Udta Punjab | Alia and Shahid flies while Diljit shocks in Punjab’s Requiem
In the midst of churning controversies and an online leak, Udta Punjab is finally here with only one cut. The controversial Crime Drama opens up a portal to Punjab’s Drug Mafia, and the way it opens up this portal is an incredible cinematic experience worth to watch on big screens.
On January 2014, Chandigarh’s Narcotics Control Board (NCB) Zonal Director, Kaustubh Sharma had put in public domain some shocking data which stated, “During the last year (2013-14), a total 30,000 cases of drug peddling were registered in the country out of which 15,000 were from Punjab alone.” (Source)
The director of Udta Punjab Abhishek Chaubey of Ishqiya fame had a tough job in his hands. Showing the reality of Drug peddling across borders and the political involvement in Punjab’s Drug Mafia, and he does it with sensibility. Drawing away from across border involvement and exploring the pathos of Indian Youth. The Youth that gets affected by petty pop stars with their outrageous lyrics evoking bad elements in the society. And that perspective is very important, because more than 70 percent of Drug Addicts in our country are youth.
Udta Punjab follows three stories coming together in the climax, though the concept is old and tried a lot of times, the freshness should lie in story and Udta Punjab has that fresh attitude. Shahid Kapoor plays a pop star Tommy Singh, he is a youth Icon, he creates songs with brash lyrics and with words that rhyme with Cocaine and Heroin. A constant drug addict his ‘fuel’ is Heroin without which he can’t perform. Alia Bhatt is a Bihari woman working as a laborer in an agricultural farm in the Border regions of Punjab, she finds a drug package which was thrown from the other side of the border. She finds out about the price and tries to strike a deal for money. And Diljit Dosanjh is Sartaj Singh a police offcier whose brother is a drug addict, who vows to find out the truth behind Drug Smuggling in Punjab with the help of Doctor and activist Preet (Kareena Kapoor). Supporting them in small yet well acted role is Satish Kaushik.
Four completely different lives connected by two simple yet complex words which actually terrifyingly go together well, Drugs and Punjab! Udta Punjab can be compared with Darren Arfonsky’s Requiem For A Dream, while both movies follow Drug Addiction in society’s youth, the Punjab’s Requiem is much less grim and dark. Playing with the boundary of Nhilism Udta Punjab will lead you to think of Society and certain bad elements; but you will not face an existential crisis like the viewer does in Requiem for A Dream. The striking resemblance in Alia Bhatt’s character and Ellen Burstyn’s character is easy to observe. Both had no choice of their own, they were tricked into Addiction and that gives them an emotional power that other characters do not have.
One thing that Udta Punjab does not lack is incredible Acting, the whole cast has done commendable job with Alia Bhat and Diljit talking the icing over the cake. Alia Bhat shedding her star image and style clothes transforms into a Bihari Migrant laborer. With great backstory she flies on her best screen performance of the career. Diljit Singh portrays Sartaj Singh (the police officer) with surprising elegance, you can witness his mind running left and right, and feel his love and care for his drug addict brother. Shahid Kapoor has proven again that with a great director he can leap through the screen in a complete crazy performance(Just like he did in Haider with Vishal Bhardwaj).
Udta Punjab has its lows too, it is in no way a perfect masterpiece, the script follows a lot of path, but do not finish all of them. But those points can be ignored because of great acting performance from whole ensemble cast. Tommy Singh a drug addict who is literally alive because of heroin forgets about drugs just after looking at Alia Bhatt’s face and witnessing her fight. There should have been a little more time in development of their relationship.
In the end I would like to appeal to all viewers to watch Udta Punjab in theaters and don’t download it or if you really wanna download it, please download it after this week. Watch the movie in theaters as a rebellion against the stupid censor board. In the end a movie is a way of entertainment, if you learn a lesson from it, either embrace it or do not. That depends on only you.
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