• Shashwat Sisodia
    Shashwat Sisodia
    300 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    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.

    April 25, 20
  • Midhun Ben Thomas (Dilseben)
    Midhun Ben Thomas (Dilseben)
    160 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    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!!!

    Rating: 3.5/5


    September 16, 16
  • Lasit Roy
    Lasit Roy
    32 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    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.

    June 24, 16
  • Tejas Nair
    Tejas Nair
    258 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    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

    June 19, 16
  • Bindu Cherungath
    Bindu Cherungath
    126 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    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.

    June 17, 16
  • Shree Hari H
    Shree Hari H
    19 reviews
    Senior Reviewer

    Sometimes, the films that are most uncomfortable to watch – those that leave us squirming in our seats – are those that merit the greatest of applause.
    Much has been made of Udta Punjab’s prolonged battle with the Censor Board – at one stage producer Anurag Kashyap was even asked to make 89 cuts – and for a film that deals with a subject as dark as Punjab’s never-ceasing battle with drugs, it’s easy to see why.
    Abhishek Chaubey has developed a reputation over the years for being an astute filmmaker who rigorously researches the milieu that he sets his films in -it’s a trademark quality of his that shines through in his latest venture.
    The film presents a tapestry of tormented individuals, who have – unwittingly or otherwise – had their lives torn apart by unregulated consumption of drugs and the horrors that inevitably accompany it.
    This is a tale of hopelessness, debauchery and moral decrepitude – and certainly one that’s not for the faint-hearted.
    However, Chaubey’s dark humour and Trivedi’s riveting background score make for a heady cocktail that, to a certain extent, helps digest the unpleasantness on display.
    The acting, too, is top-notch – Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor all deliver some of their finest performances to date.
    However, it is Diljit Dosanjh who emerges as the moral conscience of this film with his hugely affecting portrayal of a corrupt cop who turns over a new leaf when his own brother nearly succumbs to drug overdose.
    Udta Punjab would have been a pitch-perfect film, if not for that blood-splattered climax that quite frankly borders on the ridiculous.
    It is, however, one of the bravest Hindi films of 2016, and one that encourages society to recognise a deeply discomfiting truth for what it is rather than remain nonchalantly ignorant about it.
    Like those sinister-looking heroin-filled syringes peppered throughout the dark alleyways of Punjab, this film delivers a dosage of acute pleasure.

    January 12, 17
  • Arshil
    10 reviews
    Senior Reviewer

    Udta Punjab is directed by Abhishek Chaubey is riveting with three style narrative for the first half of the movie. It's bold and really has shown the truth about drugs mafia and it's effect on youth in punjab. The best character of this movie for me is Sartaj singh, his character has good arc and he is the one who we can root for. Diljith Dosanjh is the stand out performer of this movie and the rest of the cast has done good job. This film loses it's steam in the second half and the movie becomes over the top with romance and the sloppy relationship between alia bhatt and shahid kapoor. There is an over the top acting scene between Alia and Shahid which is painful to watch and there is a back story for Alia which we don't care due to the poor writing. On the whole Udta Punjab is a good movie but easily forgettable with deformed narrative and some over the top performances.

    June 23, 16
  • Saurav Ingle
    Saurav Ingle
    1 review

    Naturally, bollywood lovers love the most paid entertainment i.e ENTERTAINMENT!! But its very important to know what actually in true manners our India suffers in its own homeplace and that has been exposed through #Udtapunjab by an impeccable acting especially from Shahid & Alia.
    Critics and media spread negativities about the movie coz it includes reality, drugs, abusing, etc..but noone tries to understand the concept, the condition of India that is explained in the movie.!

    June 17, 16
  • Sushant7984
    1 review

    One of the worst movies of all times. Promotes drugs and drug abuses with no proper storyline. What's the use when you convey your message which has 95% pro drug abuse and only 5% of the movie is against drugs and drug abuses?

    June 18, 16
  • Prasoon Pallav
    Prasoon Pallav
    1 review

    It was awesome experience in hall,probably the best movie of 2016.Daljit and sahid acted damn well.Don't read shitty reviews,do watch udta punjab(as a veiwer u'll surely love it)

    June 17, 16
  • Bharat Painsia
    Bharat Painsia
    1 review

    This is really sensible concept for the society and it is truly story of the youth of punjab and it's major problem in punjab this movie gave a message for drugs so plz go for movie and don't miss it bcz it's not only a movie it's reality..... Awsm story thnx shahid and abishek and basu sir...

    June 17, 16
  • Himanshu Gupta
    Himanshu Gupta
    2 reviews

    Udta punjab from the beginning will make a lot of sense and will keep You engage with the screen play and dialogues. First part is brilliant and engaging and second half is slow but takes the story further with reality and a small love story
    However one might complain about the sudden ending after the climax which perhaps can be described as the director's way of leaving that to the viewers imagination.
    Alia bhat is turning into a quality actress and she is again a surprise package here like she did in highway.

    June 17, 16