After all those tussles with the Censor Board, Udta Punjab finally gets released, thanks to the timely judiciary intervention and passing a verdict that was a long standing demand of film makers as well as film loving public. Well, what should I say, for all the off-screen controversies the film created, it more than compensate with a hard hitting, serious and intense portrayal of the narcotic mafia, clearly it is more than a worth a watch film. Some outstanding performances and a sharp screenplay along with Abhishek Chaubey’s able execution takes Udta Punjab to another level of movie watching.
Its the story of Punjab, not the one we are familiar with. Known as the land of five rivers and more famous for the bhangras, Kabaddi, wrestling and also a place ideal for cultivation of wheat, Udta Punjab the film show us a different Punjab altogether where the youth is heavily influenced by drugs. The State now is in the hands of the drug cartel that has blossomed through the unholy alliance with the politicians and situation is compared to what it is prevailing in countries like Mexico.
Four parallel tracks takes the film forward. The four tracks doesn’t really connect to each other even though at some point couple of them do comes face to face. Tommy Singh, a singer and a youth icon who gets pumped up only when he gets a narcotic kick is the first one. The second is Kumari Pinky, an innocent Bihari girl who accidentally gets involved with the drug cartel and is in a hopless situation.
Next is a cop named Sartaj who changes his mind and start fighting against the menace once he realise that his brother is drug addict. Last but not the least we have Preet played by Kareena who is a doctor who wants to fight and save Punjab from the excessive use of cocaine, opium and hashish, all of which are readily available aplenty in Chaubey’s Punjab.
There is occasional dragness and slowness before the half way mark but the screenplay never allows us to rest. Director had a vision and he has executed it quite brilliantly in making Udta Punjab a partly realistic film that stays close to its heart.
Language spoken majority of times has that Punjabi flavour in it but thanks to the subtitles, non-Punjabi speaking audience would never feel as if they are alienated and in a jungle. Also, the famous four letter word makes its presence in every sentence anyone utters which one will get used to as the film progresses. The nature of the story and narrative is such that one would find a little time in adjusting to the film’s tempo and way of storytelling.
For Shahid Kapoor, this one is one of his career best role and almost at par with the one he did in Haider. Its a transformed Shahid that we can see in him. Tommy Singh was a character that is a lot eccentric, high in energy with a very loud nature of talking. The actor in him has done all the homework in making it look so real. The dedication he has put in is there to be seen.
The best of the actors was Alia Bhat playing an innocent Bihari girl who gets trapped and suffer. A role with no make up, Alia just steals the show and makes it her best role to date. Kareena Kapoor Khan dons the role of doctor who wants to change things for the good. Not a character that has that much prominence as Alia’s, but it was a controlled acting display from the actress.
Diljith Dosanjh as the Inspector was an ideal casting playing his part in a remarkable fashion. Rest of the actors were also good and among them Satish Kaushik and the superior officer of Sartaj was notable.
Songs were good and appeared very timely without affecting the flow and mood. Good cinematography and fine edits though at two hours and twenty eight minutes the film was a bit lengthier.