Udta Punjab Reviews
The censor furore dragged it into controversy for the wrong reasons, but I recommend that you watch it for the right ones. This is uncompromised cinema – the film has its highs and lows, but delivers a solid kick.
This is the kind of film which has something to say, and it says it with both flair and conviction.
The film is entirely Chaubey’s. Bringing in inspiration from Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers and Vishal Bhardwaj, he showcases the paradox of Punjab in Bollywood films. The land of lassi and mustard fields isn’t about a romantic duet anymore, and if you don’t act fast… well, watch the movie to find out. There are no reasons not to.
Don't watch Udta Punjab because it was embroiled in controversies but because its a story not many would have dared to tell.
Udta Punjab truly soars when being its own madcap beast, profane and powerful and preening.
Udta Punjab is not family entertainment, but it is an undeniably magnificent - and purposeful - commercial Hindi film. Do not miss it.
Chaubey uses a part-documentary-part-mainstream approach here. Post interval, the film is sometimes too indulgent and sluggish. Also this is not your sunny-side up cinema. It is stark and makes you cringe. However, its victory lies in making you empathise with its characters. As Alia and Shahid, both victims of drug and physical abuse fight their demons and destinies, you shed a silent tear.
Alia Bhatt has a famous dialogue in the film, where she uses the cuss word ‘Ho gayi na ch*****pa’, and one could easily say that about the film. Udta Punjab does not manage to fly high with its content.
Udta Punjab has some great performances but the film lets you down.
Udta Punjab is not the most comprehensive film on the state's vicious drug crisis. What it tries to be, with varying success, is a humane drama about the damaging consequences of drugs on the youth, and how the politicians and police forces are partners in crime as they facilitate the illegal industry for their own profit.
UDTA PUNJAB is a dark and serious film that does not offer the traditional entertainment that audiences seek from Bollywood movies. At at same time, it is bold and brave in parts with strong performances by all actors.
‘Udta Punjab’ is definitely a must-watch, but for a film that is tackling so real an issue even the minor indulgences seem a bit much. This film is not a fun ride and for serious film buffs, the fact that the director seems to lose his grip a little is disappointing.Abhishek Chaubey, however, deserves applause for an intense, dark and disturbing depiction of the state of Punjab.
Over and above, Udta Punjab is not just a winner in Court but also a cracker of a film. It certainly makes you think. While the film is bound to start a dialogue about substance use and abuse, it might even spark off a solution.
All said and done, UDTA PUNJAB is certainly bold, highlights a critical issue and is powered by prize acts, though it makes the 'thinking' audience show a sign of concern, it fails to make the 'aam junta' react the way they should have. But for those who look for something out of the box, dark, with a 'kick' of realisms, UDTA PUNJAB is your shot. Take it.
Rough patches notwithstanding, Udta Punjab is an undeniably exhilarating watch, a trip truly worth taking (downer included). With his third film, Chaubey has fine-tuned his unique directorial voice and pushed the boundaries of commercial cinema. Here's hoping censorship, or anything else, never even attempts to get in his way again.
Walking out of the theatre, one is grateful that the filmmakers fought for this film. This had to be served undistilled, and untouched by people who don't see or choose not to see the gravity of the situation.
Audience Reviews for Udta Punjab
"Censor team's udna ought to be kept in check!!!"
It's been a couple of weeks since I got to check out any movie as I was kinda held up with a couple of work commitments. Anywaz when I finally got the time, the decision to watch "Udta Punjab" was quite an easy one thanks to the hysterical attitude of the Censor board which had flooded the news portals since the past few weeks. The trailer blew me off with it's rather distinct flavour & to add to the excitement the controversy that was raging over the unholy nexus that existed between the drug mafia & the politicians in Punjab. So did the antics of the Censor board make sense???
The film unfolds with a packet of heroin being thrown into a field situated across the border by a Pakistani discus thrower. However, even before the packet could be picked up their agent it was whisked off by a Bihari migrant worker (Alia Bhatt). In another part of the state, pop sensation Tommy Singh's (Shahid Kapoor) appeal on the investors wanes as his dependence on drugs makes him a tough client to deal with. The usage of drugs was rampant among the youth as the police which included Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) was hand in glove with the politicians and mafia. But his attitude changes when his brother becomes a victim to this deadly poison & he seeks the help of the doctor, Preeti Sahni (Kareena Kapoor) who also happened to be an activist. It is a fact that nothing could be benefited with the use of narcotics and how this shapes the life of these four characters forms the crux of the movie.
If one has followed the track record of Abhishek Chaubey, it provides ample evidence about his ability to be part of impressive projects right from his assistant directorial days to his previous venture "Dedh Ishqiya". As expected his latest venture is a hard hitting realistic movie scripted by himself & Sudip Sharma, which doesn't hesitate to proclaim that we have a flawed system in place which needs to be rectified before it is too late. However,the film does stretch a tad too long which Meghna Sen ought to have taken note of & some sequences seemed rather vague in detail. Amit Trivedi has done a fine job with the music along with the BGM by Benedict Taylor & Naren Chandavarkar while Rajeev Ravi's frames were satisfactory.
There is no doubt that the movie had a meaty story-line but it had to be well enacted to produce the desired effect & that's exactly what all the main characters have done. Alia Bhatt was the pick among the lot as she was outstanding to say the least with her myriad of expressions. Diljit said to be a popular Punjabi star (though I have never seen his work), was impressive with his effective portrayal of the cop. Shahid Kapoor was brilliant for most parts as the pop sensation & his character's appearance reminded me of Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages". Last but not the least, Kareena has also done justice to her role which wasnt as complex as the others but still delightful enough. Many of the the other artists, have also given credible performances which imparted authenticity to the movie.
Verdict: Thanks to the Censor board, the film didn't have to invest much into their publicity campaign as the controversy translated into more footfalls. To be frank, I seriously dont understand what was the big deal about all this hungama as it wasnt as bad as it was portrayed to be. Whatever might be the justification of the censor team, I would suggest not to miss out on this as it provides a fleeting glimpse as to how our system itself is facilitating the drug mafia to flourish!!!
A movie telling truth
This movie comes with something new.. unlike, traditional movies Udta Panjab exploited the serious and contemporary issue of drug addiction through beautiful storyline.. Good direction. Shahid played his role of a mad or drug addict musician, it was perfect.I didn't expect Alia Bhat what she did in the movie.. she is different, well, I must say she performed better than her own. Good film. Must watch.
First-Class Tragedy. ♦ Grade B+
There was only one way to find out if the film, a topic of controversy since late May this year, was worthy of all the fuss: to watch it. And it was a genuinely poignant experience to watch Ishqiya-fame Abhishek Chaubey's crime drama unfold and speak volumes about a state in grave peril.
Tommy (Kapoor) is a London-bred Punjabi rock-star who goes by the name Gabru among his fans. Cocaine is a prime ingredient in his lavish lifestyle which soon becomes evident to the viewers who witness his and his crew's eccentricity and madness. One of his little-known fans is Bali (Prabhjyot) who regards Gabru as his idol and cocaine as his medicine. The person who has no idea about Bali's frequent bouts of psychedelic enjoyment is his brother Sartaj (Dosanjh), a cop and a minor yet ignorant player in the corrupted law-enforcement system of Punjab. Dr. Sahni (Khan) is the only major character in the story who doesn't do drugs, and is more of a crusader against them than a medical practitioner. Slightly deviated from all these personages is a Bihari migrant and hockey ace (Bhatt) who was promised a national-level tournament but was handed an insecticide spraying machine instead. Things take a virulent turn for all of them when, one by one, Tommy gets jailed, Bali gets hospitalized, Sartaj gets taunted by Dr. Sahni for his role in the drug problem, and the migrant getting entangled in a petty peddling issue.
It doesn't take much time for the writers to set the scene and let drugs take on the remaining part. And it is also evident what they really had in mind: to explicitly showcase the drug menace in the state and its horrendous consequences, some of which are worse than death. Perhaps the best scene of the film and a scene where the viewers will definitely get a jolt if they are paying attention is when Gabru finds himself locked up in a shared jail cell where also are sitting two of his hardcore teen fans who were arrested for hitting their own mother after she refused to give them money to buy drugs, a habit which they directly imbibed from their rock-star. Brilliant!
The score is absolutely stunning as it supports the sequences in unleashing their total effect. With some fabulous sampling of songs, the narration is pretty straightforward, if not crisp. It does go haywire a couple of times, but they are brief and were probably mandatory for easy flow of the script. Outstanding performances by Kapoor and Bhatt. It is isn't easy to portray such characters. Dosanjh is fine and so is his co-actor who seemed to go into Jab We Met mode at times. Supporting cast is good, especially Satish Kaushik.
With a fast-paced climax, the film is gritty, dark, gory, and tragic for all the stories that intertwine towards the end shut shop once the idea is successfully resonated. It doesn't establish nonsense.
BOTTOM LINE: Abhishek Chaubey's Udta Punjab is an important film that only cares about exhibiting the current scenario of a state embroiled in a drug menace. It almost makes you believe in the story, which everyone knows is at least partially true. Go watch it in your nearest theater.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO
Udta Punjab, a very well made honest film, highlights the inner struggle of the people suffering due to drug addiction and also the sick corrupt system, narco-politics.
Udta Punjab, a film by Abhishek Chaubey, was so much in the news offlate, due to CBFC’s demand for 89 cuts in the film, followed by a legal battle between the producers and CBFC. Finally creativity won and only one cut was demanded by the court and the decision came just 2 days prior to its release. Another fight which the producers have to fight now is against piracy, since, this film has been uploaded on torrent sites by an anonymous person (romoured to be somebody from CBFC). Critics might say that all these controversies have worked in favour of the film, it would certainly attract more viewers. But, what makes this film one of the most relevant watch is that it deals with a very critical issue i.e. drug addiction. Youths in our country are getting prone to drug abuse. Addiction of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs is high in our country. The film is brutally honest about what happens when a person becomes an addict, his / her inner struggle to overcome it, failure to detox self, losing what is good within one’s self, getting away from all near and dear ones, going to any extreme to satisfy one’s urge for drugs, even attempting to kill dear ones if they are found resisting drug usage. The film also talks about another major concern, which states like Punjab is facing (Punjab is just a representation of many other states), where drugs are made easily available due to corrupt system – be it politicians or police officers.
The film begins with a ‘Packet’ being thrown to Punjab fields from the other side of the border i.e. Pakistan. The substance reaches wrong hands i.e. in Alia’s hands who is a labourer (originally from Bihar), working in the field. When Alia realizes the cost of the drug, she plans to sell the same so as to get money. Simultaneously, another story of a rockstar Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor) unveils, who has become a youth icon with his high-on-drug-performances and weird fast numbers. He sports long hair, lot of tattoos-one of them is ‘Gabru’. He is wild, arrogant and unable to take rejections in the right stride. Third major character of the film is police inspector Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh), who does not mind taking bribe to give the clearance to trucks and containers carrying drugs, in fact he represents corrupt system. Dr. Preet Sahni (Kareena Kapoor) is fighting in her own best manner possible by treating drug addicts and also taking part in some major protests against menace of drugs.
The best aspect of this film is that the focus is not on characters, but on theme of the film i.e. what these characters are going through due to their addiction or due to society being in the clutches of drug abuse. There is not a single moment where the focus has shifted from the theme of menace of drugs. The intent of the filmmaker is very clear, i.e. to highlight the menace of drugs, narco-politics, corrupt system.
Alia goes through a tough time when she goes to sell opium which she got. What happens when Alia reaches the people to sell the stuff she has? How a young, talented national sensation rockstar Tommy’s downfall happens due to his drug addiction? What situations lead to the transformation of the inspector Sartaj from a corrupt police officer to the one investigating the root of drug supplies in Punjab? How Preet joins hands with Sartaj to fight the system ? How the drugs are made available to the youths? How does narco-politics shape up ? How the channels of manufacturing and distribution of drugs work ? How the medical shops end up selling these illicit drugs ?
As far as the cast and their acting are concerned, all of them have given great performances. Shahid absolutely fits into the character of Tommy. Alia is able to do so much of justice to her grief-stricken yet courageous character. Her name of the character is intentionally not mentioned in this review, which is for you to explore by watching the film. Kareena is also very convincing as Dr. Preet. But the real star of the film (and probably with more screen time than the rest) is Diljit Dosanjh as Inspector Sartaj Singh. In real life, he is a singer, television presenter and has also acted in many successful Punjabi films. His performance in Udta Punjab is excellent.
As far as the dialogues of the film are concerned, abusive words are used, but blended well with the plot, screenplay of the film. Music could have been better. The song ‘Ek kudi jidda naam muhabbat, gum hai gum hai…’ is very nice. The film is clubbed with various emotion.
Udta Punjab, a very well made honest film, highlights the inner struggle of the people suffering due to drug addiction and also the sick corrupt system, narco-politics. It is indeed sad to see the film, which brings harsh realities attached with the menace of drugs.