"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