Grazing Goat Pictures’ Fugly (UA) is the story of four friends whose lives turn upside down when their encounter with a police officer goes terribly wrong.
Dev (Mohit Marwah), Devi (Kiara Advani), Gaurav (Vijender Singh) and Aditya (Arfi Lamba) are four fast friends who are happy in their respective spaces. One day, a shopkeeper, Nunu Agarwal (Pravin Singh Sisodiya), touches Devi inappropriately, which infuriates her and her three male friends. The foursome goes back to the shop and picks up Nunu, ties him up and locks him up in the boot of the car. Even while they are travelling in the car, the friends are intercepted by police officer Chautala (Jimmy Shergill). Being youngsters, the four of them don’t realise the implications of speaking disrespectfully to the police officer. Gaurav even throws his weight around as he hails from a political family but Chautala is so agitated that he vows to teach the four the lesson of their lifetime. He shoots dead Nunu Agarwal and threatens to frame them in the murder case unless they agreed to give him lakhs of rupees as bribe.
The four friends panic and ask Chautala for some time. They start tapping their sources which, obviously, are not enough to pay the huge amount. After paying Chautala part of the money demanded, they ask him for some more time during which they approach the organiser of a rave party as they feel, they’d be able to make lakhs of rupees in one night by organising such a party. Since they all hail from decent families, they are not happy doing this but they need to come out of the mess they’ve landed themselves in.
The police raid the rave party and so, the plan of the four friends goes awry. Chautala now has Devi picked up because he hasn’t got the bribe money he had demanded. He blackmails the three friends to commit a murder if they want Devi’s freedom. Dev and Gaurav agree to kill the man Chautala wants murdered even as Aditya sets out in search of Devi. Before Dev and Gaurav can commit the crime, Aditya learns about Devi’s whereabouts. Dev saves Devi but, of course, the problems of the four friends are far from over. Here, Gaurav’s family learns of the mess he and his friends have gotten into, which threatens to jeopardise the political careers of the family members.
Driven to despair, Dev now takes an extreme step which, according to him, is the only step to address the issue of atrocities against women in the country. For this, he enlists the support of television reporter Sakshi (Vidushi Mehra).
What is that extreme step which Dev takes? Is he able to achieve his purpose? Is Chautala exposed or does the corrupt police inspector escape unscathed? Do the friends have to pay him the balance amount of the bribe to put an end to their miseries?
Rahul Handa’s story tries to pack in too much but a lot of it doesn’t appear genuine if only because the four friends, all educated and city-bred, are shown to be acting recklessly and stupidly. Why none of them seeks the support of elders, especially since they had not murdered Nunu Agarwal in the first place, is not clear. Common sense would say that Gaurav would enlist his family’s support, never mind even if the family is passing through turbulent times, politically speaking. Sanjay Kumar has written a screenplay in which the four friends move from one blunder to another with such senselessness that the audience fails to sympathise with them. In fact, a stage comes when the viewer actually begins to feel that the friends deserve to get into the mess they have gotten into because of their absolute immaturity. In other words, the four friends, who are the heroes of the drama, do not win audience sympathy, which is, perhaps, the biggest drawback of the script. Also, the extreme step which Dev takes, fails to evoke the sympathy and emotion it is meant to evoke, for two reasons – one, it looks like too big a step for the drama which began with the shopkeeper touching Devi inappropriately; secondly, the starting point (Devi’s molestation) gets lost somewhere in the drama as it progresses and what remains in the audience’s mind is the high-handedness of corrupt police officers and the nexus between corrupt politicians and equally corrupt police so that again, the extreme step of Dev looks unwarranted. Consequently, the impact of the climax is not what it should’ve been. The climax ought to have shaken the audiences and/or moved them to tears but nothing of that sort happens.
Although not an inherent flaw, there is another thing which could irritate a section of the youth audience: the film has been promoted as a fun, happy and youthful drama – and this, right from the young feel of the title, in slang English, to the songs to the trailers etc. – but what the film actually is is a very serious issue-based drama. Also, the non-inclusion of the title song, picturised on Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar, in the film will agitate the audience, especially because it has been well-appreciated in trailers seen on television and the Internet. Dialogues, by Kabir Sadanand and Rajveer Ahuja, are ordinary.
Mohit Marwah makes an average debut. His expressions don’t change with the requirements of the scene. He will have to work hard on his expressions, body language and dubbing if he is to create a noteworthy impression. Kiara Advani is impressive in her maiden attempt. She looks nice, acts well and has a very expressive voice too. Vijender Singh is dull in his debut role. His Haryanvi accent and pronunciations are an ear-sore. Arfi Lamba is earnest and does an effective job, giving the right expressions at the right time. Jimmy Shergill acts ably but both, his role and his performance, are predictable and a bit monotonous, too. Mansha Bahl makes a mark in the role of Dr. Payal. Vidushi Mehra is reasonably good as television reporter Sakshi. Khan Jahangir Khan does a fair job as Rajbeer. Anshuman Jha (as Bhura Chini), Dharmesh (as Ramlal), Kunicka Lal Sadanand (as Devi’s mother), Pravin Singh Sisodia (as shopkeeper Nunu Agarwal) and Rajveer Ahuja (as Chautala’s assistant, Imple) lend reasonable support. Ankushi Kumar (as Aditya’s niece), Aradhya Kapoor (as Sabrina), Girish Pal (as the male who sells his body for sex), Karim Haji (as Aditya’s father), Sophie (as Nora Fathi), Naveen Kumar (as the constable at the police station), Prabhat Kumar Pandey (as Sakshi’s cameraman), Sana Saeed (as Lovely Jindwali), Sanjay Mishra (as the gun supplier), Saumya Mishra (as Manju), Seema Sharma (as Chhaya), Sparsh Sharma (as Koki), Suminder Kandhari (as Tau), Vijay Kaushik (as Hariram) and the others provide ordinary support.
Kabir Sadanand’s direction is fair but the entertainment quotient in the film is very little. Music (Yo Yo Honey Singh, Prashant Vadhyar and Raftaar) is appealing. The title track (by Yo Yo Honey Singh), ‘Dhup chik’ (by Raftaar), ‘Dhuaan’ (by Prashant Vadhyar) and ‘Banjaarein’ (by Yo Yo Honey Singh) are the more appealing songs. Lyrics (by Yo Yo Honey Singh, Raftaar, Arshia Nahid, Niren Bhatt, Rajveer Ahuja and Sumit Arora) are alright. Jayesh Pradhan and Mudassar Khan’s choreography is nothing to shout about. Alok Punjani’s background music is alright. Milind Jog’s camerawork is nice. Bhiku Verma’s action scenes are routine. Vintee Bansal’s production designing is fair. Shounak Ghosh’s editing is average.
On the whole, Fugly is a disappointing and an ordinary fare with very little entertainment value. It has some chance in the big cities only because of the youthful appeal of its title and music. Its low budget is its biggest plus point.