Ugly (2014)

The state of society, relationships and humanity is aptly summed up in the one word title of this dark film. The irony of the story lies not in the tragedy or the problem at hand, but what evils it gives rise to.

A failed marriage, a child abducted, a depressed mother, a frustrated father, an ambitious step dad, two opportunist friends and one idiotic sibling. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? They do not even describe the tip of the iceberg, for this tale grips you and shocks you on many levels.

The performances make the film powerful and as always director Anurag Kashyap smacks reality hard in your face and doesn’t give you any time to recover. You just go with it because stopping would mean accepting the trauma and shock of how depraved human beings can be.

Made in a very small budget (the key to success these days), it has a large cast. Ronit Roy does what he does best; angry and unyielding. Tejaswini Kolhapure is shown as reeling from addiction and depression. Vineet Kumar Singh has the largest use of profanity with the best act of helplessness. Rahul Bhat is caught between truth and fiction. Various others support in their own way, testing your patience and keeping you tense.

A brilliant eye-opening reality.

3.5/5

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2 states (2014)

A book written by and apparently based on Chetan Bhagat’s own dating and marriage story, has Arjun Kapoor (Krish) in a positive role, finally! Alia (Ananya) shines in a confident yet traditional role, different from her other two outings. They make a sparkling couple thanks to the way the director Abhishek Verman has presented them.

The story is simple, reminiscent of a side story in Vicky Donor where the Bengalis finally party with the Punjabis. Here of course, its the ‘Madrasis’ who are subject to Punjabi antics, dished out deliciously by Amrita Singh. She is up against Revathy, who gives it back with equal fervour. Wish there were subtitles for such a film, to let the audience truly be part of both states.

Its an ensemble cast effort, be it the strong and silent Shiv Kumar Subramanium who plays Alia’s dad, or Arjun’s alcoholic father Ronit Roy plays so convincingly. Both families put together, you have a southern buffet served with a north Indian tadka, made sensitively and sincerely.

The director has planned his highs and lows well in the film, sometimes stretching the plot too thin, but taking you to a beautiful conclusion nevertheless.

3/5