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Udta Punjab (Hindi Movie)
Starring :    Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Diljit Dosanjh
Producer :  Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor , Anurag Kashyap
Director : Abhishek Chaubey
Music :  Amit Trivedi
Review by : Kriti Agarwal
Rating : 3 out of 5

What's about : Shahid, Kareena & Alia halved their fees for the film. Punjab becoming the next Mexico if the youth of the state continue to be addicted to drugs.  Udta Punjab hits you hard in your guts. And it hurts a lot, not only because it is hard hitting, but also because it makes you laugh too. And your stomach is already sore from the beating it gets from the grim parts. The movie alternates between comedy and tragedy so smoothly, you catch yourself laughing at a tragic scene .

It may look like an indigenous version of the  American series Breaking Bad, circles around the India-Pakistan border. They ensure a constant drug supply in the wheat bowl of India. Protected by the high and mighty in politics, it’s hard to pinpoint anyone. 

The future leaders of tomorrow are tripping away into oblivion only to rot and end themselves along with their families.
 
political indulgence that helps the drug dealers to intoxicate the country, is shown without a bend.

'Udta Punjab' is the root of our society that is flaring up and blazing into flames to kill itself .  Over one lakh people are dependent on Heroin and around Rs 20 crore are spent everyday on drugs in Punjab alone .
 Time calls for a roaring unison to recognise and burn down to earth, the 'rotten future' gifted by drugs.

There are no sarson da khets, lassi-guzzling turban-clad men or dancing ladies celebrating the harvest.

Above all, Udta Punjab is about the famed Punjabi spirit, that despite being fully down, has the audacity of looking you in the eye and saying - Drugs di maa di! "  The movie carries message on drug de-addiction.
Location : Amritsar, Punjab.

Story :  
Udta Punjab tells the story of two Punjabs — one Punjab that’s flourishing on generous returns from the drug business, and the other that’s trying to rehabilitate a wasted, addicted generation. It is a heady mix of sharp writing, brilliant acting and a very cool style of story telling.
A part part-documentary-part-mainstream approach is used.

The land that is known for yellow mustard fields, energetic dances, lively weddings , wrestlers and wheat -- serves up heroin, opium, cocaine faster than parathas and lassis. Punjab the land of the five rivers, is besieged by cartels, cocaine and corrupt cops. Teenagers slump around abandoned houses, surrounded by syringes and white paper. Huge consignments of illegal substances make their way around the state with the complicit approval of a corrupt police force, while politicians distribute deadly drug cocktails as election favours.

4 characters  shows what drugs can do. They can ruin. They can kill. They can wish you were not alive.

1 -Tommy Singh hits stardom at the age of 22 .   'Momma Da Boy' tattooed under his clavicle. He's a rebel , a nut with winged boots and a sycophantic entourage.  This rock star is high-on-the-white-stuff till the one day all the jollies — the money, the endless supply of the ‘chitta’ powder, the adulation — curdle.  And his eyes light upon a battered-yet-not beaten.

2 - Pinki - a Bihari migrant , a district level Hockey champion,  but her search for job makes her a field  labourer , she is accidentally in possession of heroin worth Rs.1 Crore and hunts for consumers.  Her screams are painfully loud . she is a fighter & survives the storm.

3 - Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) is a corrupt cop , has extra earning of Rs.10,000/- weekly through ‘hafta’ by turning a blind eye to drugs trafficking.

4 - The feisty  Florence Nightingale  Dr Preet Sahni (Kareena Kapoor Khan), runs a rehab clinic, becomes the other strong salutary influence on Sartaj .

As Alia and Shahid, both victims of drug and physical abuse fight their demons and destinies, you shed a silent tear. 

The jail scene where Tommy meet his "fans" locked up for murdering their mother is chilling.

'Udta Punjab' is a simple low budget, down to earth movie. It does not provide glamour, thrill and action like  other films on drugs , ‘Janbaaz’ and ‘Dum Maaro Dum.

It touches the real social problems which is a result of corrupt system and provides raw entertainment by making you relate to each of the characters.

So much for the expletives , but let me tell you that  in Punjab all the cute “assi-tussi, Paaji pauri-pauna, hello ji, namaste ji” is reserved for family events and shaadi-vaadi. The rest of the time cuss words and abuses are used like punctuation marks.

Does the lead hero sound as Yo Yo Honey Singh ?? 

Characters:

Shahid Kapoor [ Tommy singh] :
Tejinder singh or Gabru  of Phagwara breaks all barriers in bringing a drug - induced rockstar to life. In a milestone performance; a cocktail of Nicholas Cage's manic energy , Justin Bieber's popstar tantrums , Skrillex's haircut & Yo Yo honey Singh's Punjabiya da swag . In real life , Shahid is a teetotaller , but what a Hardcore Druggie he prtrayed ! When desperate - his voice gets squawkily high , the way he says mojo with a few'j's too many , how he throws the microphone stand , effete and effective all at once ...... Wow .Shahid has put his heart & soul , sweat & blood in his character.

Kareena Kapoor [ Dr Preet Sahani]: Delivers a strong & hard hitting performance.
Alia Bhatt [ Kumari Pinki]: The show - stealer . With her soiled clothes, freckled skin & perfect bhojpuri twang , Pinky will leave you in tears . How she channels the pain and the incredible strength is searing. From accent to body language, she soars. The petite actress is the film's towering totem.

Diljit Dosanjh [ Sartaz Singh]: Will give you goosebumps. A heartthrob in Punjab, making his Bollywood debut, adds enormously to the authenticity and heft of the film./

Satish Kaushik [ Taaya ji] : deserves a special mention as a caring uncle-cum-manager to Tommy Singh.
A special shoutout to Prabhjyot Singh [ Balli ] , Harpreet Singh [Samsheer ], Pakistani shot put guy, Pehalwan (Swaraj Sandhu), and Tommy’s sidekick cousin – Jassi -- All have delivered noteworthy performances .  Glimpses of Shahid’s real brother, Ishaan Khattar ,  he seems quite promising.

some dialogues from UP :

    dharti banjar, aulad kanjar .(desertified land, progeny vagabond),
    Saare Gabru te sooiyan lagake tight hai, madam Ab Ladies ko hi kuch karna padega na.
    Oh sunlo Bh*nch**on.
    Maal Khatam, Party over, Go home.
    Bass, Ho gayi na ch*tiy**a!
    Baat Aapki Aur Meri Nahi Hai, Yeh Baat Hai Punjab Ki....

Pros : arresting narrative ties Punjab’s drug crisis with its politics. A very engaging screenplay ensures never a dull moment for around 2 hour 30 minutes.Direction, Music, Visual appeal,  powerful, sinewy story with great dramatic flair, The dialogues, mostly in Punjabi , are earthy and rooted in the soil, and eloquently delivered. Several scenes will give you sincere hearty laughs.

Brilliant performance,  nice script & cinematography.


Cons :  Editing appears too abrupt .
Inspiration from Steven Soderbergh's Traffic [2000] -

      ''if the ordinary person’s veins are to remain clean, the head of the supplier must be chopped off.'' 
     frequent equation of Punjab with Mexico, whose war on drugs has spilled out into the streets in often horrific ways.

slang words / 'code words' used for drugs:

    Bhukki means poppy
    kaali nagani means opium
    chitta means Heroin ,
    santra means desi daru ,
    neela ghoda means blue pill [ pain killer ]
    laal ghoda means red pill [ pain killer] , 
    coke means corex cough syrup.

Music : Woof !  Udta Punjab will go down in the history of music as  4 out of six songs talk about the drug addict’s state of mind through innuendos. It has perhaps the first Hindi film song to use the word ‘weed’ .  Background music is laudable. The song Ikk Kudi brings a glimmer of hope in the otherwise dark film.  Dosanjh also lends his singing voice to the film's defining musical piece - a Batalvi poem.


Bottom line :  Udta Punjab is an undeniably magnificent & purposeful film .Watch it  because not many would have dared to touch this problem. The storyline is a journey to be experienced at theatres and not within the confines of your living room.  Udta Punjab is loaded with many high-points – gut-wrenching moments, some comical ones, some will make you angry, some will leave you teary-eyed and some will make you smile. There’s  not a single emotion that this movie won’t make you feel.