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Udta Punjab Takes Us On All-Time High



Not the sarso fields carpeted in lush yellow. Not men in colourful turbans and women in multi-coloured salwar-kameez doing the Baisakhi jig.No Bhangra in a film set in Punjab???

This is a Punjab we’ve never seen before.Welcome to the land of the junkies. Punjab has 70 percent drug-abuse rate.Someone with a thick bucolic accent tells us—rather, reads out– at the beginning of  the tumultuous trailer that 70 percent of Punjab is into drugs and if we don’t watch it Punjab will soon become another Mexico.

Barbara Mori main nahin maakhan khayo!

We see Shahid Kapoor in his startling Tommy Singh,the  hooch-addicts’ rock-star avatar ,writhing on the bathroom floor in drugged ecstacy. Good grief! What is this? A long away from your goody-two-shoes that he played in all his clean decent films until VishalBhardwaj converted him into a Kaminey.

But in comparison to Tommy Singh’s antics in Udta Punjab, Shahid’s Kaminey avatar was a Walt Disney cartoon figure.  Tommy is a seriously malfunctional piece. He is a raving screaming snorting drugged demented hedonist .While the cops wait to arrest him he comes out of the bedroom screaming profanities while a girl watching the scene topples off her chair in amusement.

I am not too sure we share her amusement.

Shahid  also gets walloped and abused by Diljit Dosanjh in police lock-up who accuses him of ruining the youth of Punjab .Shahid plays a very desi Honey Singh version of  Jim Morrison.

Then there is Alia Bhatt, hockey stick in hand sporting what sounds like a Bihari accent, a little too thick to be convincing. But full marks to the girl for making an effort to play someone so alien to her personality so early in her career. Alia also gets to scream a major Hindi profanity which she does  with disturbing conviction.

I see  major scuffles with the censor board.

The trailer of Udta Punjab is helmed by a hallucinatory heft. It spins forward in a  stream of disjointed visuals and dialogues indicating the drugged state of a nation hellbent on damnation.It would be interesting to see how director Abhishek Choubey brings the four principal characters together…or whether they come together at all.

Kareena Kapoor playing a doctor is the one positive character I spotted in the trailer.She looks particularly angelic among the doped out characters.She is heard  wondering aloud to visibly-besotted cop Dilip Dosanjh how non-prescription drugs make their way for addictive purposes.

Yes, you tell us.

“All the men are injected and zonked out. It’s up to the ladies to do something,” Dosanjhplaying the drug-busting cop tells Kareena Kapoor.

Dosanjh by the way, has the most convincing Punjabi accent in the trailer.

I wonder why!

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