When I read the name Anurag Kashyap associated with any movie, an automatic electricity-like excitement runs through my body. It’s the same sort of feeling I get before watching an Alfred Hitchcock or a Quentin Tarantino movie.
Story writing is not just a tedious task, it’s an obsession because a writer lives in the minds of his/her characters during the course of writing. So they go through the same emotions and thoughts as their characters. In my opinion, it takes a huge toll on writers who spin tales on the darker side of life. Imagine living inside the head of a psychopath or a monster or even the victim. You can feel that darkness engulf your mind.
Kashyap doesn’t just dip his fingers in the finger bowl of darkness, he marches right into the abyss and yanks out stories that send people into grief, depression, and fear. The 2014 psychological thriller, Ugly, is a good case in point. Kashyap is both the writer and director of the movie.
The moment the movie begins you are faced with a depressed housewife sitting in a room with a gun, thinking of shooting herself, with hard rock-type music playing as a soundtrack. The visual and sound just slap you across the face to wake you up from whatever it is you were doing or thinking before hitting that play button.
The story revolves around the kidnapping of a 10-year old girl. From thereon, the movie just keeps dragging you deeper into a mystery, and just when you think that is going to be the main course, Ugly presents you with side dishes of greed, egoism, selfishness, jealousy, male chauvinism, frustration, depression, and alcoholism. It’s like an Indian buffet of evil, the staple of roti and rice is standard, but there’s a large serving of a variety of curries to go with it.
To give you a brief idea of what the story entails, the kidnapped girl, Kali, is the daughter of Shalini who is an alcoholic housewife in a loveless marriage with the police chief, Shoumik. Kali is Shalini’s daughter from her first marriage to a struggling actor, Rahul.
Rahul comes to pick up Kali and take her out for a movie. He leaves her in the car for a while to get some work done. After a while, when Rahul’s friend arrives, he finds out that Kali is missing from his car. They report it to the police and Shoumik takes charge, suspecting Rahul and his friend for kidnapping Kali.
Suspicions change, egos get hurt, greed surfaces, and depression and frustration come to a breaking point. And, in all this drama, the search for Kali goes downhill.
This movie will take you to places of the human psyche that you wish never existed. It makes you angry and confused. And finally, it takes you to a dark place and leaves you there.
The acting is natural and realistic throughout. The actors do a brilliant job, especially Ronit Roy who plays the police chief. In fact, by the end of it, you will come to hate each and every character in the movie because they all have faults. There are no heroes as such to root for here.
If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and mysteries, this movie should be a must-watch.