Tag Archives: New York Indian Film Festival

A Kidnapping and Then Unquestionable Greed: Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Ugly’ Reviewed

Movie_Poster_Ugly

According to the official brochure for the New York Indian Film Festival, Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly is “a terrible tale of corruption, indifference and systemic violence [which] starts when the 10-year-old daughter of an aspiring actor disappears.”

Given that description, I didn’t expect to laugh several times during the NYIFF’s opening night screening of the film earlier this month. But as the viewer watches the aftermath of the child’s sudden abduction, there are severely deeply cynical, darkly hilarious scenes that show Anurag Kashyap’s talents in full form.

The film’s central event is the kidnapping of 10-year-old Kali, which occurs on a Saturday when she is in her divorced, shiftless father Rahul’s care. While it appears on the surface that Rahul loves his daughter and wants her to be happy, it’s also clear that he is completely unable to put Kali’s needs before his own, a circumstance that unintentionally contributed to the tragedy. (Kali disappears when Rahul leaves her waiting inside his car while he discusses business with his best friend and casting director Chaitanya, in the hopes of finally getting his big break.)

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Review: A Tragically Brief Marriage Leads to Heartbreaking Choices in ‘Mrs. Scooter’

"Anjali

There are two stars of the first scene of Mrs. Scooter, the sublime and emotionally turbulent new film by Shiladitya Moulik that screened at the New York Indian Film Festival last Friday. The first is the shiny new scooter that’s been recently acquired by Bhushan, a hard-working young clerk. The second is Aashima, Bhushan’s dazzlingly young wife, who happened to come into his life the same day his treasured scooter did.

With his marriage, it seems like things are finally looking up for Bhushan, a man with no family to speak of except for his doting, gossipy landlady Sheila. Viewing these early scenes, a viewer with no knowledge of the film’s plot would be forgiven for thinking that Mrs. Scooter would be about the struggles (yet ultimate triumphs) of India’s growing middle class.

Alas, that’s not what this film about.

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