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Udta Punjab: flawed but raw and in your face

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BENGALURU: After facing a censorship controversy and its pre-emptive release on torrent sites, Udta Punjab hit the theatres on June 17.

The film revolves around the drug menace that has taken over the state of Punjab. The central characters are played by Shahid Kapoor (a washed out rock star), Alia Bhatt (a Bihari migrant  woman trapped and abused by drug runners), Kareena Kapoor (a doctor who runs a drug rehabilitation programme) and Diljit Dosanjh (a cop whose son is a victim of drugs).

Shahid Kapoor is Tommy Singh is a cocaine addicted rock star hitting rock bottom. Alia Bhatt, strangely enough, has no which piques one’s curiosity. Diljit Dosanjh is a policeman who tries to crack the drug smugglers’ ring along with  Kareena Kapoor Khan as Dr Preet Sahni.

The movie’s strength is it brings home to viewers across India images and stories of the drug crisis plaguing Punjab and tearing apart the fabric of its society, something very few have seen or experienced.  This helps us distinguish as well as connect fact and fiction about the happenings in Punjab and in the movie.

Shahid Kapoor’s role as Tommy Singh is played to perfection as he turns into a lunatic thanks to his coke habit and his delusions of grandeur even as his career is falling apart.  Alia Bhatt is convincing  in her role as the innocent Bihari who channels the pain and trauma of a young woman stuck in a terrible place. She soars. Diljit Dosanjh has definitely made a mark in Bollywood with his debut and adds to the authenticity of the movie as the cop who decides to go beyond corruption. Kareena Kapoor Khan’s role, though satisfactory, could be played by anyone. One could say she was included in the film just for her star power.

The first half of the movie is fast paced and racy but post-interval it becomes sluggish.  Director Abhishek Chaubey and co-screenwriter Sudip Sharma, in their plot, move the four leads in a strategic manner, as they meld and clash with each other throughout the movie.

Udta Punjab is no doubt an eye opener about the drug situation in Punjab and Chaubey does his best to provide you a heady dose of just that.

Akshitha S

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