For a movie that has garnered so much attention prior to its release, Udta Punjab manages to rise above this media frenzy and proves that it has enough firepower to blaze its way through the censor aftermath. For an audience that has been spoon-fed with the bright and sunny montages of Punjab, it is surely an eye-opener of a movie that takes it beyond the clichéd sarson ke khet and balle balle routine.

Review of Udta Punjab

The movie begins with what can be called, the best opening scene a Hindi movie has created in recent times

Director Abhishek Chaubey’s Punjab is a place that is lawless and notorious, has grown beyond lassis and parathas and now obliges with cocaine, opium and heroin at the snap of a finger. The movie begins with what can be called, the best opening scene a Hindi movie has created in recent times, where we see a discus thrower tossing a packet across the border near Punjab. The packet lands near a Bihari farm worker Pinky (brilliantly played by Alia Bhatt) and is her first tryst with the contraband.

Check Out: First Day Collection of Udta Punjab

Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor in smashing form) is the typical tattooed rock star, idolized by his fans but cannot make music without his daily drug fix. Inspector Sartaj (Diljit Dosanjh) works with the narcotics department, is immune to the problems around and does not think twice before accepting a bribe or two. Preet (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is a doctor who has vowed to keep her state free of drugs and fights her own war against it in a legal and ethical manner.

These four characters form the central premise of this pulsating crime thriller and how their lives converge at one point is the crux of the plot. The story moves on pretty rapidly in the first half of the movie as every character who is vital for the narration of the story, is introduced. Abhishek Chaubey is a brilliant story-teller and uses all his skills to keep the audience glued to their seats. By using a docu-drama approach of unveiling the plot, Chaubey gives us a gritty and hard-hitting glimpse into the hellish world that drug-induced comatose Punjab has become today.

What could have been better in Udta Punjab

It is the second half of the movie that needs a bit of tightening up as it meanders a fair bit before moving towards a fairly gripping climax. Amit Trivedi’s music is apt for the movie’s setting and does provide a bit of a respite from the grim backdrop.  Shahid Kapoor, and Alia Bhatt pack a serious punch in every scene and have done complete justice to their roles. Especially Alia Bhatt who comes up with another riveting performance after the outstanding “Highway”. Diljit Dosajh does a fair job as Sartaj, in his first Bollywood appearance while Kareena Kapoor Khan as Preet is adequate, given the limitations of her role.

Watch it or Miss it?

Watch it if you appreciate a good movie, with quality performances and a logical story.

A fair warning to all those in the audience who expect a typical Bollywood crime thriller: Move away to the next screen. This stark movie will throw reality at you in large measure so be ready to flinch a bit at the harshness too.

Final Verdict

The authenticity of Punjab is retained pretty cleverly by using Punjabi dialogues (this is where the subtitles are useful). The abusive language may offend the sensibilities of a few, but are well justified keeping in line with the realism depicted. Overall, Udta Punjab is a must-watch for the reality it depicts and some power-packed performances too.

Our rating for the movie is 4/5 stars.

What is your reaction to Udta Punjab?

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