'Ungli' Review: A silly 'Rang De Basanti' wannabe
By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 28 November 2014
Emraan Hashmi, Kangna Ranaut, Randeep Hooda, Sanjay Dutt, Neha Dhupia
Here is the concept of corruption confused with crime and a myriad other issues plaguing our country, served up junk-food style with stale fries on the side. Or you could call it the simplistic and delusional version of Rang De Basanti, inspired as it is by the same theme. This is odd, considering the film is directed by Rensil D?Silva (Kurbaan) who also co-wrote RDB. This one is served with silly characters you just can?t take seriously.
Take the cop for example, working with the bomb squad, who thinks nothing of placing a bomb hoax call to a girl's hostel, so he can meet his girlfriend who lives there. He kisses her as the squad inconveniences everyone, and makes the joke, "Yeh to meri specialty hai.? The last line makes a little more sense considering it?s Emraan Hashmi doing the kissing. The joke might even be funny in a film of another sort, but here, dismissing the character and referring directly to Emraan the actor?s ?specialty? is unforgivable.
Almost each character lies to "patao" his girlfriend, including the leader of the Ungli Gang (Randeep Hooda). The gang, named thus after their logo, that has a picture of a hand showing the middle finger, wears cool balaclavas and goes about trying to correct the ?system?. And this is how the members?Randeep Hooda, Kangna Ranaut, Neil Bhoopalan and Angad Bedi-- do it.
In a country with the worst crimes possible, they feel it is super-important to pick on narcissistic politicians; auto drivers who refuse passengers; traffic constables; and (more significantly) the BMC and RTO guys.
Their idea is pretty cool. To do unto others, what they have done to us. In short, it?s tit for tat. So they make sure the BMC Commissioner?s road is full of potholes on the day of his daughter?s marriage. They tattoo their logo on the poster-obsessed minister?s back, and so on.
Intermittently, you applaud. But you never buy into it, forget emotionally investing. After all, how seriously can you take this young gang roaming around in cool T-shirts, gathering at their adda, and talking about things they clearly don?t understand fully.
They also never convince you of the ?seriousness? of their intent. After all, their idea of retribution is pandu havaldars made to munch cash (they even offer pickle), for their corrupt ways.
In such payback scenes, the background score suddenly (incongruously) changes to a comical mode. But there?s nothing funny going on. This is serious stuff that the makers are trying to pass off as humorous.
Sanjay Dutt with silver hair appears as a senior cop, as does Raza Murad. They seem terribly miscast. Mahesh Manjrekar is the bad guy, the top of the heap in the money chain. But we are to believe this Machiavellian character is so dumb, he gives people access to the room full of his bribe money, stuffed as it is in glass cupboards and lying around on tables.
Dialogue has lines like, ?Body banate banate, rishta ban gaya,? referring to the gang?s bodybuilder friend. The ending gets wrapped up so neatly, it makes netting the nation's most corrupt people look as easy as pie.
The issue the film takes up is pertinent and that needs to be applauded. Even the solution? that of common people breaking the law to teach the corrupt and criminal a lesson? had potential for a rousing story. But where?s the point, if the execution doesn?t convince you of either the path or the people undertaking it. This could have been a highly impactful, immersing film that, despite its intent, falls tragically short.
Rating: Two Stars