Film: Ugly Aur Pagli
Director: Sachin Khot
Producer: Pritish Nandy, Rangita Pritish Nandy
Banner: Pritish Nandy Communications
Cinematography: Somak Mukherjee
Editor: Hemal Kothari
Music Director: Anu Malik
Cast: Mallika Sherawat, Ranvir Shorey, Tinu Anand, Sushmita Mukherjee, Vihang Nayak, Bharti Achrekar, Payal Rohatgi, Sapna Bhavnani
Special Appearance: Zeenat Aman
Unusual pairings work. Mallika Sherawat goes all out and proves this a second time round. However, PNC’s Ugly and Pagli, directed by Sachin Khot, doesn’t work for this ‘casting coup’ alone. A well-made film always works because it is well-made and Ugly aur Pagli is quite so.
Ugly aur Pagli is a romantic comedy, one that not only brings laughs but also smiles. It is the story of a girl and boy, one having had lost everything in love and one waiting for love to happen at every corner. It is destined that the twain shall meet and so they do. They become thick, leading to a number of hilarious episodes and the eventual falling in love. But love is no laughing matter.
This is the key to the film’s success in translating itself; that the presence of love in a comic film is not trivialised. But it is not dramatised for mere effect as well. The director handles love with the same alacrity, balance and sensitivity as he does the lighter moments. Love, as the central theme is all-pervasive and it gets a juicy treatment in its various shades of anticipation, joy, pain, enthusiasm, longing, frustration, holding on and letting go. At the same time it does not overbear itself onto the comic theme or audience’s emotions.
The exactly same maybe said about the comedy. It gets a wider berth than the romantic angle and falls in between gagsy, cheeky and screwball. Sachin employs a lot of situational comedy and real-life humour that keeps the nerve of the film steady. He manages to concoct, in idea and execution, unconventional situations that stay just this side of over-the-top. He avoids a major pitfall of comic directors which is repetition. After the first and second sequence of the girl-boy meeting, the film swiftly does away with any recurring situations, funny lines or expressions. Except for the slaps of course. Having said that the film has a leit motif of Pagli setting impossible tasks for Ugly to do but that is in accordance with their character graphs, story- progression and the whole premise of the film as is revealed later.
Ugly Aur PAgli is immensely helped by the lead pair Ranvir Shorey and Mallika Sherawat. Both display a lovely chemistry that has the audience rooting for them instantly. Ranvir is used to playing the loser but he injects his character with a sweetness that makes him endearing and a spine that is heartening. No longer do heroes need to have drop-dead looks, six packs or even a head full of hair!
Mallika Sherawat sheds her sexy-girl image completely and morphs herself believably into the role of a dominating and headstrong college-girl with her little heart lost. She exhibits a nice control over comic and emotional scenes pointing distinctly to the fact that a balance has been consciously struck to not make her character too loud or dramatic.
The film has the gorgeous yester-year enchantress Zeenat Aman doing a cameo. And although her presence is as charming as ever, the length of the role does not warrant an actress of her stature. She does add the surprise element that her character is meant to attract and hence her few minutes on-screen are justified to that extent.
The movie is not without its gaps. Continuity errors, screenplay holes and convenient glossing over is rampant throughout the film. Songs appear out of nowhere and jar in their sensibility and execution. But all these do not affect the overall flavour of the experience. This is admirable achievement for a film as unambitious as this.
It is not an energetic film nor a lazy one. Though a few scenes do take their own time in unravelling, it is well-worth the wait. The film eggs you to hope for continued delight at every turn it takes and more often than not, it delivers.