The much awaited, pulsating, dramatic and informative film Udta Punjab has FINALLY graced the cinemas. Directed by Abhishek Chaubey, it stars Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh. This is a film based on the youth of Punjab under the high levels of drug use, trying to depict and raise awareness of it in Punjab. The first half contains many lively scenes that turn this screenplay into a fascinating one. Portraying the use of drugs, the effects of drugs and how society is being tarnished. The second half is a bit slower as it exposes the consequences these individuals as well as the youth face with drugs around them.
– A revealing film trying to raise an awareness of the situation in Punjab, the film brushed upon several issues alongside of the main subject matter that is drugs. The film did not neglect those elements surrounding the drugs for example the politics behind the government, police officers, parents and their lack of control towards their kids, these were all evidently screened. Everything materialized in well and this has to be praised highly for the screenwriters. They used their initiative in giving significance on the subject as a whole, rather than just a single aspect ‘drugs’.
– Through the works of the writer and director, I felt they both utilized the 4 characters outlook and produced it well together in one movie. Whenever the characters changed to progress their sides of the story, it did not feel dragged and nor did it become sidetracking when making that transition. Each story was engaging and as an audience, it made you feel keen on wanting to see what happens next. The way it was being narrated on screen was enough in giving each character adequate screen space as a platform to make Udta Punjab a good watching story.
– The simplicity of the movie makes it more believable and easy to follow along as the film developed. Nothing has been featured too glamorous or over-the-top with the acting. There are scenes where the film tries to illustrate glimpses of the good in the youth of Punjab. Then the film shows kids in the society, which is all overshadowed by the subject matter of drug use. The film in overall does satisfactory in keeping the awareness solid rather than just presenting a movie for entertainment purposes.
– Actors were a delight to watch, they performed their respective roles with immense effort. It was showing on screen, the focus was evident and it clearly made the film a laudable watch. Each actor was different from another, but they never seemed as if one was being exposed as a bigger star than the other. Obviously we know each of them come with their own status and their involvement in cinema, but in this film, it seemed more of a collective attempt, maybe due to the seriousness of the project. But it was just exciting to see the way they were presented to the viewers.
– Certain scenes showed lack of realism, we all know the affects and struggles one addict faces if taken away from. There comes a moment in the film when one of the users is kept away from it, he causes a tiny tantrum but not much to disrupt those around him. This takes away bit of that gritty chaotic influence of drugs from Udta Punjab slightly.
– I would have liked to see more point of views of the parents of the youth who have been affected by the influence of drugs. Maybe having their side of the story would have added more of an emotional appeal to the scenarios as well as giving more bearing to the main characters to go on and doing what they did individually with their respective roles towards the climax of the movie. I also felt the climax was rushed. The prospect for more elaboration on specific elements was missed, leaving to a rather quieter closure to the movie.
- SHAHID KAPOOR (Tommy Singh) – The Punjabi gabru executes strongly in his character as the rock star and drug addict, showing two sides in his role. It was great seeing him on screen especially with his Punjabi roots being portrayed heavily, he manages to bring a better-off feel in the film even when it is a serious situation. His acting was superb, an essential part of the film carrying the movie forward with his energetic, wild and rocking persona of Tommy as well as playing the mentally affected, weak and change of mindset personality really gave Shahid an acting podium in this film. He manages to express various emotions, allowing good character development in the movie.
- KAREENA KAPOOR KHAN (Dr Preet Sahni) – Kareena was a pleasure to watch, her existence in the film exhibiting hope to the youth. It was good see her play the doctor role rather than her usual glamour and upper class persona. She was strong in her actions and that was complimented well as she has been presented in as a natural person.
- ALIA BHATT (Kumari) – Not dolled up as per usual, Alia put in a fine performance to stay on the levels of her seniors in the movie. She did well around a bigger star cast and manages to captivate the audience’s attention. Alia had a big role in the film and she never once faltered or stoops behind. Also goes to show, her versatility as an actress and willingness to try other challenging roles, she carried out her duties remarkably
- DILJIT DOSANJH (Sartaj Singh) – The King of Panjabi cinema graced the Bollywood cinema and has left a visible mark. Once again proves his versatility as a fine performer. Diljit was an interesting watch, trying to take him seriously as we know him more for his comedy roles in Panjabi Cinema. But in Udta Punjab, Diljit acted strongly, leaving a positive impact in a film that is revealing negativity in the youth of Punjab. His on screen chemistry with Kareena Kapoor Khan was a touch of brightness in this dark thrilling movie. What also stands out promisingly for Diljit is the ability to create striking facial expressions to express his feelings when serious and sad. A decent effort, which can be appreciated and cherished for the masses after watching him in Udta Punjab as a well-mannered cop officer.
Overall I would rate Udta Punjab 4/5. After all the controversies, the doubts and finger pointing, the film lived up to the hype and overwhelmed me as a viewer. So much has been shown, plenty more could have been incorporated as well to add more, but there was enough to see why the Udta Punjab team were desperate to have the film screened to the world. Udta Punjab stays true to the core, showing the wakefulness and excessive use of drugs in society today. The significant exposure of drugs and the bearing it has on people associated with it is very informative, in a way also teaching the consequences. The details were not too explicit, but enough to leave a striking affect to the viewers mindset. With a good story concept, this was compliment well by praiseworthy performances by the lead cast to ensure this must-watch film was worth the wait and censor board battle. I highly do recommend you go watch this film in cinemas, it may not be for everyone but it is a film that needs to be given a chance for at least a one time watch, to understand and get to witness to eagerness and urgency behind the team wanting to create something so delicate.