Udta Punjab. The mega hyped, mega publicised, crazy and transformed Shahid Kapoor starrer is the movie of the town. Everyone knows about it, everyone wants to watch it, and as such everyone has insanely high expectations of it. Everyone wants a lot of anti-drug tirades and a battle against drugs and a lot of “Drugs di maa di” and overall a fully crazed energetic movie that will leave you on the edge of your seats. But the sad part with trailers and its hype is that they created expectations for the movie that might not be fulfilled.
This isn’t a crazed or insanely energetic battle against drugs. It’s a simple movie fraught with people whose lives have been somehow impacted by drugs. Be it them using it, their family member, being a doctor or trying to spread it. This is a simple movie of real actions and consequences. There are no grand falling down of corporations in the finale, no characters who are larger than life or a saviour or messiah in this battle that has taken away loads of lives of the youth living in Punjab. There are no grand speeches or epic fights. This is a movie about how the drug trade propagates and what the state of the people are. How they get into drugs and how they spend their lives in it. Some in the gutters, some in the ruins and some dead. Some killing their own mother for money for a fix, some just following an idol because he is cool and does weed and cocaine and all sorts of drugs. Because people of Punjab know only one thing, and that is what they propagate. DRUGS.
To say Shahid Kapoor’s drug addicted overly moody and energetic Tommy Singh is the lead character is an insult to the story as well as the storyline. There are three stories in the movie’s overall narrative. One of Shahid Kapoor’s Tommy Singh, his rise and fall as a pop-fucking-star (as he puts it), and fall and rise as a human being. Second of Alia Bhatt’s Bihari migrant character who gets pushed into some of the darkest times in her life. And the third of Diljit Dosanjh’s Sartaj Singh, an Assistant Inspector and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Dr.Preet Sahni (a doctor who deals with drug related incidents and has a rehab centre for drug addicts) battle to strike the drug trade at its heart.
I honestly don’t want to write anything about the plot. It’s been out only recently and honestly, it gets boring discussing it in such a restrained manner where it does not ruin the experience for everyone else. It feels better to simply talk about this movie as a movie, without breaking it down.
This movie is such a beautiful cohesive whole. This is Shahid Kapoor’s third best performance to date, after Haider at number 2 and Kaminey at number 1. But unlike Kaminey, or to an extent Haider, Shahid will be remembered for this role. People have seem to forgotten Haider a bit and somehow most people have blackened out the fact that Shahid starred so admirably and perfectly in Kaminey. But this movie. Shahid will be always be remembered for this role for years to come. His Transformation. The way he has pulled it off. The energy, the poise, the grace. It is Shahid’s acting that makes his Tommy Singh feel so real and the reason people saw this movie to the end. Shahid makes you gravitate to his character, feel for him, laugh with him and at him, and root for him as well. Shahid Kapoor, you have done an amazing job. Every habit, every word, every nuance required of him, physically and emotionally, he pulls it off. He is the heart and soul of the movie.
But to say that Shahid was the only reason for this movie’s success and excellence will, again be an insult. Newcomer Diljit Dosanjh, popularly known for his songs and Punjabi movies, does a marvellous job as an Assistant Inspector trying to strike the Drug Trade at the heart.
Kareena Kapoor was meh. She was unlike the rest of the three. Her character was important to the story but Kareena Kapoor’s portrayal and the poor writing make the character feel small and too aloof for such a story.
But, but, but, if Shahid is the heart and soul of the movie, then Alia Bhatt is the showstopper. She gives the performance of a lifetime as a Bihari migrant who gets caught in Punjab in the drug trade but who deems to make it out alive. She was amazing. All her scenes, you fall in love with them. Alia Bhatt fades somewhere in the character and the entire movie her character, due to sheer accuracy of writing and strength of portrayal make you fall in love with her character more and more and more. I can’t write anything more about her character. Words cannot define her in this movie. It is sheer beauty and an honor to have seen Alia Bhatt act as a Bihari immigrant on screen. She is terrific. And yes, like Shahid, she will be fondly remembered for this bold and dark role.
As is I’ve gone on long enough about this movie. There is so much more to write but I don’t know how much to express, what to express or how to express it. There is just so much to tell about this movie, so much more. This is a movie everyone should watch. This is an exceptional exceptional movie that struck a chord with me. This is Hindi Cinema at its best. Undeniable best.
Sidenote-This movie has the best usage of songs in a Bollywood movies since Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. And the movie is amazing overall.
Did you like the review? What are your thoughts on the movie? Which aspects of the movie did you like and which weren’t upto expectations? Do sound off in the comments below with your opinions!