If positive intent were enough to help a youth-centric movie pass muster, then Fugly could, at a stretch, be regarded as passably decent two-and-a-quarter hours of entertainment.
But marred by pedestrian and confused execution, the film makes more noise than sense.
It is not as if the members of the cast seek to pass off raving and ranting as acting. It is the ear-splitting background score that gets one?s goat.
The makers of Fugly obviously do not believe that silence can be an option in a film about boisterous youngsters desperate to change the world.
Into every second of the overwrought soundtrack, they have crammed raucous musical accompaniment designed to pump up the drama and knock the viewer off his/her seat.
As for the songs, the less said the better. Bunged in without rhyme or reason, they blare away to glory, serving no apparent purpose and signifying nothing but lack of temperance.
Trumpets, cymbals, drums, breathless chants and other sources of cacophony are given full rein as the film?s young protagonists ?fight? all that is ?ugly? in the wild, wild metropolis of Delhi.
Like many a Bollywood flick that has gone before, Fugly is about a quartet of well-meaning pals presumably fresh from college and in quest of a meaningful future.
One of them is the strong and brooding type (Mohit Marwah) who runs adventure camps for foreign tourists in Leh.
Another is an aspiring boxer (Vijender Singh) who throws his weight around because his dad is a minister.
And a third guy is a cautious and cussed bloke (Arfi Lamba) who never fails to do the wrong thing at the wrong time.
The only girl in this gang of four is the daughter (Kiara Advani) of a soldier-dad who died fighting terrorists.
In a scene early on in the film, the friends sit by a mountain river on a moonlit night, discussing what life has in store for them.
The girl tells the guy she loves: ?Imagination naam ki cheez hoti hai, use it (There is something called imagination, use it).?
Not a chance in hell. That sage piece of advice falls on deaf ears ? both the flimsy film and the daft characters plummet headlong into the pits over the next two hours.
The characters are poorly etched, the screenplay is insipid, and the performances, to say the least, are well below par.
The lives of the happy-go-lucky group are thrown into a tailspin when they bump into a slimy policeman (Jimmy Sheirgill) who catches them with an abducted man in the boot of their car.
The wannabe boxer tells the cop who his father is, which enrages the latter no end. The rest is pure mayhem.
For effect, actor-turned-director Kabir Sadanand peoples the plot with virtually every kind of cretin that hounds Delhi ? lecherous men, rampaging cops, corrupt politicians, human traffickers and drug and hooch pushers who host sleazy parties for the rich and powerful.
The film opens with a long sequence in which one of the boys immolates himself in front of India Gate in order to draw the attention of the people of his city to the horrors of being a resident of Delhi.
He ends up in hospital with burns that look more like little pockmarks. The media pounces upon the incident and beams the boy?s story into every home.
Several flashbacks later, the audience learns the reasons why the hero was compelled to take the drastic step of committing hara-kiri in full public view.
One of the flashpoints occurs when a shopkeeper makes an unseemly grab for the heroine.
The act sets off a chain of events that leads to the boys sinking deeper and deeper into trouble.
For all its pious posturing on the safety of women, Fugly has no qualms about treating the lead actress merely as eye candy.
The film also delivers an inevitable item number in which the dancer, needless to say, is only a sex object.
As the villain in uniform, Jimmy Sheirgill is neither menacing nor convincing. The fault isn?t entirely his ? the role is just too badly written.
Can boxing champ Vijender Singh act? To be charitable, he gives the assignment his best shot, but he is unlikely to win any medals for the effort. His punches are anything but killer blows.
Mohit Marwah, in the guise of the angry young man, shows occasional flashes of promise.
But saddled with a role that literally yokes him to a hospital bed, there isn?t much he can do to rise above the mess.
Kiara Advani does a fair job of looking pretty. She also gets some of the better lines to spout.
Let?s stop being stupid, she intones at a point of the film when things threaten to turn really corny.
Fugly simply can?t help it.