Ungli Movie Review
Directed by Rensil D’Silva, the man who penned the script of Rang De Basanti, it would not be wrong to say that looking at it objectively, Ungli is almost a shoddy remake of this 2006 film. The movie, like Ungli has a group of young men and one woman turning into vigilantes by a twist of fate that stems from the loss of a friend. Their aim is to clean up the system of people who are evil, corrupt and morally bankrupt. For this, they have to turn rogue and do some things that are not strictly legal.
The same thing seems to happen in Ungli. Four strangers who are brought together by a gym membership form the gang Ungli when they witness their friend and gym trainer, Ricky (Arunoday Singh) trying to be a good Samaritan and instead getting punched up by the son of a powerful politician on Mumbai’s Carter Road. To avenge this tragedy, his sister Maya and three clients decide they’re going to clean up the city. The movie has an ensemble cast of Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda, Kangana Ranaut, Sanjay Dutt, Neil Bhoopalam and Angad Bedi.
While Abhay (Randeep Hooda) is a charismatic crime reporter with Aaj Tak and eventually becomes their leader and main spokesperson through the film, Goti (Neil Bhoopalam) is a computer engineer, Maya (Kangana Ranaut) is a medical intern and Kalim (Angad Bedi) is a mechanic. Together they form the group, who wear masks and for a lack of a better word, perform practical pranks on the morally corrupt.
The opening scene of the movie shows an old man, who is pleading for his pension to some government clerks. The clerks are unsympathetic and instead choose to mock him. The news of this occurrence reaches gang Ungli and it becomes their first assignment in the grand scheme of things to right what’s wrong. They kidnap the greedy clerks, make them run on the field and shoot a video of everything. They then send this video to all the news channels. This way, overnight the gang goes from being a bunch of nobodies to gang Ungli, who becomes widely popular and almost reaches a cult status as they punish other wrong-doers. Their creative and sometimes rather over-the-top punishments are doled out to everyone Right from a corrupt government officer to an overcharging auto rickshaw driver; from a bribe-taking traffic constable to a selfish politician. Apart from shooting humiliating videos, the gang forcefully tattoos a bad guy, force corrupt babus to eat money and send an auto driver halfway across the country on a train with his auto. The message is that if people are corrupt, this is what will happen to them.
Since the gang reaches almost a cult-like status, the politicians are worried and put pressure on the police to catch the gang and in an ironic character selection process, Sanjay Dutt plays ACP Kale, an upright and no-nonsense police officer. In order to crack the case, he takes the help of Nikhil played by Emraan Hashmi a notorious suspended inspector. In return, Kale offers him back his job. Nikhil manages to find the gang and infiltrate them. Unfortunately for Kale, Nikhil’s philosophy of life is closer to the Ungli gang than it is of a police officer, and Nikhil is caught between getting his job and respect as a police officer back and helping the noble cause of Ungli. As the four vigilantes tell him more about their motives and plans of action, Nikhil becomes more and more torn about what path he should take. He is wild and reckless, going so far as to call the police citing a bomb in the girl’s hostel where his girlfriend lives only so that he can make out with her.
In Bollywood, it is rare for a film to be bad because its short, but if so, Ungli falls into this small category. We ask: why have such a high octane cast if you aren’t giving them enough screen space? Running for a mere 117 minutes, the film doesn’t allow all its stars to shine. We are talking about the women in the film. Kangana Ranaut is present for only around five to ten minutes and Neha Dhupia, who plays Hooda’s love interest is also hardly present except for posing as a pretty prop. They might as well have done the item number with Shraddha Kapoor and left it to that!
The film is filled to the brim with loopholes, unbelievable convenient outcomes and bad execution. A predictable and quite boring plot; there is a need for suspense and originality. The gang members take everything from the kidnapping to the robbery quite casually, and by this time, the audience has lost interest and is only waiting for the film to get over so they can go home. In short, no one is holding their breath and crossing their fingers for gang Ungli.
Randeep Hooda performs well in his role as a crime reporter and his deep voice can charm anyone. Emraan Hashmi is good in his role as a cocky and street-smart law enforcer. Neil Bhoopalam is okay, but it seemed a bit like Angad Bedi was forced to mug up and spit out a manual on corruption in India, so dry were his lines.
Though their sentiments seem noble at first, what Ungli actually is a couple of guys and one insubstantial girl performing actions not to bring justice or create social change, but to get high on that adrenaline rush. Like the film, the gang only is interested in the thrill rather than achieving something real and serving society.
Where the film really left an impact is in the portrayal of the friendship between Abhay and Nikhil, which is especially important because Nikhil was chosen to betray the group. Through some funny dialogues that will make you cringe and some sappy ones that will have you laughing out loud, there are some actually enjoyable bromance scenes in this film, though it is overshadowed by all that is lacking in Ungli.
After Rensil D’Silva‘s flop Kurbaan in 2009, we wonder what the future of Ungli is in the box office.