Ugly comes from personal guilt

Gangs of Wasseypur director Anurag Kashyap says the guilt of not spending enough time with his daughter and the fear of losing her, inspired the story of his upcoming emotional thriller Ugly.

Ugly is about the kidnapping of a young girl, which unravels the complex interpersonal relationships of various characters in the film.

The 42-year-old filmmaker, who has a daughter from first wife Aarti Bajaj, said the film is a culmination of many personal and real-life experiences and incidents.

“When I started writing it was about me. After my divorce whenever I would meet my daughter she would complain that my work never ended. It triggered off from there.

It started from my own guilt and then I included several real-life incidents like that of an IAS officer whose wife filed a case of brutality against him,” Anurag told PTI during a visit here.

Starring Ronit Roy, Tejaswini Kohlapure and Rahul Bhat, the movie generated positive response at various international film festivals including Cannes where it was screened in the Director’s Fortnight sidebar in 2013. Ugly releases this Friday in 400 screens.

“The purpose of the film is to disturb people. I want them to get affected, especially women. Normally, people get repelled after watching a dark film but parents reach out for their children after watching Ugly. That was the desired impact for me.”

Anurag said that shooting for Ugly was emotionally exhaustive for him and the
entire cast.

“The process was disturbing and emotionally exhaustive for me and all actors. They did not know the script and I took them through such difficult scenes, which emotionally exposed them.

Rahul Bhat cried for an hour and like a greedy filmmaker I shot him though it was a 10-second scene in the movie.

“I wanted to play on everyone guilt. I wanted to make them feel like they were responsible for the kidnapping so when audience watches the film it feels like each character is responsible. The process was very difficult,” Anurag said.

When asked about the cast of the film, the Gulaal director said, “Ronit’s casting was a bit stereotyped as we wanted an intimidating character and Ronit’s personality suits that. Rahul’s role is of a struggling actor.

For this role, I wanted a not-so-familiar face. Rahul understand the pain of struggle and he has seen failure so he was apt for the role.”
The filmmaker’s last Bollywood outing was the successful Gangs of Wasseypur (I and II) in 2012.

When asked why did he direct a small film like Ugly after a big hit, Anurag said, “It was important to break expectations. After a successful outing, I try to do a film that throws off the fans. Otherwise, you get caught up in the expectations of your fans. I don't want to get trapped in that.”

Anurag was to release the film earlier but he filed a petition against the anti-smoking ticker that appears on-screen during a smoking scene.
The director said he will continue to fight the case as he finds the warning ridiculous and
distracting.

“If you feel that smoking is evil, then fight the tobacco industry. You don’t do that and instead you let the filmmakers fight that battle. I am yet to meet a person who has quit smoking because of that warning. People get irritated by that warning. It is
distracting,” said Anurag.

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