A ten year old goes missing from her father’s car. But when the father and his best friend go to the police station to ask for help, the cops are far more interested in learning how to load their own pictures on to a cell phone than the urgency of locating the missing girl. With this early scene you find yourself uncomfortably shifting in your seat as writer-director Kashyap begins to the build the tension around this missing child.
As each character is introduced and begins to sniff out an opportunity, the viewer is confused whom to trust. You are never quite sure who is the good guy and who is innocent. The only thing you are sure of is that the child, Kali, is the victim.
Each player in this game gets inextricably enmeshed in the dirty web, at the centre of which you hope is the release of that hapless child.
The key players are the father – a graying wannabe actor still struggling for a big break (Rahul Bhatt), a slippery retro styled casting agent (Vineet Kumar Singh), a substance-abusing disheartened housewife (Tejaswini Kolhapure), a cop with anger management issues (Rohit Roy), a hopeless brother (Siddhant Kapoor), a starlet and confidant (Surveen Chawla) and a frustrating cop (Girish Kulkarni).
The search for a missing child becomes a selfish, murky and confusing world of greed and self-loathing, of loveless lives, unrealized dreams, unfulfilled promises, of betrayal and indifference. These characters fester with their selfishness in the claustrophobic dirtiness of it all. And what of the child?
This dark world without much joy is writer-director Anurag Kashyap’s playground and though one may gripe about the shallow modus operandi and the stylistic distractions (like the music used), one cannot devalue the disquieting impact of Ugly.