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Ugly Aur Pagli – Movie Review

August 4, 2008

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

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2008 1:44 am

    Just saw dark night
    movie was decent and liked the special effects
    thanks for ur review

    Good u didnt see the original – or this movie would most likely have been a dreadful experience
    still have it wt me- it would have definitely put u off

    After partner i am scared of seeing bad copies
    On unp i still cant comment and will watch it ff when it comes to vcd /dvd or i get it from someone – but i guess it will be too late by then

  2. August 4, 2008 1:45 am

    ps have u heard of / seen mongol ?

  3. August 4, 2008 3:52 am

    I find these people who warns others to not watch a certain movie very pretentious and presumptuous. People should decide for themselves. Alright even I wrote one review for UAP but I merely tell people why I like a certain film. Beyond that point its upto them to decide.

    Secondly, I don’t get one thing about people cribbing about Bollywood lifting ideas or making xerox of foreign movies. Copying the foreigners is all our Entertainment industry ever learnt to do anyways so why should our film makers be any different.

    We copy every damn thing, TV shows like zabaan sambhalke, Ji Mantri ji, Jassi jaisi koi nahi, reality shows – KBC, Paanchvi paas, N number of talk shows inspired by the likes of Larry King live, this whole concept of ‘Breaking news’, even our Blog ideas are copied, they hav a blog critic we have a desi critic, they have a Insta pundit we have a Desi pundit. Our great musicians from SD Burman to RD Burman to the most verbally abused Anu Malik and not so abused Pritam everybody is a damn copy cat, so what is so uniquely and extra criminal about lifting films???

    Heck, why entertainment industry our socio political structure is also copied, the Indian Legal system, the criminal jurisprudence, The police system, bloody hell the Constitution is a copy of American, Irish, French and other Constituion.

    Few in the country would know about the Korean film or be interested in it and rightly so, then what is wrong in making a desi adaptation of it and showing it to the local junta. Not everybody is an elite cine goer of international standard. And not everybody can grab a Korean DVD. So why preach…to stay away from the desi?

    I have been hearing people talking about how Mallika is below the mark in comparison to the original Korean actress (I don’t even know who she is) but no body said anything about the Korean actor of My Sassy Girl. Is he also way better than Ranvir Shorey?

    Really we should stop making a fuss over films being copied or lifted so long as the films succeed in entertaining us, coz that is the only objective.

    For all I know, PNC only ended up generating more revenue for the makers of My Sassy Girl, that is if elite pick up the original DVDs.

    I am glad you liked the movie though coz I thought one should give it a shot for the simple reason that its very different. Here’s my review, may be a bit too kind but I honestly did like it a lot –

    (Note For Readers: Sanjukta’s review gives away the story. – Nita.)

  4. August 4, 2008 6:59 am

    I wanted to watch this movie..but may be now I would go for the original first

  5. August 4, 2008 7:38 am

    Prax, even if I had seen the original it’s unlikely that it would have affected my feelings towards this movie. You see the actors in a movie are an influencing factor for me. And no I haven’t seen mongol.

    Rambler, if you don’t like either of those two actors, I guess yours is the right decision.

    Sanjukta, I agree with you when you say that whether to see a movie or not is an entirely personal decision and whether one likes it or not is pretty subjective. However I don’t agree that one should not make a fuss if a film is copied.I think copying is a terrible shame and these people should be exposed. You just need to put yourself in that position. If you write a beautiful script and it’s used by a cheat and passed off as his, how would you feel? Would you not mind if your own creative work was misused, without any credit whatsoever to you? Would you buy stolen property as long as it’s a wonderful piece and feel there is nothing wrong as long as thieves are making it available to people?
    In a way all of us are guilty, for simply seeing this movie.

  6. August 4, 2008 8:01 am

    I think I will watch this movie. But, before that I will try to watch the original Korean movie. 🙂 Thanks for your comment on my blog. BTW, I think you were addressing me as Arvind in your comment in my blog. I am Manoj 🙂

    sorry for calling you arvind! i know very well you are manoj btw, it’s just a kind of slip of the pen and your first word in the post was arvind, so the mistake. sorry!

  7. August 4, 2008 8:50 am

    U r on a movie weekend!!! I’m so jealous. Infact U didnt write ur summary post!!! 🙂 good review as usual. I’d loved Pyar ke side effects and I’m looking forward to enjoying this one too. So u loved Mallika’s acting. Looks like the girl is improving.

    Reema, thnaks. I was out of town for the week-end and had no time to do a summary post! I plan to do a two week summary post next week. 🙂
    About the movie, I believe this movie is not as good as pyar ke side effects, but as I have not seen the latter, I can’t compare. And as for Mallika, yes I loved her but can’t say that she can act! – Nita.

  8. August 4, 2008 10:39 am

    so many movies i have to see! 😦 don’t get time! 😦 😦 somebody toldme its a one-time watch movie, i hope i get time to see this one .. love comedies!

  9. August 4, 2008 11:10 am

    It’s “My Sassy Girl” .. and whoever hasnt seen this movie should see it ASAP. I promise you, you’ll love it.
    Korean movies became a craze in my college due this one movie

  10. August 4, 2008 12:46 pm

    Nita thanks

    maybe i have better taste
    first i don’t mind copies so long as they are good , hey even sholay was a copy but a good copy
    and i dont like to goto a theatre and waste 150 bucks to see bad copies.
    im a big fan of world movies thats why i asked abt mongol

    try seeing my wife is a gangster – its superfunny

    Prax, you have better taste than whom? 🙂 Don’t you think that is rather arrogant? I too have my own personal ratings for movies from 1-5 but I am never arrogant enough to assume that someone has less of a taste than me and that is the reason I never give ratings for movies. I personally can enjoy all kinds of movies. I love movies. Same with reading. I love reading and I read trash and I read literature. I have something to learn from all and I don’t look down on people who read light stuff. Each to his own Prax. – Nita.
    P.S Ah, I think I get it. You think that those who enjoy light movies cannot enjoy the more “intellectual” fare. That is the reason why some people pretend not to enjoy the dumb movies (I am not saying you are pretending, but many do) because they are afraid that others will call them as having less taste, poor taste or plain dumb. Well, I am honest enough to say that a person needs entertainment, and every single human being likes to do stuff at times which is brainless. It’s relaxation. Some do it through gaming, some through cards, inane tv programmes and hundreds of other things. No one needs to feel ashamed.

  11. August 4, 2008 12:47 pm

    and finally to each his own is what i firmly believe in

  12. August 4, 2008 3:31 pm

    Nita, honestly if any of my creativity got stolen / copied I would only be flattered, particularly when it doesn’t directly affect my profit pursuits and when I wouldn’t have to sweat to prove to the peers that I am the original.

    And my work have been actually stolen, I have occassionally bumped into orkut profiles where the about me section is a quote by me first published on my blog. I figured later that they were my sister’s friends, who liked it very much.

    You see the makers of My Sassy Girl (UAP) or Seven Samurai (Sholay), Reservior Dogs (Kaante) Hitch (Partner) and zillion others, don’t give a damn about these copies because they dont hav to sweat to prove who is original and who is desi, they don’t feel any bad that somebody lifeted their idea and pass it as their own, they are only breaking new grounds and having the last laugh while we are busy criticizing a desi product.

  13. August 4, 2008 4:18 pm

    Risking being arrogant – i hate cheesy movies and bad copies – i cant sit through 2.5 hrs of crap spending good money that too when ticket fares have seen incredible inflation – that’s is all there is to it and u dont have to interpret too much into it and risk branding me pseudo intellectual !

    maybe most of these bad indian remakes or govinda starrers put me off – plain and simple i dont like them when they dont put something new on the table

    not that i have a hatred for dumb movies – i like a kind of dumb too -or mindless movies – like teen comedies or some funny indian horror movies.

    first i wasnt being arrogant
    sanjukta said
    / they are only breaking new grounds /
    sorry for me a gunda will rate better than a partner or a
    i have better taste as in seeing better movies .
    take for example sholay it was totally indiginsed and was a fantastic movie comparable to the original
    and the more recent jaane tu – which had a rather weak story but great directing

  14. August 4, 2008 4:20 pm

    plus i had qualified in my review it could be either a good copy or pure crap
    After partner i am scared of seeing bad copies
    On unp i still cant comment and will watch it ff when it comes to vcd /dvd or i get it from someone – but i guess it will be too late by then

    It’s okay, I know what you mean. In any case I don’t think you will enjoy this movie, even on dvd! 🙂 That’s because everyone has different likes and dislikes. Whether dumb or not. 🙂 – Nita.

  15. August 4, 2008 4:23 pm

    agree on ur last 4 lines and please nothing personal here

  16. August 4, 2008 4:57 pm


    I thought I would read comments about the movie, but I got a lot of thoughts about copying.

    Seeing the promos, and the cast I had a lot of expectations with this movie.(I find Ranbir a very good actor, and expectations from Mallika ….obvious.)

    Personally, the movie was no where near my expectations.

    I guess I should stop expecting things, at least when bollywood is concerned.

  17. August 4, 2008 6:40 pm

    another one in my long queue .. 😦
    sassy girl ..well i will check that out first 😛

  18. August 4, 2008 9:08 pm

    Prax ..
    Of course I’ve already seen it 🙂

    Sanjukta ..
    I think it’s not a question about whom we copied from and whether we hurt their profits or not — It’s a question about why can’t Bollywood be more creative and come up with more brilliant ideas that others would like to copy.

    It’s not about copying — It’s about *not* creating new and good stuff

  19. August 5, 2008 1:18 am

    thanks for backing me up

    welcome to the club
    have u seen oldboy? that is one wierd movie (A)

    Plus vivek if they want to copy why cant they be a bit more creative ? sholey was a copy but it was remotely close to 7 samurai

  20. August 5, 2008 2:42 am

    someone had uploaded it and i took the pain to speed see it
    ugly pagli is a cheesy copy

  21. August 5, 2008 5:08 am

    ranvir shorey rocks! 🙂 haven’t watched the film and have no intention to either. thanks to your review. 🙂

    Good you read my “rating” between the lines, because when people make up their own minds about a movie it’s always better! 😉 – Nita.

  22. August 6, 2008 7:48 am

    How do you get so much time to watch all the Movies.
    All the reviews are up by the Weekend.
    You have a good life.

    Asif, true I try and watch all the good movies because I love movies! 🙂 However not always am I on time with the reviews! 😦 – Nita.

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