UT69 Movie Review: Shilpa Shetty's husband Raj Kundra's debut fails to connect owing to his extreme humanizing
UT69 is based on the real-life experiences of Shilpa Shetty's husband Raj Kundra when he was arrested for an alleged pornography case in July 2021. The movie revolves around his rollercoaster ride of a journey in prison.
- Shahnawaz Ali
- Raj Kundra,
- Kumar Saurabh,
- Gaurav Mishra,
- Anand Alkunte,
- Sadanand Patil
- real-life incident/dark comedy/drama
Shilpa Shetty's husband Raj Kundra's arrest in an alleged pornography case was inevitably one of the most sensational news of Tinsel Town in the year 2021. Being arrested in July 2021, Kundra was granted bail in September 2021 from Arthur Road Jail. UT69 which is helmed by Shahnawaz Ali attempts to narrate his experience during those 63 days that he spent inside the jail. However, while the movie does have its realistic aspects, it fails to strike a chord with the protagonist because of an attempt to excessively humanize the character.
The movie begins with the news channels flashing about Raj Kundra's arrest. He is taken to the Arthur Road Jail and spends a harrowing 3-4 days in the quarantine cell with the hopes that his bail will be granted soon. But to his horror, he is locked up in Cell No 6 with innumerable other prisoners and given UT No 69. Kundra has to spend his prison term amidst deplorable jail conditions and meagre ray of hope. However, he soon finds himself warming up to his fellow inmates and learning several life lessons inevitably in the hard way.
UT69 falls flat right when Kundra is attempted to be humanized and pitied. Yes, the movie sheds light on some of the scabby living conditions of the prisoners. How they try to thrive even in the remorseful surroundings but you don't develop the same kind of empathy for the protagonist. You witness Kundra trying to acclimatize himself to the jail, and its inmates, behaving like a man wrongfully accused and having a reawakening of sorts. But clearly, innocence and vulnerability are missing. It rather looks like a rather tongue-in-cheek parody of his case which was rather a serious case.
However, where the movie does get things right is the realism. The personality traits of Kundra's fellow inmates as well as their camaraderie with him looks endearing in a few parts. The prisoners live by the mantra 'Sweet are the uses of adversity' wherein they adjust and thrive amidst pitiable living conditions. The religious diversity and celebration of all the festivals with a tint of togetherness hits a chord. Kundra's performance too shines in some sequences despite a weak screenplay.
The cinematography by Kevin Jason Crasta is top-notch bringing alive the macabre situation of the jail. UT69 is a movie which could've passed off as a short film or an OTT release. Amidst Raj's persona as the 'Mask Man' and other shenanigans, the movie largely just serves the purpose of refining his persona which was certainly not the need of the hour.