Today I watched Udta Punjab. I found it to be a bold treatise on the drug mayhem (I would not euphemise it by calling it “scene”) being played out in the plains of Punjab. It has spread its tentacles so deep into the society that almost everyone has a cousin or a nephew (if not a son or a sibling) who has a pathological addiction to drugs, causing widespread familial disruption and economic ruin. The movie thrilled but was not a thriller, it definitely talked about the “high” but did so without glorifying it, and it made me laugh out loud on countless occasions, but was definitely not a comedy. I would describe it as an accurate portrayal of the state of affairs, the convergence of the venal and the immoral that stalks the youth today and has already been imbibed by the society.
It portrays how even a silent spectator is indirectly responsible for the flagrant corruption of life. It unapologetically shows a lead actress stabbing a man on the face repeatedly till the life passed out of him, and you feel a strange tingling of elation. It depicts an addicted boy of not more than 13 overdosing himself, lying in his own vomit, and his elder brother believing that it must be his friends who forced him this one time, “humara Balli to acha ladka hai”. It is unapologetic about a lead actress getting raped repeatedly, and the other being stabbed to death by a junkie in a fit of desperation. It is unapologetic about a lead actor becoming a part of the system by accepting a regular bribe for turning a blind eye towards drugs being transported, unknowingly for the very drug which destroys his own brother’s life, and the other actor basking in his own pool of vanity, arrogance and puke. It is as unapologetic as real life can be, and therein lies the impact. Watch this movie even if you've read this review despite a spoiler alert, as the strength of this piece of art is not in its storyline but in its direction, dialogues and acting. Give the movie makers an honest day's earning and watch it in the theatres rather than the leaked print. If you've ever watched something for its in-your-face brutal honesty, this movie is for you.