Glint Star *****
After the huge drama and controversy over Udta Punjab certification, my only fear was the movie turning out to be a damp squib. But with the Ishqiya fame Abhishek Choubey writing as well as directing, and Phantom Films in charge of production, the movie missing the mark was unlikely. And they’ve hit the bull’s eye with this one. Udta Punjab is a movie worth fighting for. It is a writer’s and a scriptwriter’s film. Superbly etched out characters, pacy and intriguing scenes brilliantly written and interwoven, Choubey has added another feather in his cap as a filmmaker with this masterpiece.
Before I come back to Abhishek Choubey, let me give my two-bit on Udta Punjab, scribbled on my iPhone Notes while watching the movie. When I like a film, I tend to like it as a whole. So along with the writing – the acting, music, lyrics, camera and editing, all score big pluses.
Alia Bhatt has come up with a stunning performance once again, worthy of a national award, as her co-star Shahid Kapoor also suggested in the euphoria of the film finally getting released. She plays a Bihari migrant labourer. I’m no one to judge her language or dialect, but her expressions and pauses kept me glued in search of any flaw but I just remained glued – couldn’t find any. The make-up to give her that de-glam look is also spot on.
Shahid Kapoor is playing a rockstar addicted to drugs. With no reference point for me to judge a drug addict’s antics, I can only say that the Kaminey actor has come up with an adequate performance. Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh, making his acting debut as a cop, makes his presence felt. All the others, even in small roles, have very well defined characters; which they’ve played with immense conviction. Prabhjyot Singh, who plays Daljit’s drug addict brother, is one such stand out performer.
The censor board war and victory had put the spotlight on all the wrong people but today is the day to celebrate the talent of one man and his vision – Abhishek Chaubey. The writer/director has learnt his craft from the very best in the industry. Abhishek has been an assistant to Vishal Bharadwaj since 2002 and has co-written movies like Omkara and Kaminey . His first film as director – Ishqiya, which got both critical acclaim and box office success, was produced by Vishal Bharadwaj. Although Abhishek was not convinced of a sequel, but the producers and Naseeruddin Shah saw so much potential in the idea that Dedh Ishqiya became Abhishek’s second directorial venture. Udta Punjab is Abhishek Chaubey’s third film as a director .
The only jarring note is the not so subtle similarity between the lead character Tommy Singh and real life artiste Honey Singh. Tommy Singh has a huge fan following and sings about drugs just like Yo Yo Honey Singh’s lyrics are all about alcohol. To infer that the spurt in drug abuse is due to the youth following their role model rock star’s lifestyle is a bit too simplistic. But can’t wait for Abhishek’s next offering.
By Rajesh Sahu