Directed by Abhishek Chaubey
Cast :Kareena Kapoor ,Alia Bhat,Shahid Kapoor,Diljit Dosanjh,Mansi Jhingran
Story: Udta Punjab Review
Four lives in Punjab are dealing with the truth of substance abuse.While Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor) is a fading superstar who needs cocaine for inspiration, Pinky (Alia Bhatt) is a Bihari immigrant who works as farm labour and mistakenly lands up with substance worth a huge sum.
After failing at an attempt to sell the stash, Pinky is captured by local hooligans who supply drugs and also pull her into the addiction.
Sartaj (Diljit) is a cop who works in the narcotics department. His fight against drugs takes off when his younger brother turns out to be an addict which forms as an eye-opener for him.
Preet (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is a doctor who is struggling hard to keep her state clean from drugs by spreading awareness and helping addicts at the rehabilitation center.
What happens when these four lives converge at crucial points in their life, is what lies ahead.
Performances: Udta Punjab Review
Shahid Kapoor gets the most glorified role in the film. The rockstar Tommy Singh aka Gabru is a cocaine addict. Kapoor managed to get a perfect look for his role but when it comes to the act, he kind of overdoes certain bits. Scenes where he is seen snorting stuff are done well but overall, Tommy’s antics seem quite forced than natural as an addict.
Alia Bhatt does a decent job as the immigrant. She picks up the Bihari accent quite well and shines in the scene where she is being harassed by the men who hold her captive. Her hockey past is put quite hazily in the film and hence does not make much of an impact.
Kareena Kapoor Khan as Doctor Preet gives a vanilla performance. She is expected to be slightly mature in certain scenes and that was felt missing. One does not feel like she owns the character with full might.
Diljit Dosanjh makes his Bollywood debut with this film. He gives a measured performance as Sartaj. In the scene where he slams Gabru for tarnishing the youth with his drugs-propagating songs, he is very good.
Satish Kaushik does a good job as Tayaji even with his little role.
Technical Aspects: Udta Punjab Review
After Ishqiya and Dedh Ishqiya, director Abhishek Chaubey comes up with Udta Punjab. With a great topic at hand, one would have expected a cracker of a film that even fought with the Censor Board, but that does not happen.
Sadly, in Bollywood filmmakers cannot come up with films that throw light on important incidents or issues. Udta Punjab could have been a la Spotlight had Chaubey managed to make the film a clean expose on the suffering state. In turn what we are served is a commercial version of a film with a highly realistic and alarming issue.
They say Punjab is on its way to become Mexico and soon will be run by drug lords but it seems the director’s focus does not move beyond making Tommy a Honey Singh lookalike and getting Alia a dark tan.
Visually, scenes such as Alia’s trippy moment or Tommy’s bathroom high are certainly powerful enough.
Defining moment in the film is certainly a scene in the second half where a young lad is sitting outside his rehab door after creating a horrific crime and grappling with the reality that it is his substance abuse that brought out this monster in him.
Some of the most unwanted scenes remain, Preet and Sartaj’s night out after the latter has got himself drugged accidentally. Also, Tommy’s search for Pinky seems highly superficial and out of context especially since there is an non bailable warrant against him.
Pace wise, the first half is agile and keeps you hooked to the bit. The second half slips poorly and even stretches badly towards the end. The climax comes as a huge let down.
Music by Amit Trivedi is apt for the film’s setting and enjoyable enough.
Verdict: Udta Punjab Review:
Unleashing the issue of substance abuse in Punjab in quite a startling manner, Udta Punjab takes a gripping start. The stress on Punjab soon becoming another Mexico is quite validly portrayed.