Reviews

Ungli: all poke, no punch

A scene from the movie  

While watching Ungli, I kept imagining writer/director Rensil D’Silva narrating the script to producer Karan Johar. “So, I’ve got these five really cool scenes where corrupt people get caught in interesting ways. We’ll fill everything in between with smart wordplay, talented actors and an item number. Do we have a film?”

Unfortunately, Karan Johar’s response seems to have been in the affirmative. With its incoherent subplots and all its silly dialogues that would embarrass even David Dhawan’s dialogue writer, Ungli becomes a shadow of what it could have been.

It takes some supreme talent to make Emraan Hashmi look cheesier than in his earlier films. Sample this. He calls a ladies’ hostel with a fake bomb threat to get his ex-girlfriend outside, and says, “Kabhi kabhi asli bomb nikaalne ke liye, nakli bomb ko use karna padta hai.” Later when he tells Sanjay Dutt, “Log toh jism ke x-ray lete hain, par apne poora character ka x-ray le liya hai,” there’s little we can do but succumb to this lord of cheese. You know that even the usually reliable Sanjay Dutt, playing the honest cop, is not spared when he explains that mosquitoes don’t bite him because his blood is salty due to the sweat of labour. But it isn’t just the lines; even scenes with much potential are squandered. Take the scene where the four aam aadmis-turned-masked vigilantes are looking for a place to set up their ‘headquarters’. The situation is primed for some great humour, but when the heroes end up drawling about mundane aspects like rent and nearby food joints, you can’t but feel disappointed. With talent powerhouses like Randeep Hooda and Kangana Ranaut at their disposal, perhaps the filmmakers should just have asked the actors to improvise.

Ungli does come with a set of well-earned laughs too. Corruption leading to a blind man being issued a driving license is genuinely funny, and so is the scene in which a Mumbai rickshawallah, who asks for a long trip, gets packed off to Delhi. But these isolated moments of fun don’t quite translate to a hilarious whole, just like how one ungli does not make a fist.

Genre: Comedy

Director: Rensil D’Silva

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Sanjay Dutt, Randeep Hooda, Kangana Ranaut

Storyline: Four citizens come together to fight corruption after the system fails their friend

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 1:36:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/ungli-all-poke-no-punch/article6643870.ece

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