Ugly Aur Pagli: Worked for me

Before you get misguided by the high minded critics in town who fail to appreciate simple things in life and movies, who look for reasons under the earth and beyond the sky to say bad things about any and every movie ever made unless they are paid well enough to say otherwise OR unless they are member of the ‘Bollywood’s Mutual Admiration Society’ or ‘Star Power Sucker’s Club’, and before you fall victim of the vicious process of letting someone else decide what film you should and shouldn’t watch…let me tell you, please give this week’s release ‘Ugly Aur Pagli‘ a shot, I have liked it and I think you would do too. Unless of course you really dislike the main star cast, Mallika Sherawat and Ranvir Shorey.

This is the story of an ordinary romance between Ugly and Pagli being narrated in a manner refreshingly sweet and funny.

I know you would read a lot of reviews, on papers, blogs, TV, tabloids etc. but it would all only confuse you. My suggestions is to go for it and decide for yourself and while I say that allow me to give you the reasons why I thoroughly enjoyed the film and felt ‘Ugly Aur Pagli’ and NOT ‘Jaane Tu’ is 2008’s best release till date.

The movie should run on Mallika’s shoulders alone and I sincerely hope it does. She plays the Kuhu, a drop-dead gorgeous, outrageously crazy Bengali college girl. I don’t think Bollywood has ever put a girl like her in the heroine’s shoes, forget heroine, I haven’t even seen such an outrageous vamp in Bollywood. Dang, you almost have a sadistic psychopath in her. So much so that you would just hate her for being such an over demanding, always dictating, physically abusive bitch. But that’s you, you are not ‘Ugly’.

‘Ugly’ our hero Kabir (Ranvir Shorey) on the contrary loves her. He is truly madly deeply in love with her and no matter how much you fail to understand why should anybody be in love with a weird girl like Pagli, you would still want Ugly and Pagli to meet and be happy together.

Kabir is a dumb engineering student, getting scolding from his mom all the time. He met Kuhu accidentally in a railway station, one thing led to another and he found himself stuck with her in a drunk state completely passed out in Parel station. He wanted to drop her home but couldn’t’ find a cab. So ended up carrying her to a hotel and take a room there. Kuhu happens to be his first step towards girls or romance, this being the first time he was in a room alone with a girl, reason enough for the sweetly dumb Kabir to fall in love.

The next morning onwards, Kuhu pretty much forces herself upon him as his girlfriend in every possible sense except that she never said she was his girlfriend or that they were dating. She would compel him to bunk his classes to join her for some fun party, which might not be so much fun for him. She’d get violent and start slapping him if he tries to avoid her. She also happens to be a very imaginative script writer. Every time she would write one, he would have to read it and say nice things about it and probably get slapped in return. She would hijack him to Goa to celebrate their 100 days of meeting each other and being into a relationship, which she prefers to call, that of a master and slave. He however is waiting for the day she’d say ‘I love you’ to him. Rest of the story you’d have to find out yourself.

The entire movie is about such histrionics between the two. The script is in no hurry to introduce any sub plot or additional characters to complicate the romance. There is no twist to the story, no earth shattering revelation regarding the history or geography of the characters. You have the typical song and dance sequences that every Bollywood flick has and if you ask me they are never required, not even in a Taare Zameen Par, but we always have them. So don’t complaint about the song and dance. Better still, you could watch Ranvir doing a Bollywood song and dance sequence for the first time which is quite a funny sight.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the bizarre futuristic super hero movie scripts that Kuhu wrote wherein she would always be the lady super hero. While the elite critics might rubbish them as ‘irrelevant to the main plot’ or ‘forced humor’, I was touched by the simplicity in the way her pathetic imagination goes.

There are many such simple things in the small nook and corners of the film reflecting upon the insignificant traits of each character. Like when Ranvir is in a lift, he farts and being impressed by the noise the fart made he also decides to give it a cute name.

Sushmita Mukherjee appears in the film for 10 min as Kuhu’s mother and portrays an uber neaka high society Bengali woman with such annoying perfection, you’d only have to see her to believe what I am saying. More so because I can’t explain it in words what it is like being a Bengali neaka woman, I couldn’t even find an English word for naeka, which makes me wonder, are only Bengali woman found to be naeka? Once you have seen her you’d know what I am talking about.

There are plenty of situational comedy in the movie which could have come across as forced humor but thanks to Ranvir’s smooth performance they are bound to make you laugh, or smile at least.

I said the movie should run on Mallika’s shoulders alone, but I must add Pagli is absolutely incomplete without Ugly. Ranvir and Mallika share the screen time equally and I don’t think any one of them overshadowed the other. I wouldn’t exactly say they had as great a chemistry as Mallika had with Rahul Bose in ‘Pyar Ke Side Effects’ but they are not bad. Ranvir’s talent as an actor hardly needs any certification after movies like Mixed Doubles, Khosla Ka Ghosla and Mithya. Mallika has come of age too. She has got rid of the loud makeup and looks more trendy than before.

The film music is by Anu Malik, who now has a few more A and U in his name in exactly what combination I can’t remember. He did an impressive job at the track in the opening credits sequence, which was also one of the most beautiful opening credit sequence I have seen in a long time except of course ‘Taare Zameen Par’. Rest of the songs are typical Anumalikish songs.

Before I end, I must touch upon a little bit on, what is now considered my trade mark…The review rip off. Review to be ripped is the one by Rajeev Masand on IBN Live. Rajeev has given it 2 stars and if people were to go movie watching solely depending upon his review, his review has sealed the fate of this movie. I don’t wish to dissect the review line by line, am quoting this para below instead, which pretty much sums up the review.

Rajeev Masand writes,

In the end, Ugly Aur Pagli doesn’t quite work because it’s corny and contrived and it tries too hard. For a romantic comedy to work, you have to like the couple enough to want them to end up together, but honestly there’s little to like about either Kabir or Kuhu. He’s a doormat and she’s an overbearing kid. Apart from a few decent jokes, it’s unlikely you’re going to enjoy this film much.

In case Rajeev Masand missed it, the opening credit made it very obvious that the film is about strange and weird love, between mother and child, a saint and a pup, two opp sex cross dressers and more such strangeness.

I always believed there is no big deal in falling in love with someone who is really lovable, true challenge is to love someone who is weird and not so lovable. And when someone can achieve that, you know it is true love indeed. Perhaps only an Ugly can love a Pagli. And once the audience is convinced Ugly does have that love for her, that itself should be reason enough for the film to work, it doesn’t matter whether audience love Pagli or not.

I was convinced of that love in the scene where Ranvir sobbed like a child and that’s why the movie worked for me.

13 thoughts on “Ugly Aur Pagli: Worked for me

  1. “.. and when she gets up, she gets angry. Very angry. So, she slaps him. He protests. She slaps him again. He is evasive. So, she slaps him once more…It goes on and on…She slaps and he squirms. In between, they patch up and sing on the dance floor. Go to Goa. She slaps him again (I need to count how many times, poor Shorey was slapped, it could be a world record or at least it must be a very close second). New locale. Same treatment.(The Hindu)”.
    Interesting stuff. I need to see it.
    But rather than spending money, I would rather wait for its premier on the ‘Chori channel’ of my cablewala. That’s the ultimate test of popularity. More popular the movie is the faster it appears on ‘Chori channel”. After all its market force.

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  2. @Prax, I read your few lines on Ugly Aur Pagli. No offence but it was upsetting for me to see you asking people to skip it for the original, the Korean film My Sassy Girl.

    I wanted to ask you, did you actually see Ugly Aur Pagli? If not you really shouldn’t comment.

    First of all I find people who warn others about what movies to watch and what not to watch as presumptuous.

    Second, why is it such a big issue that a certain film is lifted/copied from a certain foreign film.

    We copy all the time. Copying is all our entertainment industry ever learnt to do so why should our film makers be any different. We copied every damn thing, TV shows – 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???

    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 Constitutions.

    Few in the country would know about or be interested in the Korean film and rightly so. Then what is wrong in making a desi adaptation of it and showing it to the local junta. After all how many of the majority here are elite cine goer of international standards?

    We should really stop making a fuss over films being copied so long as the films succeed in entertaining us, cause that is the only objective. (this I am talking in general not about UAP per se, though UAP did entertain me but I am not sure about others)

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

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  3. My cablewala has shown it last night. So the movie has passed my acid test of popularity with flying colors . I also got my answer too. It is ’99 slaps and a kiss’ to makeup.
    No need to count, director probably has realized that its a potential question for “ Panchvi Fail”, so he has given the answer at the end.
    If you are not too serious type – It’s fun.
    But be prepared for a Very Weak Storyline. Ranvir is more convincing.

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  4. so long as the films succeed in entertaining us

    there in lies the solution
    the film unp would not remotely entertain me
    thanks to it being a bad copy

    left a reply

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  5. @dibakar; I have not seen this movie, but one kiss to make up for 99 slaps seems to be unreasonable..but then what do you expect from a pagli and ugli apparently deserves that:)
    @ sanjukta: okay pagli..point taken, would see the movie.
    Don’t agree on the copying of indian legal system though, how can countries and government differ in jurisprudence?
    apparently the new prey to the copywood …err bollywood industry is music and movies from korea.
    @prax: as long as it is good copy, i guess no body would mind because it would be like bringing the best from the rest of the world for us indians to watch and enjoy. Not everybody understands korean,chinese, mandarin, spanish etc etc like some elite film goers and critics.

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  6. @Sanju:- Nice review.
    My take on the film:- You can watch it on a DVD. The music is dissapointing so is Maliika’s costumes. Most of the film she is wearing a mini skirt with slaks (strange). There is no harm in copying as long as its good copying. Since I have not seen the original I cant compare. I cant compare Ugs and Pugs with Jaane Tu also becuase both films are of different Genre but both films are mindless.
    There have been scenes in the film which makes no sense or could have been directed and scripted well.
    Some scenes are funny, Actors are wasted but even then they ahve done a good job. This film if at all anyone wants to see should see becuase of Ranvir and Mallika and nothing else.

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  7. I don’t have problem with copy as long as it’s good. e.g. “Kaante” was ok copy, while “Zinda” was baaaad. After watching “My Sassy Girl”, only credit UnP will get is for casting. My new favourite Ranveer Shorey and Mallika are perfect cast, may be better than original, but otherwise it’s almost totally lifted.

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  8. Nishit good to see you are not totally against the idea of lifting plots from foreign films.

    I have the same thought, as long as it successfully entertains the audience main purpose is served.

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  9. @sanjukta:

    Yes, it’s sort of compromise that I’ve made considering flurry of films that we are copying from all over the world, so I atleast content myself with good copies

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  10. “Advice comes for free”, esp. from all of us. Thats the reason I don’t really give much importance to reviews and will go to watch at least for the “paisa wasool” factor.

    Just watched “Sing is Kinng” and I just loved it. The three hours that we spend in a movie hall wherein you do not want to think about anything else. Watching a meaningful and artistic cinema always doesn’t make sense either. Just don’t think about logic etc, and crash !

    Rajeev Masand is a weird reviewer. He didn’t like “Welcome” and “Sing is Kinng”, but I liked both.

    Once you are able to identify yourself with some of the characters and events in the movie then you tend to like it even more.

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  11. “Perhaps only an Ugly can love a Pagli. ”

    This line has now put this movie on my do-watch list… M gonna do that soon :)

    Thanks for the review :-)

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