MOVIE REVIEW: UDTA PUNJAB

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To write or not to write a review on Udta Punjab was a question because there are many. We made it to movie plex right on time to witness first shot. The movie had a good share of controversy, do we say ‘thank you’ to Pahlaj Nihalani? Finally, the movie is here through a legal battle and without a piss scene. Fair enough.

Two of my prejudices are smashed, Alia Bhatt is making a wise selection of movies and Shahid Kapoor can look like a man. This is a first movie I see muscular Shahid. Despite powerful acting in the role of a confused prince Hamlet in Haider, his distinctive boyish charm was consistent.

Shahid Kapoor. Tommy Singh a.k.a. Gabru is a drug addict, high on stardom and cocaine, Alia Bhatt surpassed my expectations in the role of Bihari farm labourer. She is nameless in the entire movie. The minute details are an expertise of the director and appreciated. Ishqiya and Dedh ishqiya proved that Abhishek Chaubey brings the essence of the local soil, be it honking of trucks, the fields and the authentic dialogues in Punjabi and Bhojpuri. Amit Trivedi did a remarkable job as a composer. Udta Punjab has an agenda, a concealed message and it reaches to us.

Sartaj Singh, a corrupt police officer played by Diljit Dosanjh is convincing. He is already a big star in Punjab, new for the rest. Kareena Kapoor is mediocre in comparison to the performance of Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor. Mr Husband concludes, “she laughs, all unnecessarily.” 😀

The song Ikk Kudi pays tribute to Shiv Kumar Batalvi (poet of the song and prominent name of the Punjabi poetic scene) with his picture in the background when Tommy Singh is rehearsing. Udta Punjab has a very sensitive subject including the stark realities of drug dealers and the mutual association of police and politicians to rot the state. It does not have the gloss of comfort, needless layer of Bollywood preaching. In fact, it leaves us in the awe of shockingly robust performance and script. The censor board might have disagreements with the profanity in the movie, I clearly remember my first road trip from Delhi to Chandigarh began with every possible cuss word by the driver.

Last part, the theatre is packed with Indians, determined to make sure you should not miss hullabaloo of Indian movie theatre. The chatter, unavoidable phone calls, few enthusiasts in a row ahead us busy with their respective important business on WhatsApp, loud message notification from the left and right, we would do fine without the added nuisance. Final verdict: A surprise from Bollywood you can’t miss.  

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