Anurag Kashyap’s “Ugly” Front and Center At The New York Indian Film Festival

Aseem Chhabra, Rahul Bhatt and Anurag Kashyap

Article By Ismary Munet
Photos credit Namisha Raj

This year’s New York Indian Film Festival celebrated its flagship event and opening night gala benefit celebrations on Monday May 5 at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts in the Village.

Aroon Shivdasani

“It’s really a landmark year,” Aroon Shivdasani, Executive Director of the Indo-American Arts Council, said talking about the film festival’s 14th year. For the festival, its main attraction was the screening of Indian film director, producer and screenwriter Anurag Kashyap’s “Ugly,” which has not been seen in India yet and the director was said to receive standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival last year for his film “Gangs of Wasseypur”.

The Hindi film opened up with heavy metal background music setting the mood for the rest of the film as it opens with a woman attempting to commit suicide. The twists and turns of events that take place afterwards demonstrate how truly dark the characters are; Shalini, a desperate middle-class wife and mother, Rahul, an aspiring actor of a father, Chaitanya, his friend and agent, Bose, a police chief with a grudge, some police officers who lack focus, and 10-year-old Kali who goes missing, but gets marginalized in the film.

In the midst of the violence and anger, Kashyap still manages to display how he creatively slips in wit and humor into some of the scenes. As the film continues, we remember that Kali needs to be found, and tend to get frustrated with the characters.

The search for Kali reveals the true intentions and motivations that each character has, and their actions display their self interests. The film also focuses on the importance that people give to technology as countless scenes feature iPhones, computers, and talk of how to operate the latest forms of technology, which also gets intertwined with the focus on obtaining and having money.

Kashyap demonstrates how in desperate situations people are pushed to extremes, but also manages to capture how people tend to be so selfish that it takes on a form of evil, which is truly ugly.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Cast- Rahul Bhat, Abir Goswami, Sandesh Jhadev, Siddhant Kapoor

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