Ugly (2013): Anurag Kashyap’s black satire on human relations

A memorable edge-of-the-seat experience

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Aditya Jandial

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Ugly, Directed by Anurag Kashyap, Movie Poster
Ugly (2013) By Anurag Kashyap
IMDb Ratings: 8.2
Reviewer Rating: 63 %
Genre: Mystery | Thriller
Cast: Ronit Roy, Abir Goswami, Vineet Kumar
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Runtime: 128 min

Summary: A terrible tale of corruption, indifference, and systemic violence starts when 10 year old daughter of an aspiring actor disappears.

It rarely happens that you walk out of a movie with a feeling of disgust which has more to do with the characters than with the story and once that happens, you are sure that the director has hit the bulls eye in terms of antagonizing you to the stars of his script.

Anurag Kashyap’s black satire on human relations is a shady reflection on a murky window pane that takes a quick bite at the dark aspect of human psychology and comes back to haunt us once the movie packs a final punch. This might be one of the rare movies in the recent past, where you would notice the director’s trademark hand flowing effortlessly through the placid screenplay and being further corroborated by some of the best on-screen performances. But, what makes this movie a memorable edge-of-the-seat experience is the way Kashyap pens the tussle and the subtle shades of relationships between his team of characters. On a whole, I would rate this movie as a top notch Anurag Kashyap classic and a perfect continuum along with the meaty ‘Black Friday’, the ultra-black ‘Paanch’ and the rancid ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’.

Ronit Roy in Anurag Kashyap's Ugly, Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Ronit Roy in Anurag Kashyap's Ugly

The story revolves around a housewife (Tejaswini K.) whose life turns upside down when her daughter gets kidnapped from the busy locales of Mumbai. The movie moves forward to paint a canvas of characters, including her former husband – a struggling actor (Rahul Bhatt) and her second husband – a top police official (Ronit Roy), who are in a continuous fight to upstage each other and locate the missing girl in the process.


On the front while it seems like a movie aimed at finding the missing kid but nothing seems to be as simple with everyone having a deeper ulterior motive under the scratchy surface. What lies ahead is a story about how all these twisted lives team up to track down the girl intermittently filled with egos, repressed emotions, anger, desperation and what not.

A Stil from Ugly, Vineet Kumar, Directed by Anurag Kashyap
A Still from Anurag Kashyap's Ugly
With a canvas full of seasoned artists what stands amongst all the chaos is the raw chemistry and the spirit of one-upmanship between the two male characters. If I had not grown up with watching Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachan (Sholay) or Anil Kapoor and Jacky Shroff (in their numerous outings) shelling their lives out for each other, I wouldn’t had really been able to appreciate how Anurag tries his hand at the modern day ‘bromance’ with both the characters competing one another but end up complementing each other. Also, the movie is backed by some brilliant and creepy background score which would keep you entangled with the on screen moves.
Chord Strikers:

- Ronit Roy who masters his act as a top cop while underplaying the insensitive husban
- The scenes where both the actors are present on scree
- The flashbacks that set the premise of the rivalry between Ronit Roy and Rahul Bhat
- The kick to the guts culmination to the manhunt

Give me a break

- The whole semi plot when you get to see glimpses of Siddhant Kapoor on the screen

The kidnapper driving the car with the girl under his custody, Vineet Kumar, in Ugly, Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Rahul Bhat in Anurag Kashyap's Ugly
Show Stopper(s):

Considering the thrilling pace the movie runs on, it’s real tough to select one particular point in the movie so I have finally zero it down to two particular acts. In the first half of the movie, there is this scene where Rahul is literally whiplashed by the cop (played by Girish Kulkarni) when he walks in to get the missing complaint written down. The scene not only gives the much-needed laughter aimed at the verbal spat between the two but also brilliantly sets out the red carpet for the whole persona of the other alpha male (read Ronit Roy). Second would be an out of place item song by Surveen Chawla; I totally believe that this song could had been avoided for the sake of time and intensity but what it does on screen is to provide you with the flavour of the overall superficiality of the characters that you would be subjected in the 100 odd minutes of drama.

About Author - 

Aditya is a research Analyst with a leading consulting firm who works closely on understanding the banking sector, so overall he is a financial analyst with movies on his mind.

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  1. Shared via Twitter. Great review Martin. I had never heard of this film before. Now you have me wanting to watch it.


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