Friday, 13 June 2014

F*ugly : Movie Review

Once upon a time, Bollywood was all about mushy lovers and their musical romances, but today those tales of ever-lasting love and dancing around trees have been sidelined for bromances. After Farhan Akhtar hit box-office fame with his boy gang in ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, every filmmaker, including his own sister Zoya, is hopelessly piggybacking on friends and their road trips to make a quick buck. And, hoping to cash in on it is director Kabir Sadanand. He blatantly seems to be inspired from and lifts scenes from  ‘Rang De Basanti’ & 'Shaitaan' and spins his own tale, only he ends up with something which is very average and not that hard-hitting. Following a money-spinning trend isn’t baulked at in an industry that has relied only on passionate love affairs, coloured with peppy dance numbers, for so many years. But, if you had to imitate, you would at least need the talent to back it up. With a body of work that displays absurd titles like ‘Pop Corn Khao Mast Ho Jao’ , and a few acting escapades that appear tacky, it’s clear why Kabir leaves his inglorious foursome without much to do.But looking at the positive aspects,  F*UGLY is not the standard Bollywoodish fare that looks at life through rose-tinted glasses, unlike films of its ilk, which tend to get dark, gory and predictable after a point. F*ugly ably touches on many social issues — from women’s security to the steadily growing trend of drug, alcohol and sexual use/abuse in the higher echelons of society, to corruption in the judicial and political system.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                             ::        The story of the movie written by Rahul Handa & screenplay penned down by Sanjay Kumar seem to have been majorly inspired & influenced by earlier youth centric movies like 'Dil Chahta Hai', Rang De Basanti & Shaitan. There’s a minister’s son in ‘RDB’, and there’s one in ‘F*ugly’. ‘RDB’ boys sacrifice their lives in their fight against political intolerance, while only one from ‘F*ugly’ does the deed. “If I can’t achieve it, then you follow,” he says. Surely they've learnt their lesson from the ‘RDB’ boys and didn't want to kill the political bigwigs and turn them into martyrs.Among other things, 'F*ugly' also talks about women's safety and how "eve-teasing has become a national obsession". Coming to the story, the film begins with a young man — Dev (Mohit Marwah) — driving up to India Gate in New Delhi on a normal weekday morning and setting himself ablaze in the presence of hundreds. The self immolation, he describes to enquiring media at one of the city’s hospitals, was “for redemption”. Taking on Cheeni (Anshuman Jha), a lecherous rave party organiser, at a dance party under the headlights of gaily coloured cross-country trucks was easy for Dev, Devi (Kiara Advani), Aditya (Arfi Lamba) and Gaurav (Olympic boxing champion Vijender Singh), Dev explains. Real trouble starts when they get on the wrong side of Inspector R.S. Chautala (Jimmy Shergill). When Nanu, a small shop owner, fondles Devi’s butt, she justifiably slaps him. But he maligns her instead in front of his customers, claiming she made the pass. Of course, her casual, low-slung harem parents and tied-up, mid-riff baring shirt didn’t help Devi. A frustrated Devi vents in front of her friends who decide to avenge her honour. But an unrepentant Nanu threatens the group, which leads them to “take him on a drive” in the boot of their car. And they cross paths with Chautala. The inebriated Chautala, slighted at Gaurav’s boast regarding his minister father, decides to “teach them a lesson”, even though he is Gaurav’s family’s henchman. Killing Nanu, he frames and blackmails them for the murder.It’s from here that things turn from ugly to Fugly. To pay off Chautala, Dev, Devi, Aditya and Gaurav decide to host a rave party with one of Cheeni’s minions. But he double crosses them and Chautala comes to their rescue. Seeing all the money, the greedy policeman forces them into the lucrative business. Troubled by their conscience, the four friends try all means to get out of his trap, but to no avail. They get drawn deeper into the business until Chautala frames them. Dev finds a solution: people don’t want to hear the truth unless it’s coming from a dying man. Hence, the self immolation. F*ugly's determination to be off-the-wall makes it fall flat. The film gets overburdened trying to capture every Delhi cliche, from Parliament to Paharganj, and show how deep the city's ugliness has seeped. 

STARCAST                                                                                  ::               The film has been cast well too, though Vijender Singh may need a few more lessons to hone his acting skills — hey, he’s a boxer not actor, let’s cut him some slack. Each of them — Marwah, Singh, Advani — are well-suited for their characters of carefree, young souls. Mohit Marwah makes a confident debut, interpreting his character with insight and conviction. He has this amazing intensity which gels well with his character. Vijender Singh has screen presence and surprises you with an effective portrayal. Arfi Lamba underplays his part well and maintains the grip over his performance all through. At first, Kiara Advani gives the impression of just adding to the glam quotient, but the pretty newcomer catches you completely unaware as she handles her part with rare understanding. She has the combination of looks and talent, both. Seasoned actor Jimmy Shergil is impressive and outshines the rest of the cast. The manic charisma that Jimmy Sheirgill brings to his character leaves you bewildered. His fury and wickedness makes you detest him, which clearly indicates how brilliantly he has portrayed his character. Shergill is indisputably one of the film's biggest strengths.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                              ::        The soundtrack of the movie which has been composed by three composers namely Yo Yo Honey Singh, Prashant Vadhyar & Raftaar is quite average with just couple of songs having some repeat value. Good music is an essential part for movies of this genre as was the case with its contemporaries which is sadly missing from this flick. But, the background music given by Abhishek Mathur & Alok Punjani is commendable and in tandem with on-screen proceedings. The film's key weapon, besides drama, is its cinematography for which Milind Jog deserves an applause.  Milind Jog's cinematography is top notch, with the DoP capturing some wonderful frames on his lens.The movie has been edited by Shounok Ghosh who has a done a fine job & restricted the length of the movie to 134 minutes. As far as direction is concerned, Kabir Sadanand takes time to warm up, but once he does, there's no stopping him. He maintains his grip on the dramatic portions for most parts, expertly building up tension and handling a couple of episodes adroitly. Kabir invests in drama and the emotional bond amongst friends to make the proceedings captivating, but at the same time, makes the road back from hell compelling and lifelike. This is definitely his best work so far.

CONCLUSION                                                                               ::   If positive intent were enough to help a youth-centric movie pass muster, then F*UGLY could, at a stretch, be regarded as passably decent two-and-a-quarter hours of entertainment. 

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