Ugly aur Pagli - Review

Review No.1 by Sonia Chopra

Conspicuously Ugly Aur Pagli's two main draws remain: Mallika Sherawat in red boots with devil horns in her mass of wild hair and the title that promises a fresh, edgily funny story. I wouldn’t blame you for expecting more, but this is it, honestly. And both have been milked dry for a self-indulgent running length of two and a half hours.

One immediately related the film with Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na, for its core character similarities. In both, the male protagonist is meek (at first) and the woman the dominant, wilder one. And in both, the film bends unforgivably towards the conventional.

UAP starts proudly with shots of unlikely couples (gay, of differing age groups, of differing sizes and shapes, etc.) who are supposed to warm us with their bonding, but all you see is the clumsiness of this 'lifted' scene.

On to the story then; you brace yourself. Ranvir’s Kabir is adorably timid, what most like to term a “sweet boy”. The reason we are supposed to believe was his parents dressing him in girls’ clothing when he was a protesting baby. Otherwise, we are to assume, it’s impossible for a man to be mild-natured at all.

A chance encounter with a drunk Kuhu (Mallika) leads to him taking care of her through the night. This happens again. Love blossoms, but not after the film’s tagline of 99 slaps is squeezed dry. And the girlfriend’s rather odd demands are dutifully met with (if not, yes… a slap).

He is a fourth-time-fail engineering student who still gets spanked by his mother. She does nothing concrete except write silly scripts (where the director humours himself visualising them onscreen). Forget the story, which you’ve seen a million times anyway.

The characters are interesting enough. Kuhu is not normal or tolerable by any standards. She barks orders, drinks to vomit all over unsuspecting passengers, and slaps a guy who meant to do her good. Her flightiness is not explained.

Still you laud the slightly imaginative perception of a central female protagonist in a Hindi film—one who even snores loudly. Bas, that’s it.

Post interval, she goes to see a ladka after spending a year in Kolkata—dressed traditionally, her wild hair straightened. She's very, very quiet at the table when meeting the young interested chap. She has even given up drinking. You’re left blinking. Rest I leave for you to discover... if you must.

The scenes I am about to mention, I wouldn’t call weak links, just bizarre staccatos that appear without warning or purpose. The awkward tribute to the film Chameli (by the same producers), something about a jilted lover about to commit suicide, the harrowed producer surrounded by 'original’ film DVDs. The humour has few, very few clever liners; else we are expected to laugh at a fart joke where the farter lovingly names it 'De Boo’; lots of puke jokes; even the done-to-death on on blowing into another’s handkerchief gag.

About the only scene I really liked was the grumbling Kabir going against a stream of people, getting jolted, and turning around to join the crowd, symbolic of it being easier to be a follower. And Ranvir does well. He brings about the desired vulnerability to his good-hearted character who’s a dominated mama’s boy and yet finds a girlfriend equally feisty.

Mallika is great as the firebrand. Their contrasting screen personas work well whether they are atop a terrace eating from steel tiffins or on scary joy-rides. Cameos by Bharati Achrekar and Sushmita Mukherjee are fun.

The technical aspect is strong with impressive camera work by Somak Mukherjee (Black and White) and sync sound designing by Rishi Oberoi (Tashan, Salaam Namaste).

Editing by Hemal Kothari (Love Story 2050, Pyaar Ke Side Effects) is perhaps meant to keep the pace languorous, but the film ends up excruciatingly long and slow at times. The narrative was punctured with way too many songs, only a couple of which were enjoyable.

Ugly Aur Pagli clearly means to seek the same audience that made PNC’s Pyaar Ke Side Effects a multiplex hit and, therefore, employs many of its strategies. But a formula still remains just that, and it comes with no guarantee.

Verdict: 2 stars


Review No.2 by Anonymous

Ugly Aur Pagli is a bizarre and uncanny title. However, it's catchy and attracts instant attention at the same time. It's for this reason that you expect the film to be one wacky ride - promising 99 slaps and 1 kiss.

Besides, post Pyaar Ke Side Effects, unconventional stories with unconventional casting only got an impetus. Since Ugly Aur Pagli comes from the same production house that delivered Pyaar Ke Side Effects, you only expect the film to go a notch higher, or be at par, than the earlier experience. And that's where the film falls short of expectations.

Viewed as an individualistic experience, Ugly Aur Pagli has a few interesting moments. Don't look for a story here, for it's the moments and incidents that bind this two-hour film together. So what if the writers and director seem inspired by the Korean movie My Sassy Girl? Mallika Sherawat and Ranvir Shorey are enough to make you forget the waferthin plot at times.

Sure, a few scenes do bring a smile on your face, they are genuinely funny and bizarre (Mallika wearing undergarments above her clothes in college), but there're times when the humour falls flat. You just don't react to the on-screen antics, you sit motionless while absorbing them (the futuristic stories that Mallika pens makes you break into a yawn!).

All said, had director Sachin Khot opted for a strong story and backed it up with strong emotions (in the latter part), Ugly Aur Pagli would've made you exclaim 'lovely'! As things stand now, Ugly Aur Pagli is below par. The movie tells the story of Kabir (Ranvir Shorey), a carefree guy who has been studying engineering for the last five years and whose life goes for a sixer when he meets the quirky and kinky Kuhu (Mallika Sherawat).

Kabir always wanted a girlfriend, but never in his wildest dreams did he ever think he would encounter a girl who could make him dance around circles, ride cycles without seats, wear high heeled ladies sandals and much more.

Ten minutes into the film and you realise that Ugly Aur Pagli is not the usual prem kahani. Yet, you take to the over-dominating, brash woman and the timid, docile and submissive guy. In fact, you break into a smile as you are introduced to these characters. But the smile surfaces only intermittently.

Nothing wrong with the first hour, but the second hour is troubling. Problem is, the absence of a story makes every moment look repetitive. What you've watched in the first hour is remodelled and represented in the second hour, with slight modifications of course.

Besides, the story is stretched in the second hour. Why does Mallika disappear suddenly (we're told she goes to Kolkata for two years)?. Also, how does Gaurav Kapoor, the prospective groom, know Ranvir Shorey? Gaurav blurts out 10 ways to win Mallika in his first meeting itself. But the question is, why would Ranvir guide Gaurav when he's himself hopelessly in love with Mallika and has been searching for her whereabouts desperately? Clearly, the writers just didn't know how to conclude this saga!

Debutante Sachin Khot is letdown to a major extent by a slipshod and sloppy script. Music (Anu Malik) is another sore point. Besides Talli (well rendered by Mika, Anmol Malik and Hard Kaur) and to an extent, Karle Gunaah, the remaining songs should be given a skip.

Ugly Aur Pagli belongs to both Mallika and Ranvir. The best thing about Mallika is, she's a complete natural. She's spunky and spirited and that's one of the reasons why this role works. And it works only because Mallika is portraying it. There are doubts if any other actress would've carried off the devilish streak so well. Her emotional side is also well captured in the concluding moments.

Ranvir Shorey - an incredible actor indeed! To play a submissive part convincingly requires complete understanding of the craft and Ranvir proves, yet again, that he's one of the most dependable actors around. Again, the best thing about him is that he's not pretending to act. Tinnu Anand and Sushmita Mukherjee are hilarious in their first scene. Bharti Achrekar is alright. Zeenat Aman is hardly there for one scene.

On the whole, Ugly Aur Pagli is, at best, an ordinary fare, but in the absence of a tight script, the film will face an uphill task in days to come.