Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Movie Recommendation: Udta Punjab

Vidit Bhargava

Given all the posters and the promotion, it comes off as a surprise that Udta Punjab's lead actor is Diljit Dosanjh and not Shahid Kapoor, which is possibly a good thing, because Dosanjh so effortlessly fills in his role that he overshadows almost everyone else in the movie.

The good thing about Udta Punjab is that it's an extremely to the point movie. It spends little time beating about the bush, and gets its point conveyed without much frills. Structured around three different people; a rising pop-star, a cop's teenage brother and a farm worker trying to make a quick buck, Udta Punjab tries to talk about the state of drug abuse in the state and how it's more of an internal fight against drugs, instead of just rehabilitation or social awareness. It's a previously un-explored territory and it's dealt with uniqueness.

Having a good idea at hands, Abhishek Chaubey and crew also nail down the setting, set in fictional towns of Punjab, the movie is pretty well researched right down to the slightest of details. The dialogue (much talked about, in the last two weeks) is natural and even though laden with expletives, never feels forced. Amit Trivedi's refreshing music, with a blend of pop and local tunes is a pleasant addition as well.

There's something to be said about the humor in Udta Punjab, even though this is a pretty grim storyline, Chaubey manages to find some light and genuinely funny moments, helped by a terrific performance by Satish Kaushik.

While I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie, Udta Punjab isn't perfect, in fact I felt that the screenplay felt a bit choppy. For a two and half hour long movie, I felt they tried adding too much to the mix, inclined to make the three stories converge, they include subplots that are quite unnecessary, the time could have been used to give depth to the to stories for Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt's Characters, but frankly it's the story about Diljeet Dosanjh's character that matters the most here being the one that most people will relate to.

Udta Punjab is a well made, well intentioned movie. It's definitely worth a watch for it's unconventional storyline, an important story and some brilliant acting. It's also a movie that should be enjoyed at the theatre and not from some shady torrent. Having said that, I did leave the theatre wanting more from Udta Punjab.

Rating : *** ½ (Worth a Watch for it's Story)