Udta Punjab (2016)

Director Abhishek Chaubey gives us his third outing after Ishqiya and Dedh Ishqiya. He has written and assisted a host of other layered films. It is grim, dealing with the reality of a difficult subject by all groups involved.

I am going to breakdown the review by performances, because each one is worthy of mention. I start with Alia Bhatt. Her journey, though tragic, is full of hope for those who want to fight addiction. The makers haven’t resorted to any meaningless display. There is enough for the imagination to feel her anguish.

Shahid Kapoor is his best eccentric self. An accidental rockstar, he represents many like him, who are lost in the labyrinth of drugs. He is self obsessed and dependant, but eventually evolves. His uncle played by the talented Satish Kaushik is representative of the many adults who put a veil on the reality of their kids. He is supportive of his evolution but also of his destruction.

Kareena Kapoor Khan is refreshing in a strong character role. She has a solid attitude without any qualms or fears. It was a delight to watch her real talent being tapped without any head tossing or melodramatic gestures. She shows she is a mature actor, the face of many in the war against drugs.

New actor Diljit Dosanjh represents the vulnerable, wayward and corrupt ways of the law which have to unite in the war against drugs. The fact that anyone tried to ban or censor anything in this film is proof that the reality was being suppressed. But Truth always Triumphs.

Bravo to the producers who stuck their battle and the Supreme Court for passing it with a minor edit. The language takes a little getting used to but it isn’t there for effect. It’s the harsh truth. This could be the plight of ANY drug user in ANY state of India and all those who facilitate it and fight it.

4/5

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