Bollywood review: 'Ungli' falls short of expectation

A poster of the Bollywood film 'Ungli'. (Supplied)

Bollywood has suddenly taken a fancy for social crusaders, with a costume or without. The men (and sometimes women) fight a system flawed by conniving, corrupt minds and urge us to applaud.

While some fights are idealistic, most are exaggerated and rarely worthy of  mention.

This one gets close to winning us over but slips down the ranks for puncturing its storyline with innumerable loopholes.

‘Ungli’ is a good effort, judging purely by the mediocrity we’ve been dished out in the name of cinema of late, but that doesn’t make this effort great.

It sets out impressively at first, but soon loses the plot, with slows down with songs of bromance, romance and what not. When will Bollywood mute out music from non-musical narratives?

Also, it’s tough to ignore how influenced director Renzil D’Silva has been by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s incredibly hard-hitting ‘Rang De Basanti', which he co-wrote. So, clearly Renzil is unable to shake off the work he had earlier worked on.

He borrows scenes, conflicts and sentiments from Mehra’s movie, and passes it off as his own. Even the gender break-up of the gang is lifted, with the big five allowed a single pretty face, who isn’t allowed much influence. While Soha disappeared during the crucial moments of struggle and redemption in ‘RDB’, ‘Ungli’ reduces talented Kangana Ranaut to a head full of curls. And that’s a shame.

That’s not all. The reason why the gang sets out to do what they do, is to fight against the injustice meted out to a wounded friend. Surprisingly, the gang forgets to keep score until the very end.

The few originals Renzil probably penned doesn’t do much to redeem his movie from crumbling.

‘Ungli’s gang of four do normal day-jobs, but put on their black suits and masks to fight social causes by night. Whether it’s greedy government clerks, or shady traffic inspectors, or disrespectful autorickshaw riders, they spare no one. The punishments, each more bizarre than the other, are then videotaped, and circulated among the cops and media for a public sentence.

Called ‘Ungli’ the gang grows by one after their notorious acts turn them into 'heroes'. The newcomer is subjected to a lazy background check, one that’s possibly the most lazily written development.

The gang continues to spring surprises on unsuspecting dishonourable men, while the policemen and journalists scramble for clues on their identity.

The tables turn when the men in uniform suddenly awaken to the prospect of corruption within their own system.

Emraan Hashmi flashes his ‘serial kisser’ reel image, and randomly kisses a girl to sign off a broken relationship. And, when he’s not fighting to fit in, he’s dancing the night away with item girls. It’s a part that deserves no emoting, so Emraan sleepwalks unharmed.

There’s Kangana who shares his indifference. Surely being handed the sole purpose of injecting criminals with sleep-inducing serums doesn’t require much effort on her part. She voluntarily steps back to let Angad Bedi and Neil Bhoopalam hog more prominence as they flex their biceps, and occasionally their facial muscles.

But, it’s Randeep Hooda who appears a little more earnest than the rest. Unfortunately, he’s unable to shake off the impact of a sketchy screenplay. He’s left to do much of the hard work, and he doesn’t disappoint. Neha Dhupia is the other genuine act. Sadly, Sanjay Dutt is hit miserably as the jaded cop.

Despite his good intentions, Renzil is incapable of turning his men into heroes.

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