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.
Udta Punjab truly soars when being its own madcap beast, profane and powerful and preening.
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 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.
For all the controversy surrounding this film and its print being leaked two days before release, the main talking point about “Udta Punjab” should be that it is, by far, one of the best-acted Bollywood films in the past few years. That alone is worth the price of your ticket.
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.
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 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.
Audience Reviews for Udta Punjab
Even if you dont like "Udta Punjab", you have to agree that it's a very brave on the part of Bollywood- there is nothing more bold than mainstream Bollywood, which has staged frothy romantic-comedy classics like 'DDLJ' and 'Jab We Met', tackling a Punjab that survives on heroin, drug use and faces the problem of youths suffering drug addiction. Abhishek Chaubey obviously doesn't deliver the issue with heavy hand: he has already proved his distinctive storytelling style in his 'Ishqiya' and 'Dedh Ishqiya'. But this is easily his biggest film: with a mainstream star cast, uncanny romantic trappings and many screens, and hence his most ambitious piece of filmmaking.
The performances are truly what elevates the experience: Shahid Kapoor as the drug-propagating rap star is a hoot, but the actor still feels short of the character because sometimes it feels a repetition of 'Haider' and 'Kaminey'. But that's more than made up by a spectacular Alia Bhatt, who easily delivers this film's most arresting performance. It was hard not to be moved when she described her struggles and her story to Shahid's Tommy. Kareena Kapoor as the anti-drug activist doctor is wonderfully vulnerable, and it's easy to be impressed by her conviction. But the film's driving force is the debut actor Diljeet Dosanjh, who absolutely lives up to his name. His sweet police officer won my heart too too easily.
The writing is also solid: the dialogue is rightly in more Punjabi, more than you'd expect. It's way more... passé than you'd think it is. Like it's a Punjabi film. But truly it's the heart invested in the premise, and the flair to make it a fairly complex study of people and places, that makes it a Bollywood film in an absolutely truest sense of word. Abhishek Chaubey crafts his most deliciously effortless film here: as he crafts the first film which is beyond a familiar atmosphere he had created, he does an excellent job. So terrific, you'd not easily spot a flaw. But the film is ultimately affected by the curse of characterization: because the truth is that the film isn't as technically astounding as you'd think such a film to be, take the characters out and what you'll be left with is the message, and the characters aren't fleshed out enough.
But despite these flaws there's too much to particularly enjoy. It is never less than entertaining. It's unnnerving how the film, despite making biting conversations about the political panorama in Punjab- doesn't quiet make a political comment. It presents you the hard reality of the drug addiction of the youths in the state and haunts you with it's viscerally uncomfortable visuals. It's actually a relatable film, so you could easily forgive that.
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!!!
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.
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