Ungli (2014)

Meet The Finger Gang. What do they do? They give the finger to corruption, that’s what.

It all starts with a man cheated out of his pension. The gang – first a foursome – come together to deliver a bit of rough justice to the culprits, through the ingenious combination of bomb spoof and media storm. And so larks and getting on telly become the gang’s fingerprint (see what I did there?).

Kangana Ranaut is among the fearsome foursome, and it was nice to see her for the approximately 4 minutes of speaking time she got. Then there are Neil Bhoopalam and Angad Bedi, or, as I thought of them during the film, that guy and that other guy. Though it was a shame to see Ms Ranaut woefully underplayed, Randeep Hooda was a stand-out as sometime crime journalist, sometime criminal Abhay. He has a gravitas that demands attention (and – are you listening, directors? – hefty leading man roles).

While Randeep worked the screen presence like a pro, Emraan Hashmi (ostensibly) leading as Nikhil, pootled around looking like a little guy with a goatee. OK, Emraan Hashmi is a little guy with a goatee – but there wasn’t much else going on and ‘Dance Basanti‘ was a particularly rubbish entrant in the corpus of ‘woman gyrates to autotune’ numbers.

It’s what he’s known for.

Ah, but I’ve missed the big Emraan Hashmi moment. It happens about 12 minutes in. Having found a requisite lovely lady, he goes to kiss her with the line “It’s what I’m known for.” Oh-ho, chortled myself and the other 7 people watching a Hindi film on cheap-ticket-Tuesday. It was pretty much the most comedy gold line in the entire film. $13 and a packet of M&Ms, Hoyts extorted me for that Bollywood in-joke.

Emraan’s Nikhil joins the gang. But! Unbeknownst to them he’s actually an undercover police officer, working for Sanjay Dutt’s Kale. The Dutt-ster (is he ever actually in jail?) plays Kale superbly: tired and drooping into miserablism as a result of his own impeccable honesty. He’s like Singham: the near-retirement years.

It all gets tricky when Nikhil decides he actually agrees with the gang’s vigilante antics. And it all gets righteous when Kale faces up to corruption in the ranks. The film ends with Kale – as played by one of India’s most famous convicted criminals – becoming Chief Commissioner of Police. It’s the finger to something.