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A film that underlines the ugliness of Delhi’s underbelly, but fails to make a cinematic impact
CAST Jimmy Shergill, Vijender Singh, Kiara Advani | DIRECTOR Kabir Sadanand
On an aesthetic level, F*Ugly— ‘fight against the ugly’—does not work too well. It is a Delhi-based movie that reflects a generalised angst towards politicians, molestation of women in the city and corruption in the police force. However, it has a few things going for it. The language used, a fairly crude Haryanvi Hindi, is authentic, as is the portrayal of the lawlessness that pervades certain parts of Delhi. The other asset the film has is a wonderful, strangely under-rated actor in Jimmy Shergill.

Shergill has the kind of persona Scorsese would love. He is a director’s actor, playing character roles with passion and conviction, but never trying to alter the balance of a film in his favour. He plays a terrifying police officer called RS Chautala. Rotten to the core, Chautala manipulates politicians, murders for personal profit and has no scruples when it comes to blackmailing youngsters.

Four friends—a girl and three guys — hang out together in Delhi. One day a leering shopkeeper grabs the girl (Kiara Advani) from behind, has a good feel, and then instantly turns the tables, declaring to all and sundry that she is a trouble-making kind of modern girl. So the friends wait till it is night, lock the molester in the boot of the car and drive out of Delhi, planning to give him a thrashing in the wilderness.

Unfortunately, en route they meet the deadly Chautala—and he just puts a bullet in the shopkeeper’s head and blackmails the four friends. While they are trying to get the money to pay him off, director Kabir Sadanand splits his film into several sub-plots that reveal political skullduggery, transactional sex and corruption that is so in your face, it shocks you. The harder the friends struggle to get hold of the money required to get rid of the deadly cop, the deeper into this cesspool of corruption they sink.

This is not a very good film, but somehow it rings true.