As today was my Birthday, and there was lot of hue and cry about Udta Punjab, I dragged my Dad to K-Star Mall in Chembur. Initially, we planned to watch Now you see me - 2, then Dad was not so keen to watch an English language movie, so I switched to Udta Punjab at the last moment, that was right before I was in the line to buy tickets to the movie.
The movie was about to start at 3:25 p.m., but Trailers and Statutory Warnings took a good 20 minutes, so the movie started around 3: 50ish. The security was as usual high-handed, asking me if I re-enter the theatre once the ticket has been torn, I don't know what the Security Guard's problem was! But this isn't about the theatre but the movie, which was supposed to show the realistic picture or part-fiction, part-reality of the drug problems prevalent in Punjab.
The name Udta Punjab suggests the whole state is "high" on drugs. They took ideas which, I thought people knew already and I was so wrong, that the drug is flourishing because of "Porus Border" which Punjab shares with Pakistan. Furthermore, how youths who had gone to Birmingham and other places in U.K. and Canada (Kanneda, that's how they say it in Punjabi) had gotten under wrong influence of drugs, music, and how they are able to influence the youth in wrong way, and how they go to any lengths to procure drugs as there is no other way out. The movie contains lot of MC's and BC's, no wonder the Censor Chief was against the movie, with some 86 cuts as reported in the media.
So Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor) is pop fu***** star at 22 something like Justin Bieber, while Alia Bhat plays an aspiring district level hockey player whose aim was to play at state level, before they hooked her to the needle; who works as a contract labourer in one of the drug peddler's relatives/friends house; she is never shown as playing hockey as that wasn't the main aim of the movie. Also, both of the above actors are coupled together, I guess after Shandaar, which I didn't watch, they have come back again together. They do offer some comic moments while running away from the villains lair. While Diljit plays a corrupt cop, whose life changes after his younger brother billu (don't remember his name) is saved by Kareena K. Khan (Madam ji) lovingly called by Satraj (Diljit). They both are coupled together. Together, they set to search, archive, and create a case against Drug Mafia prevalent in rural punjab, which they successfully do and she has also made a report which they plan to present to Election Commission in Amritsar, as the elections were looming then and the vote bank was enticed with illicit synthetic drugs before she gets killed by billu, :(
who was planning to escape the rehab clinic which was headed by our beloved Madamji :) However, the police comes to the spot headed by head inspector of now clean Satraj, who take billu to the safehouse where Alia Bhatt is holed up. Also, accompanying him is Satraj as his boss has got the report while he was faking the whole murder as some robbery. Alia Bhatt is holed up here as she fixes a deal with the perpetrator and then as her conscious comes up she empties the content into a well, so now the villains use as a sex servant because she has to repay the lost amount, around 3000 Kilos, where 10 gms cost you 10,000 /- which amounts to roughly 1 Crore. Now Tommy has change of heart as she saves him from goons; when he flashes his cock on the stage at an Anti-drugs concert. So he rides some 108 Kms on a bicycle (Kalaghoda) to the villains outhouse to rescue his lady love, which he is able to do with the help of Diljit D.
The movie does have a happy ending but in a twisted way. Alia and the rest of Tommy's gang is in Goa, she is good swimmer, those scenes were not CGI. The movie focuses on Alia a lit bit more. Tommy is in Ukraine, Kiev, must be snorting or in rehab, I guess the former. Satraj's brother is shown repenting by his crying voice in the background because he of his killing of his brother's ladylove.
Kareena was as usual her cool self, playing a doctor, and diljith was sincere in his perfromance. Alia was loud, I guess, she has lots of fans in the theater, I was quite surprised. Shahid as a rap artist, Tommy - whose the Gabru, which is a translation for American's slang, Whose your daddy, with okay affects. Satish Kaushik is the secretary, who gets into the skin of the character.
Overall an okay watch, this was Bollywood's answer to Mexican-American drug mafia movies made in Hollywood like Siciario, Narcos and the elk. If you're okay with Anurag Kashyap's genre of movies which have Mc's and Bc's like Gangs of Wasseypur, which I didn't watch, then you go for the movie.
The movie has an average script well supported by a lead star cast, who ably perform well under the director Fernando Meirelles tutelage. This is based on John la Carre novels. Rachel Weisz plays Tessa, wife of Justin Quayle played by Ralph Fieness who is interested in gardening, hence the name, "The Constant Gardener". The movie deals with the delicate topic of Clinical trials conducted by multi-national companies on innocent people in far-flung countries were they are devoid of any rules, and even if there are any, it's easy to bend them as per their convenience. Even though it is not clear who supervises the kill order on Justin Quayle, it has to be Sandy, because they don't show the face of the man, except a British voice welcomes him. Overall, a good watch, with Ralph Fieness as a nice, reticent man and his wife played by Rachel Weisz who is completely opposite of him, added with a mixture of corporate clinical trials drama thrown in for a very good measure.
One can watch it for camaraderie between the lead characters. Although it did have a message in it, it could have been better, considering how viewers and critics have slammed this movie. However, the show stealer has to be Lenore (Aubery Plaza) who plays the role of bimbette in a thorough manner.
It had a good star cast to support an average script. More importantly, one needs to be tuned till the end, to see the twist. However, the reason I watched this movie was because someone told me Shahrukh Khan Starrer, "Happy New Year" was based on this Hollywood flick. It was an average movie, with a great star cast, and original locations.