Ungli Review: Thumbs Down For Ungli

Review-UngliThe film begins with a scene that sets the notes and mood for the following two hours – a pensioner unable to get his money out of a government office suffers a stroke from the stress and humiliation of being asked for a bribe. We have seen this same scene in innumerable films, not least as a theme in the Munnabhai films.

In writer-director Rensil D’Silva’s Ungli, a group of vigilantes run amok taking the law into their own hands and bringing the corrupt to their knees. The fact that they repeatedly get away with it is just one of the sweeping liberties taken by this punctured script. The modus operandi of the Ungli gang is so weak even they seem to have forgotten why they got together in the first place.

Randeep Hooda, Kangana Ranaut, Neil Bhoopalam and Angad Bedi play the members of this do-gooder gang that met in a cross-fit class and seem to have bonded over protein shakes! A late addition is Emraan Hashmi as Nikhil, a disinterested cop sent by his senior officer (Sanjay Dutt) to infiltrate the gang. Nikhil switches loyalty as soon as he hears the gang’s sob story and sees one girl smile coyly at him. The end is a neat and convenient resolution – there are no quandaries, no ethical dilemmas. The message is: forget candlelight vigils; break the law to fix the law instead.

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To be fair, some of the stunts the gang conjures up are quite funny as they follow their doctrine of “system ko ungli dikhate hain” (Show a finger to the system). The cinematography and editing are also notable. But this is where the positives end. The Hindi dialogues seem to be translated directly from English and are dull. Also the actors often appear as if, without any directions, they are just improvising which they might have been able to pull off if they were seasoned performers. Even reliable actors like Hooda, Hashmi and Ranaut are stifled by hackneyed writing and direction.

The script is so preachy and simplifies social issues to such a base level that you wonder if this is really the work of the same writer behind the complex Rang De Basanti.

Rating: **

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Udita Jhunjhunwala

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