Ugly Aur Pagli – Movie Review
If one had to define Slapstick comedy, it is:
A boisterous form of comedy marked by chases, collisions, and crude practical jokes…
but the movie Ugly Aur Pagli (Ugly and Madwoman) takes the meaning of slapstick to another level… a literal level! In this movie the humor is centred around slaps…and well, the tag line is 99 slaps and one kiss! I didn’t bother to count the slaps but they could well be 99. Was the movie funny you might ask. Sure, the movie is funny, though not so funny that it will make your stomach ache or have you laugh till the tears start rolling down your cheeks.
Funnily, I found more women laughing than the men, at least in the cinema hall I was in. It could be because it was a woman was slapping a man. I don’t know.
Slapping has been used as a humour device in many slapstick comedies (although not as continously as in this movie)…mostly we have men slapping some moronic character or the other, or at times women doing the same. (Men slapping women is rarely used as a comic device, being pretty serious business).
What’s the movie really about? (no spoilers)
It’s a love story, a romantic comedy. The movie revolves around Kuhu (played by Mallika Sherawat) who is an attractive but aggressive girl. Right at the start of the movie she bumps into the other central character, Kabir Achrekar. He is a loser and the director (Sachin Khot) makes that clear within the first few scenes itself. What better man for a pushy and dominating girl like our Kuhu?
The dominating female and the submissive male situation has been used umpteen times to make people laugh in Hindi films, but this is refreshingly different. Here Kuhu is not projected as the wrong kind of girl, but just a mixed up young girl…or not even mixed up. That is exactly how she is, take her or leave her. But let me warn you that all characters are exaggerated beyond belief and are simply caricatures, with no resemblance to reality at all. This is certainly not a movie that is to be taken seriously and if it is, it’s likely to make people (specially men) wince.
Although the exaggeration works as comedy, the director could not keep up either the pace of the movie nor the comedy. The last quarter of the movie is a damp squib and in fact it’s as if somebody suddenly turned off the comedy switch. The rest of the story seems very silly indeed, because it’s not funny anymore.
The songs (music by Anu Malik) were okay, but were simply add-ons, and nothing to do with the movie. You can read a detailed music review here.
What I liked about the movie
I loved Mallika in the movie – her role reminded me of Anjelina Jolie’s action roles. Mallika not only does a class act as a seductive siren, she is great in the action scenes, dressed up Jolie style. Where acting is concerned, she was fine wherever she had play the aggressive and dominating girl-friend. She was not good in the emotional scenes but thankfully such scenes were very few and mostly at the end.
As for Ranvir Shorey, it is his brilliant acting which which lifts this movie above the ordinary. Mallika, though just right for the role, could not have carried this movie on her own shoulders. The movie is all Ranvir’s.
A copy, again
This film is said to be a copy of the Korean film My Sassy Girl. It’s a pity that the directors and producers of Ugly Aur Pagli failed to acknowledge the source of their inspiration. I guess there is no shame left in the industry anymore. However, the movie has been Indianised just enough for the makers to be able to claim that it is not a copy. In the attempt to make it different they’ve spoilt it.
I had been warned that the original is better, but it was still interesting to see this movie and I have mentioned some of the reasons above. I want to add some more. The movie was very different. And I was in a light-hearted mood that day, had great company for the movie, and enjoyed the woman-centric theme.
All Mallika fans will love this movie and so will Ranvir fans.
You might wonder whether it’s worth seeing this movie in a theater. Well, I guess most critics and most reviews aren’t advising it. But I could never have watched this movie on DVD as there are times when the action slows…I have overall a difficult in sitting in front of a television screen for more than half an hour at a time (I prefer 15-20 minutes) and can only do so for a great movie. If I have to see a silly movie, then it’s the cinema hall or nothing. At the theater one can least be out, eat popcorn, and generally have fun.
Related Reading: Review of The Mummy – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
More Movie Reviews