Udta Punjab isn’t the commercial movie we would have expected after seeing the madness filled trailer. Its Abhishek Chaubey’s sincere attempt to give limelight to the issue of the drug menace that has caused severe damage to the land of five rivers. Even though the film jumbles a little bit in the beginning portions giving more of a documentary feel to the first half, the riveting performances and the striking second half journey of the characters makes Udta Punjab a really well made movie with clarity about its aim.
The film is narrated as the stories of four individuals who get connected at the end; all because of drugs. Tommy Singh is this rock star pop singer who has all the abuses in his songs and he is addicted to all the nasty drugs (Yo Yo!). There is this police officer who takes bribe to close his eyes towards the larger problem and only gets worried when someone he cares becomes a victim. There is a poor Bihari girl who got totally screwed trying to get involved in the business and there is this doctor who is trying to solve the mess in her own ways. Chaubey shows us the journey of these four people and the difficulties they had to face at different phases.
Like I said, it is actually the second half that really engages you in to the narrative. From the fact describing first half, the movie gets more of a structure in the second half. The whole buildup surrounding that Ikk Kudi song really touched me. Before the release I thought that song would be more like a bonus track as Diljith Dosanjh is there but that song ended up echoing in my mind as I left the cinema hall. The controversy had forced me to see many documentaries made on this topic and Abhishek Chaubey and his team has included all those elements in to the screenplay to create a well connected story with solid characters.
If I have to rank the performers, rank 1 would be definitely Alia Bhatt. It was such a terrific portrayal of that Bihari girl who had to undergo all the inhuman tortures but still put up a fight. Shahid Kapoor also deserves a round of applause for performing the role of Tommy Singh who was struggling from many conflicts. It was a character that would have become too comical, but Shahid yet again proved that he is much more than looks and moves. Diljith Dosanjh adds earnestness to the character he plays. Kareena Kapoor also delivers a good performance as the doctor. Rest of the cast was also impressive.
Abhishek Chaubey has decided not to add any sort of excessive commercial elements to the story to deviate it from its focus. The realism was maintained in visualizing the idea. The screenplay skillfully allocates space for each character to establish their space in the story. The humorous quirks which we have seen in Chaubey’s Ishqiya series were present here as well, but it never really diverge the movie to a totally commercial zone. Cinematography from Rajeev Ravi was impressive. Amit Trivedi’s songs are already in the hit chart and as I mentioned above, the chances of you playing Ikk Kudi after finishing the movie is high.
So to sum it up, I would say Udta Punjab is a must watch for many reasons. It sheds light on a real issue with less fakeness and plus you get to see a spectacular Alia Bhatt and an equally good Shahid Kapoor delivering top notch performances.
Rating : 4/5
Udta Punjab sheds light on a real issue with less fakeness and plus you get to see a spectacular Alia Bhatt and an equally good Shahid Kapoor delivering top notch performances.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended