“Dil toh bachcha hai jee” was the strain of a song from Abhishek Chaubey’s first film ISHQIYAN. His third movie, UDTA PUNJAB which hit the screens a few days back has nothing “Bachcha” about it, and has everything connected with a different type of “Dil”..Drugs Inside Life! In addition to the several statutory warnings about how smoking, drinking and drug addiction are ruinous to one’s health that appear before the main picture starts, I need to issue a note of caution to the reader, before he continues: If seeing a brutal description about brutal ( but oft hidden) realities, leaves you with an uneasy feeling all over you, then it is best that you do not go further. Better go and watch HOUSEFULL 3 to shut yourself even more from the gory happenings in today’s Punjab.
Laced seamlessly with BC and MC expletives, Abhishek’s UDTA PUNJAB is riveting and disturbing at the same time. The story about drugs is dealt with in an honest manner not seen in Bollywood before. And embellishing the narrative, which seems to switch abruptly from one set of characters and situations to another, are the superlative performances of the cast. Shahid Kapoor, who never was a success in Bollywood’s mainstream cinema, has given sterling performances when the script is right and when he is directed by capable directors. Imtiaz Ali did that job for him in JAB WE MET ; Vishal Bharadwaj got him to do wonders in KAMINEY and HAIDER, and now Abhishek Chaubey makes him deliver a classy performance in UDTA PUNJAB. Alia Bhatt is remarkable as usual, notwithstanding all the lampooning about herthat happens in WhatsApp jokes. Another excellent performance comes from Diljit Dosanjh, a Punjabi singer and TV presenter, and needless to say, that he has got a golden passport to Bollywood with his acting. It is ironical that the lead pair of JAB WE MET ( also another story based in Punjab), Shahid and Kareena also have important roles in the Punjab based UDTA PUNJAB as lead artistes, but don’t share a single screenshot! Real life estrangement having an effect?
At the end, UDTA PUNJAB shows that there can be light at the end of the tunnel, although it happens with taking of the law in one’s hands. That’s its best point!
RATING: 4.5 out of 5
June 23rd, 2016