And yet, for all the flash, dazzle and power of Udta Punjab, the film is ultimately deeply dissatisfying. The pace is uneven and it struggles to do justice to the many strands of the plot. Udta Punjab may be Chaubey’s most ambitious film so far, and even though it’s also his weakest, it’s still head and shoulders above the average Bollywood fare. Go watch it.
Witty and humorous, Udta Punjab works mostly because of its tone and stand against drugs, though the second half is no match for the first. Sometimes though, it appears like an opportunity lost as the narrative keeps dragging in search of closure. The land of lassi and mustard fields isn’t about a romantic duet anymore, and if you don’t act fast… well, watch the movie to find out. There are no reasons not to.
On the whole, UDTA PUNJAB is a dark and serious film that does not offer the traditional entertainment that audiences seek from Bollywood movies. At the same time, it is bold and brave in parts with strong performances by all actors.
Shahid, Alia starrer has flaws, but makes a strong point. This is the kind of film which has something to say, and it says it with both flair and conviction. The two actors who make this thing sing are Diljit and Alia.
Right at the onset the message is clear -- even if preceded by an unusual number of disclaimers -- the only high Abhishek Chaubey’s uncompromising Udta Punjab aims to probe has little to with the gifts of nature but rather the prolonged abuse of it. The experience is so fiercely consuming and staggering, I cannot decide where to begin. Udta Punjab is a wake-up call, an important film and a mighty impressive one at that, carrying a loud anti-drug message.