Fugly: On the ugly side

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Fugly: On the ugly side

Fugly tries its best but lets down viewers, Deepa Gauri writes

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Published: Sat 14 Jun 2014, 11:16 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 6:28 PM

Newcomers give Bollywood films the space to grow and bond with viewers, more so because they come with little audience expectations. But Fugly, despite its line-up of new talent including India’s Olympic boxer Vijender Singh, is let down by its own lofty ‘Rang De Basanti-esque’ ambitions.

To be fair to director Kabir Sadanand, the film has its sincere moments. He scores brownie points for presenting the ugly underbelly of the Indian capital city - its cop-politician nexus, the ease with which money flows, the wild parties and excessive indulgences.

But for a youth movie, the film is a big drag. It just doesn’t have the tempo required. And for a social movie, it is too superficial because it adopts the same stereotypical settings to address the now stereotyped concerns of media discretion and cop greed.

And unforgivably, it takes the most burning issue in India today – rape and abuse – and parks it straight in the political corruption garage.

Devi (Kiara Advani) is one of the four protagonists in Fugly. After her soldier father’s death, her mother struggles to make both ends meet. While mostly seen loitering around with the three boys Dev (Mohit Marwah), Gaurav (Vijender Singh) and Aditya (Arfi Lamba), she also helps her mom by selling some homemade snacks.

When a shopkeeper molests her and then shames her in public, her friends decide to teach him a lesson that goes terribly wrong. Facing the ire of a corrupt cop Chautala (Jimmy Shergill), the four are now forced to do everything that the system condemns. The only way to extricate themselves, Dev realises, is to tell the story to the media and that too through a self-immolation bid.

In its meanderings, the film forgets its primary plot – of a woman’s honour being challenged. Instead it uses every ploy of Bollywood in women’s exploitation – including item dances. The film’s plot-holes are numerous, and so are the clichéd situations, which will make you cringe.

The lead four actors have given it their best and maybe with time they will polish their performances. After all, even some of Aamir Khan’s earlier movies are today cringe-worthy. Over the two hours of run-time, you will like the four for their almost innocent vulnerability.

Fugly’s real triumph is Jimmy Shergill. While it can be argued that it is a role for theatre actors (and had this been Irrfan Khan, the film’s fate would have been something else), Jimmy indeed shines. You might remember Fugly only for Jimmy.

The film’s selling point among youth is its music, which is suited for loud nights out. And hey, Yo Yo Honey Singh must be given angel status, if you compare his songs with the Good in Bed number penned by Niren Bhatt. Going inane gains another new low with this song.

Fugly had noble intentions of telling a powerful social story, and it tries valiantly to pull off a hit with new talent. But it tries to say too much with too little real script and caricature-like characters, biting off more than it can chew in the process.


Director: Kabir Sadanand

Cast: Jimmy Shergill, Mohit Marwah, Vijender Singh, Arfi Lamba, Kiara Advani

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