Ugly (2013) – A mini review

Ugly

Directed by – Anurag Kashyap

When I saw all the reviews for Ugly, I was really curious to see what Anurag Kashyap had in store for us this time. I have been a fan for quite sometime and even if his new films aren’t as amazing as his previous ones, the fact that he always seems to smartly justify whatever he shows- drags me into the theatre all the time.

So it’s a dark film, isn’t it? The shots are dark, even day looks dark and squalor is at another level altogether. It’s about a 10-year old girl who was kidnapped by somebody when her father left her in the car waiting. The film then follows a series of events that reveal the lives of its fucked up characters stuck in their fucked up lives and trying to deal with this fucked up mess.

The mother of the child is a once-beautiful, now-a-wreck suicidal crazy woman whose ex husband and the father of the 10 year old is an aspiring wannabe actor who has been struggling for years to get a role. And then there is the step father, a police officer who was once-a-crazy lover of the mother but was beaten by the wannabe-actor father and probably married her because he wanted to take revenge. I call him crazy because he locks his wife in the house and his pastime is to listen to her talk to people on the phone that he tapped. And then there was this ridiculous police officer ofcourse, who was indifferent to complaints, like all Indian police officers are supposed to be like.

They say it looked real but I am not convinced. So are you telling me there is not a single character in the film or rather ‘real life’, who actually has some character? I found it forced and very, very manipulating. And there is obviously no way of not feeling bad because there’s a child involved!

The issue is big – it’s about child trafficking and also about our obsession with petty things in our lives. I come out of the theatre – horrified and forced to think of all the bad things I hardly even think about. If that was the aim, well done. But it was definitely not a great film. Actors gave a stunning performance and it was a ‘sitting on the edge of the seat’ experience, I am just not quite sure if we can call it a masterpiece. It sure showed us the dark side of our country. I would rather call it really stupid than dark. All the characters except a woman police officer were dumb heads and what can be the sad part of this otherwise beautifully made film is that I don’t quite connect to any of its characters.

I quote my friend Mohit here, after he watched both PK and Ugly – ‘Rajkumar Hirani makes forcible feel good films and Anurag kashyap makes forcible feel bad films.’

Period.

 

 

The lunchbox (2013)

The lunchbox

Director – Ritesh Batra

There has been a lot of buzz on lunchbox not being selected from India into Oscars and let me inform you that I am not one of the bees. But I must definitely ask you to watch the film. One of the best and most well made and ambitious films in Indian cinema – this year and for many more years to come.

A simple love story about an elderly man working as a clerk, about to retire after 35 years of government service and a middle aged housewife. The man is a widow and the woman is one of the many lonely wives living a claustrophobic life with a husband who is least bothered about her and cheating on her. The lunchbox she sends her husband gets exchanged to our protagonist and as she confronts with him through a letter, that is where the story starts. The entire set up might be cliched, but the treatment is absolutely unique and just beautiful weaved together under the theme of famous dabba system in Mumbai.

The simplicity of the typical young Indian housewife, the typical neighbours of an Indian household and all the characters – very well written. What it fails to do to me is the fact that I felt it could have touched me more if Irfan Khan’s character wasn’t so closed as it was. Nevertheless, must watch.

PS – The film won Grand rail d’Or at Cannes this year and was also screened at TIFF and has done good job in the box office too collecting around 11 crores for the first week. The hype helped. Way to go indie!