Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Writer: Sudip Sharma (screenplay), Abhishek Chaubey (screenplay), Sudip Sharma (dialogue)
Stars: Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh
Runtime: 2h 28min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Released: 17 Jun 2016
Synopsis: What on earth can a rock star, a migrant laborer, a doctor and a cop possibly have in common? Simple, Punjab! 4 lives, 1 connection – ‘Udta Punjab’ takes you on a trip like never before. Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh play characters from different walks of life, fighting the menace of drugs in their own way. The film journeys into the artificial highs and the real lows that they face while treading the paths fraught with mortal dangers. But 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!
A story that revolves around drug abuse in the affluent north Indian State of Punjab and how the youth there have succumbed to it en-masse resulting in a socio-economic decline.
Review: Udta Punjab is a cracker of a title, and the way it opens tells us that it will go on the way it means to: with rolled-up sleeves ready for action, with characters who look as if they belong to Punjab, and speak the lingo right (mostly). Most importantly, it reveals a willingness to go over to the dark side and show what drugs can do. They can ruin. They can kill. They can wish you were not alive.
Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor) is an accidental rock star and a full-time user. He rhymes coke and cock, making a song out of it, and the high-on-the-white-stuff youngsters at his raves love it. He loves it too, 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 Bihari labourer (Alia Bhatt), who has become an unwitting victim in this vicious game, and he stutters, stops and starts to see.
Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) is a corrupt cop, who is quite happy to turn a blind eye to the drug traffic, till one day it comes too close home. The feisty Dr Preet Sahni (Kareena Kapoor Khan), who runs a rehab clinic, becomes the other strong salutary influence on Sartaj, and the film takes an about-turn.
Anyone with half an eye open can see that this is not a film that glorifies drugs. The degradation of Alia’s character, both physical and mental, is horrifying. An addicted teenager’s spiralling down the primrose path is another of the plot’s see-see-this-is-what-drugs-can-do-to-you thread. It gets to the point where you want to say right, we get it, move on.