Eye of the Beholder
Cast: Ronit Roy, Rahul Bhat, Girish Kulkarni, Tejaswini Kolhapure
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Duration: 2 hrs 7 mins
Rating; * * * *
Anurag Kashyap’s much awaited Ugly has finally hit the theatres just as we say good bye to 2014. Suffice to say that even though this tale is dark and grim, it is a good way to end the year, after all, Ugly is certainly one of the best films of the year
While Wasseypur was whacky and brave, this is the Kashyap we know of from Black Friday – a director who doesn’t mind walking the lonely path and do his own thing and yet connect with the audiences. Much like that film on the Mumbai blasts, Kashyap also extracts some terrific performances from actors who are not in the A list of stars.
Plus, he also has that knack for writing and crafting brilliant scenes. Imagine the child is kidnapped while the father and his friend go to the police station to register a case, the cop instead of looking into the matter with urgency is more curious to know about smart phones and how a person’s photo can be displayed along with the number when he or she is calling. As absurd as it may sound, it is one of the most remarkable scenes among the films we have seen in 2014.
At the heart of it, Ugly is a kidnapping drama. A ten year old girl vanishes from a car when her father Rahul (Rahul Bhat) leaves her alone for just a bit. But it is not your standard formulaic kidnapping story, this is more of a human drama and every character here has something at stake. Rahul is a struggling actor still looking for his big break, his best friend Chaitanya (Vineet Kumar Singh) is a casting director who first notices that the little girl has gone missing. The actor is separated from his wife (Tejaswini Kolhapure) and she is inseparable from alcohol. She is now married to a top cop (Ronit Roy) who is a tough cookie and will go to any extent to find his step- daughter.
Investigating the case Jadhav (Girish Kulkarni), a no-nonsense cop who will go that extra yard since his boss is involved in the matter.
None of these finely characters are what they appear to be – there is deceit, double crossing and ultimately all of them are serving their self interest. Kashyap succeeds in making the film more than just a kidnapping tale. In fact, for most parts of the film you are more attentive to what the people are upto and why rather than ponder about the little girl, everyone has their own agenda here.
Unlike say Inkaar (1977, which was inspired by Kurosawa’s High and Low (1963) which were in a thriller mould to a large extent, Kashyap exposes the frailties of human nature.
While more and more film makers are moving away from Mumbai when it comes to shooting outdoors, Kashyap’s love affair with the city continues and cinematographer Nikos Andritsakis (Love, Sex aur Dhokha fame) captures every detail.
The acting department deserves kudos. Rahul Bhat as the tormented father and Ronit Roy as the heartless yet dignified cop are spot on. Vineet Singh as the sleazy friend and Tejaswini Kolhapure as the mother are apt. National award winner for Deool (2011) and well known Marathi actor Girish Kulkarni makes a smashing debut in Hindi films.
All in all, Ugly is the work of a director who is on the top of his game.
Published in The Navhind Times on 28th Dec 2014