent. Nikos Andritsakis paints a picture of Bombay so dark and starkly real, that it begins to scare you. Add to it the chilling music, the movie won't leave you for a long time. Naturally, Kashyap manages to squeeze the best out a talented cast. Everybody including Tejaswini Kohlapure (Shalini, Kali's mother), Rahul (Rahul Bhat, Kali's father) and Ronit Roy (Kali's step-father) play their parts to perfection. But the star- performer is Vineet Kumar Singh as Chaitanya, Rahul's friend. He portrays a character so complex with such ease that we don't know whether to trust him or not. Definitely, one of the best performances of the year.
Ugly became news because of Anurag Kashyap's long legal battle against the CBFC order to include smoking warnings on the screen while the characters are shown smoking. He subsequently lost the case, but you see the reasoning behind his fight, when you see the last scene. It shocks you, and will leave you gasping for breadth. The harrowing song Papa, by Shilpa Rao, only compounds the emotion.
All in all, Ugly is a hauntingly satisfying cinematic experience, and for me, it is the year's best film. It is one of the few films that gave me sleepless nights. I was so emotionally shattered by the movie that I had to call home early morning, asking whether my sisters were fine. How many movies could manage to do that. It is up-there with classics like Se7en and Silence of the lambs as one the best psychological thrillers ever.
Ugly is that rare film which exposes the demons in our society and in ourselves. While not for the faint - hearted, the movie is a must watch for all cinephiles for the craft and the technical finesse. It is easily Anurag Kashyap's best work; the handiwork of a genius!
Combination of excellent screenplay and realistic performances by actors. If you follow Anurag Kashyap's work [not just because it is cool to do so] you are going to love this film.
If you are not a different film, Ugly, at least, can be eccentric and interesting ..
Anurag Kashyap is the filmmaker Bollywood seriously don't deserve, but boy do they need filmmakers like him to carry the flag of proper films from this nation. And hopefully sometimes soon our rather laughable, absolute ridiculous year ending award shows will acknowledge films like these.
If not, it's pretty much obvious whose loss will that be.