My first thought after watching Udta Punjab? What if my child will also….? Yes, this movie is so true and so bleak that you cringe, grunt, wince, grumble and as a new/old/whichever age parent, get really terrified! So much so that I came out of the theatre with the aim to tell my infant daughter right away what an evil these drugs are!
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This is not an exceptional movie per se…the storyline gets slackened somewhere, the shots sometimes jarring and disconnected and the ending very Ishiqiyaish. But, the non-fictional premise (inspite of the disclaimers ;), amazing performances and the loud and clear message ensures you are hooked on till the last scene.
The movie opens with the swaying of tall green trees amidst the vast fields in the dead of night already creating an ambience that this is no cheery feel-good movie. A packet lands in the hands of the migrant Bihari labourer cum hockey player (Alia) changingher life and her idea of achcha time forever! Meanwhile, Tommy Singh, the Gabru, the eccentric tattooed, the winged shoed, heroine snorting pop king (Shahid Kapoor) becomes the face and the target of this drug menace infecting this once prosperous land of five rivers. The immoral corrupt assistant inspector Sartaj (Diljeet Dosanjh) turns into in-the-system crusader because of his addict younger brother with Kareena’s daring Dr. Preet Sahni showing him the way forward.
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This one is clearly the best of Alia till date! The pain in her empty eyes with that still a glimmer of hope for her good times to come.. bitten by life but still not beaten down, this gutsy girl is surely going to go places!
Shahid brings in the punk and the desired distress to Tommy and commands the screen each time he is there but his transformation from a growling “I am the gabru” to self-confessed fuddu, felt sudden. And, the coming together scene between him and Alia was more funny than stirring.
The shortest of all lead roles, Kareena’s Preet (Doctor and rehabilitator) brings in the much needed hope and luminosity in this otherwise gloomy panorama. The real star though was Dosanjh from being completely corrupt cop to an adorable brother and then hopelessly in love with the perfect madamji. His “Good morning to you”, “Thank you” and “sissdy” (CCD) reference to all cafes gave us chuckles more than Tommy’s coke-cock rap! 😛
Special mention to the entire supporting cast from the senior cop to the languishing junkies to Sartaj’s younger brother making it all the more realistic for us! And yes my favourite Amit Trivedi, his music brings in both the rogue and folkish feel to this zany landscape.
My last thought? What exactly was CBFC’s problem with the movie?