This is by far one of the best movies made in Bollywood till date and definitely the best of 2016. No, it’s not just about drugs and abusive language. No, it doesn’t show Punjab in bad light. No, it’s not a politically motivated movie. When we go beyond words, Udta Punjab talks about how, inherently, addicts are born out of circumstances and not always by choice.
At a larger level, the story talks about the police-politics syndicate on narcotics which has gripped the state of Punjab and is destroying its youth.It has the story of four individuals with completely different background, having one common struggle – drug menace in Punjab. While two (Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor) are on the receiving end of it, the other two (Diljit Dosanjh and Kareena Kapoor) are fighting against it. The story highlights the circumstances that creates addicts and their frantic attempts to get out of it. Full marks to the writer Sudip Sharma for extremely strong character sketches of Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor which hasn’t been lately seen in Bollywood movies. The peculiar element of the movie is humor which has been so efficiently interwoven into the story.
This is one movie that demanded very high standards of acting and the actors have risen to the occasion. Shahid Kapoor is perhaps one of the most underrated actors of our generation. I would rate this as his second best performance after Haider, playing a drug addicted pop icon. Alia Bhatt just doesn’t stop surprising the audience with her acting capabilities. Playing a Bihari girl, driven into Punjab and pulled into drug by circumstances, she showed extraordinary command over the language and the pronunciations. Although, thanks to the director, it takes almost one and half hours to realize that she has a bloody important role in the movie. Kareena Kapoor effortlessly plays a determined doctor fighting against the drug addiction and rehabilitating the addicts. Diljit Dosanjh impresses in his debut.
The direction is amazing with a definite Vishal Bhardwaj effect. First half was well paced and even though there were four lead characters to deal with, each were given enough justice and screen time. The story is a bit of drag in the second half as the movie could have been 10-15mins shorter. However, excellent job by the director.
Overall, Udta Punjab will go into the archive as one of the best, Bollywood came up with till date. Definitely a watch.