The journey of 'Udta Punjab' from its inception to making its way into the cinema halls was a huge battle in itself! The film got entangled into a censor trouble. Eventually the makers had to knock the doors of High Court to save their baby. Just when the verdict arrived in their favour and everyone breathe a sigh of relief came another big shocker in the form of online piracy just two days before its official release!
Amidst all this, is this flick worth all the hype?
Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Diljit Dosanjh, Satish Kaushik
Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Aman Gill, Vikas Bahl, Sameer Nair
Abhishek Chaubey, Sudip Sharma (dialogues)
Performances, Story, Dialogues, Direction
Some may feel the subtle romance simmering between the protagonists post interval hindering the narrative a bit. But Abhishek quickly buckles up the equation and makes sure that we ain't let down.
A film based on the brim reality of substance abuse minus the sugar-coating!
The film opens with a packet of drugs being hurled across the border. In the next few hours we see how this slow poison unleashes mayhem in the lives of the four protagonists in Punjab.
Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor) is a popular rockstar known for his abuse-filled songs and cocaine snorting lifestyle. A brief stint behind the bars makes him realize that he was never the real 'Gabru' that people thought him to be.
Somewhere in the fields when a young Bihari migrant (Alia Bhatt) stumbles upon a huge drug package, she mistakes it as her chance to buy a 'comfort' life. Greed gets better of her and she decides to sell the stolen 'maal' to earn some quick buck. However at the last minute her pricking conscience prevents her from committing the crime. But alas, she gets sucked into the world of flesh trade and drug abuse.
Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) is an assistant sub-police inspector who usually turns blind eye towards the drug trade in the town as he and his seniors receive their 'cut' from the drug-dealers. Until one fine day Sartaj discovers that his little brother Balli too has been frequently injecting this 'death' in his veins. When Balli almost loses his life in a drug overdose, big brother decides that it's high time to clean up the mess wasting the youth.
Enter Dr Preet (Kareena Kapoor Khan). She treats Balli and gets him admitted to her rehabilitation centre. Sartaj decides to uncover the drug racket and asks Preet to aid him in conducting a sting operation only to realize the political nexus masterminding the dance of death.
Will these four characters finally succeed in saying 'Drugs Di Maa Di'?
Shahid Kapoor makes sure that his Tommy Singh isn't just a chiselled body with ragging locks. Mind you, the actor gives no f**k when it comes to giving yet another powerful and crazy act that completely blows out your mind.
For those who thought 'Highway' was a fluke for Alia, here's the perfect answer! She may be all of 23 but her performance in 'Udta Punjab' speaks volume. She is raw and brutally honest. Her screams and angst against her perpetuators leave you with goose bumps. You sympathize with the innocence in her and want to reach out to save her from sinking. Undoubtedly she is the surprise package of the film!
Kareena Kapoor Khan delivers a mature performance that blends well with the story even if it's not a meatier part like Alia.
Diljit Dosanjh makes a commendable Bollywood debut and tackles his role with great finesse.
The rest of the cast including Satish Kaushik have done a good job.
First things first, kudos to Abhishek Chaubey for making people realize that Punjab isn't just about the Bollywood clichés that we have grown up watching in films. Yes, the characters and the story is fictional but the problem of drug abuse is real not just in this state but in other places as well. Doing drugs is considered cool by some sections of the youth but hey wait, no one wants to talk about what happens when they frequently keep on injecting themselves with this new found love for 'high' and 'ecstasy', the suffering of their family and the pain of losing their loved ones. It is extremely brave of the producers to back a film devoid of safe box office bet!
Abhishek comes up with an interesting narrative of running the four lives parallel so that you remain engrossed in the film. He never gets preachy in telling people not to do drugs. Making 'Udta Punjab' even more impactful is Sudip Sharma's explosive dialogues. There may be a lot of swear words but the intention is never to titillate the audience. Further the duo cleverly use the humour device to give you a final product that's both, entertaining as well as socially relevant.
The film boosts of some top notch editing and cinematography. Abhishek refrains from using too many songs and that works in the favour of 'Udta Punjab'. Amit Trivedi's music gives the film a lively feeling.
On the flip side, the love story angle in the film and Shahid's sudden transformation into a kind soul may sound abrupt and deterring to few. The climax might come as a big let-down for some.
Overall, despite few glitches 'Udta Punjab' soars high on the energetic and emotional performances of the lead actors.
Drama+ Humour+ Social Message
We give 'Udta Punjab' 'THUNDEROUS CLAPS'
for every shot of killer performances by the lead actors and Abhishek Chaubey's sincere attempt to tell a brave story!
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