Alia steals show, Shahid gives another award winning act in 'Udta Punjab' which presents drug reality of Punjab

 New Delhi : For long Punjab has been presented by Bollywood as the land of 'makki ki roti' and 'sarson ka saag'. Bollywood king of romance Yash Chopra has picturised the state as the 'idyllic' place for romance in 'sarson ke khet'. Abhishek Chaubey's 'Udta Punjab' presents to the cine-going audience a totally contrasting picture of Punjab, one that is in the grip of the spectre of drug abuse that is engulfing youth of the state. The movie comes across as a gripping tale that brings across the state of drug abuse in the state effectively. It deals with the lives of four people dealing with the reality of drug abuse- fading superstar Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor), Bihari immigrant Pinky (Alia Bhatt), a doctor Preet ( Kareena Kapoor Khan ) and a cop Sartaj (Diljit Dosanjh).

The lives of the four people in the film unravels the stark reality of drug abuse in Punjab. Tommy, a fading superstar who needs cocaine for inspiration. Pinky, a Bihari immigrant who works as farm labour and unknowingly comes across drugs substance worth a huge sum. After failing to sell the stash, Pinky is captured by local goons who are also suppliers of drugs.These people also pull her into the addiction. Sartaj, a policeman who works in the narcotics department. He decides to fight against drugs after his younger brother turns out to be an addict . His brother's addiction wakes him up to the four reality of drugs in Punjab. Preet, a doctor who is struggling hard to keep her state clean from drugs by spreading awareness and helping addicts at the rehabilitation centre.

The story of the. film is what happens when these four lives converge at crucial points in their life. The film begins on a promising note. The first half is extremely gripping as the director takes the audience through the stark reality of drug abuse that has engulfed the youth of the state. It shows how the state, once known for it's lush green fields, is in a severe grip of drugs , with a constant supply of drugs being ensured by a mafia operating on both sides of the India-Pakistan border. Abhishek chaubey presents a reality of the state that is both stark and scary. Though the film somewhat slackens in the second half, it has a gripping narrative that makes a fervent plea for urgent steps to rid the state of the drug menace. After 'Ishqiya' and 'Dedh Ishqiya', Chaubey again displays his mastery at portraying the stark reality of drug abuse in Punjab. Through the film, the director makes a strong case for urgent steps to rid the state of the menace and strongly advocates the youth of the state to take a stand against drugs.

In terms of performances, Alia clearly steals the show with her natural act as the Bihari migrant Pinky whose desire for a better life leads her to fall in the grip of drug abuse. She is clearly the highlight of the film. Intact it would not be wrong to say this is Alia's best performance of her career. She shows that her work in 'Highway' was no fluke. As the facing superstar Tommy Singh, who is an icon for the youth but for whom drugs are an inspiration, Shahid comes up with another brilliant performance. It is another award winning act from him after 'Haider'. Daljit Disanj impresses in the role of the police officer who wakes up to the reality if drugs when his brother falls in its grip. Kareena Kapoor Khan's presence in the film was much anticipated. However as the doctor Preet who wants to rid the state if drugs, she fails to impress much, except in a few scenes.

She, however, does lend a glamour element to the film. Satish Kaushik impresses in a brief role as Tayaji. The music of the film and its background score by Amit Trivedi are apt and complement the film. In short, 'Udta Punjab' comes across as a strong statement on the problem of drug abuse in Punjab. It is a call on the authorities to take urgent steps to rid the state of the menace before it is too late. Rating: 4/5 ( one for effective direction by Abhishek chaubey, one for the gripping screenplay, one for brilliant performances by Shahid and Alia and one for the music).

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