It's been a couple of weeks since I got to check out any movie as I was kinda held up with a couple of work commitments. Anywaz when I finally got the time, the decision to watch "Udta Punjab" was quite an easy one thanks to the hysterical attitude of the Censor board which had flooded the news portals since the past few weeks. The trailer blew me off with it's rather distinct flavour & to add to the excitement the controversy that was raging over the unholy nexus that existed between the drug mafia & the politicians in Punjab. So did the antics of the Censor board make sense???
The film unfolds with a packet of heroin being thrown into a field situated across the border by a Pakistani discus thrower. However, even before the packet could be picked up their agent it was whisked off by a Bihari migrant worker (Alia Bhatt). In another part of the state, pop sensation Tommy Singh's (Shahid Kapoor) appeal on the investors wanes as his dependence on drugs makes him a tough client to deal with. The usage of drugs was rampant among the youth as the police which included Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) was hand in glove with the politicians and mafia. But his attitude changes when his brother becomes a victim to this deadly poison & he seeks the help of the doctor, Preeti Sahni (Kareena Kapoor) who also happened to be an activist. It is a fact that nothing could be benefited with the use of narcotics and how this shapes the life of these four characters forms the crux of the movie.
If one has followed the track record of Abhishek Chaubey, it provides ample evidence about his ability to be part of impressive projects right from his assistant directorial days to his previous venture "Dedh Ishqiya". As expected his latest venture is a hard hitting realistic movie scripted by himself & Sudip Sharma, which doesn't hesitate to proclaim that we have a flawed system in place which needs to be rectified before it is too late. However,the film does stretch a tad too long which Meghna Sen ought to have taken note of & some sequences seemed rather vague in detail. Amit Trivedi has done a fine job with the music along with the BGM by Benedict Taylor & Naren Chandavarkar while Rajeev Ravi's frames were satisfactory.
There is no doubt that the movie had a meaty story-line but it had to be well enacted to produce the desired effect & that's exactly what all the main characters have done. Alia Bhatt was the pick among the lot as she was outstanding to say the least with her myriad of expressions. Diljit said to be a popular Punjabi star (though I have never seen his work), was impressive with his effective portrayal of the cop. Shahid Kapoor was brilliant for most parts as the pop sensation & his character's appearance reminded me of Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages". Last but not the least, Kareena has also done justice to her role which wasnt as complex as the others but still delightful enough. Many of the the other artists, have also given credible performances which imparted authenticity to the movie.
Verdict: Thanks to the Censor board, the film didn't have to invest much into their publicity campaign as the controversy translated into more footfalls. To be frank, I seriously dont understand what was the big deal about all this hungama as it wasnt as bad as it was portrayed to be. Whatever might be the justification of the censor team, I would suggest not to miss out on this as it provides a fleeting glimpse as to how our system itself is facilitating the drug mafia to flourish!!!