Udta Punjab Really Deserves Your Time
Abhishek Chaubey has written some brilliant scripts in the past including Ishqiya and Dedh Ishqiya. More than anything, his films are structured around a tight script that excite the actors to give their best. His new venture Udta Punjab is rooted in the heart of reality, painfully exposing demons that sell false promises for a sniff of the 'good life'.
The storyline is based on the soaring drug problem of Punjab where almost a third of the youth is involved in drugs. Substance abuse has been highlighted correctly in the film to the point that it’s necessary. The film starts with some rock music, action and drama. It builds up slowly; half an hour into the film Kareena comes in as a drug activist carrying her investigation against the supply and politics behind narcotics forward.
A movie addressing such an issue is bound to be depressing at some point, but it finds a powerful climax defining the side effects of substance abuse, bringing the story to a cheerful yet gloomy ending.
Chaubey has produced extremely powerful scenes in the film, inculcating strong emotions in the audience’s hearts. A scene where a young boy sits numb, in the middle of night, outside a drug rehab shocked at his own act, particularly took a hold on me. He is shown to be miserable and struggling to comprehend what created the monster in him.
This was possibly the most defining moment in Udta Punjab - imagine losing the ability to make sense out of a situation, to be unable to apply logic, to be unable to control yourself - to feel like you are trapped in someone else's body.
Abhishek has unhurriedly pieced together a narrative that explores and exposes a state left to bleed by drug lords and politicians.
The cinematographer beautifully captures the essence of the characters and visually narrates it into an experience that’ll leave a mark on you. The make-up and costume designer accentuate the performance by making them as real as it could get.
Udta Punjab sparks right at the climax when an incidental and unusual romance kindles between two protagonists as the story unfolds.
Much of Udta Punjab rides on the shoulders of performances by Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, surrendering themselves into the skin of the characters. What brings depth and freshness to the screen is the character of Kareena Kapoor Khan. She is the star of the film. You can’t stop admiring her power on screen.
Shahid Kapoor has outdone himself as a rockstar, engulfing one inside his luxurious life and how he’s influenced an entire generation of youngsters to rap alongside his tuneless songs. He has created an ingenious madness around him giving one of his best performances to date.
Alia is absolutely remarkable, and her botched face and Bihari accent is brutally honest. Her nameless character expresses so much hope despite facing the miseries of life. The charming Diljit Dosanjh, plays the role of Sartaj Singh, a police officer who is in a battle with himself, with great finesse.
Udta Punjab is a movie that really deserves your time. It explores the highs and the lows of a drug addict and how different lives can be interlinked through a common problem.
I give it a whopping 4 stars for the brilliant performances and a well-constructed story line.
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