Director: Sachin Kamlakar Khot
Cast: Ranvir Shorey, Mallika Sherawat
Storyline: Loser boy meets drunk babe and share an unusual master-slave relationship where she wears the pants and he wears the petticoat, literally.
Bottomline: My Sassy Girl becomes My Psycho Girl
It may not be too inaccurate to say that even a donkey could have made a better film than Sachin Kamlakar Khot out of the Korean director Kwak Jae-yong’s ‘My Sassy Girl’. All the donkey would’ve had to do was stand beside the camera and let the cinematographer and cast replicate the original film frame by frame.
Clearly, the idea here isn’t to make an original film and the only good thing about Ugly aur Pagli, apart from a fantastic Ranvir Shorey who tries to improvise a little, is that the makers have an acknowledgement right at the beginning – that it is adapted from the original ‘My Sassy Girl’.
Thank you guys, for recommending the original, without which we may have actually thought you had a couple of bright ideas there in a largely bad film. Thank you for making us watch ‘My Sassy Girl’. The original is a beautiful bittersweet love story, incredibly funny and poignant at the same time with the characters enchanting us with their vulnerability and innocence.
Here all of that and the subtle touches that made ‘My Sassy Girl’ a solid film even in spite of its 137-minute length have been conveniently ignored and omitted to accommodate the song and dance sequences for a shorter film that feels longer than the original.
Even if we were to assume Ranvir and Mallika look young enough to pass off as college kids, there’s plenty that makes ‘Ugly aur Pagli’ difficult to digest.
Sachin Khot translates ‘My Sassy Girl’ to an extremely annoying, unreasonably illogical My-Psychotic-Girl or Pagli, as she’s referred to in the film.
Every sub-plot and every single gag in the original is directly related to the larger picture. For instance, it is the fact that she’s living in the past that makes her want him to wear a school uniform on her birthday in the original.
Here, Mallika wants Ranvir to wear a petticoat and ride a cycle without a seat just to make the scene funny (and it is remotely fun only because Ranvir is a brilliant performer who can make breathe realism into the most implausible situations).
This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes you realise that the makers (the filmmaker and the writers credited with story, screenplay and additional dialogues for this scam) simply just didn’t get the point of the film they were remaking.
Sachin is so desperate to make you laugh that he makes characters wear T-shirts directly related to the joke that’s about to happen. Like, when Ranvir wears a T-shirt that says ‘You will get wet at this ride,’ just before Mallika pushes him into a swimming pool. Or when she’s drunk and talking, Ranvir’s wearing a T-shirt that says: “Keep talking. I like drunk bitches”. Similarly, her drunk father is made to wear a T-shirt with a beer joke. We’re only the glad the film didn’t have extras wearing a T-shirt that said: “This film is funny.”
The master-slave dynamics aren’t what made the original film endearing (though it did give the film an interesting equation for comedy), it was the innocence of two contrastingly different young people living in two different time-zones (the future he wants to have with her and the past she wants to hold on to) that makes the Korean film an instant classic that everybody could relate to. You can’t help but hold back your tears when you are watching the original.
Ugly aur Pagli will make you cry for different reasons. One, it is a rape of good cinema. And two, it tries so hard to make you laugh.