Finally the wait is over .. Diljit Dosanjh is all set to make his Bollywood Debut with Udta Punjab - read our review on the Movie here!
Bhangra icon Diljit Dosanjh’s debut in Bollywood hasn’t come easy. As a turbaned Sikh, many told him that his ‘look’ wouldn’t be welcomed in Bollywood. He proved them wrong when he was cast in the multi-starrer “Udta Punjab” alongside Bollywood superstars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. But alas, there was more woe in store for the Punjabi singer turned actor.
The film, which highlights the impact and menace of drug abuse on society, was facing trouble. Two weeks before its scheduled release the Central Board of Film Certification refused to pass the film for general release unless 89 cuts were made citing that the themes dealt with in the film were too mature for the general audience. Some politicians from Punjab came out against the movie accusing the director and producer of disrespecting the people and culture of Punjab. A NGO based in Jalandhar threatened to sue the production company if they released the film as it felt the movie depicted Punjab and all Punjabi’s as drug abusers. So what exactly are the issues in the film and why has it faced so much criticism especially as it isn’t the first film to have been made about drug abuse in Indian society.
Much of the criticism seems to have been politically motivated. It is important to note that Punjab Assembly elections are scheduled for 2017. One issue, which has cropped up again and again over the past few years has been the rampant drug abuse in Punjab. Many have been quick to quote the statistic that over 70% of Punjab’s youth is addicted to drugs (though this has never been proven by any report or study). Drug lords arrested in the past few years have openly talked about patronage they have received of some senior high profile politicians. With the opposition political parties gunning for the Punjab Government over the drugs issue, the release of “Udta Punjab” in the run up to the elections has definitely ruffled some feathers.
The film itself aims to spread awareness about drugs on the youth and society in general. The film does have very strong language from the outset and has strong violence and references of sexual nature. So obviously it's not a "family film" or suitable for younger viewers but that does not take anything away from the movie. In fact, it further creates a realistic version of Punjab. The film shares the message that to save Punjab, the battle must not be against those who fall prey to drug abuse, but against those who manufacture and supply it. It advocates the need to take on the system which provides patronage to those who ruining the land of the five rivers.
Shahid Kapoor, who plays the drug fuelled rock star Tommy Singh and Alia Bhatt who plays the role of a young immigrant from Bihar, are superb. Not only do they brilliantly portray the characters of people who become addicted to drugs but also the internal struggle they deal with in overcoming the said addiction.
Kareena Kapoor Khan gives a sterling performance as a Doctor fighting against drugs abuse whilst Diljit Dosanjh shares screen space with the bollywood superstars very comfortably, proving that he is just as good as the rest.
Towards the end of the film, one of the villians describes Punjab as "the lands are dry and the kids are high," adding that there is no way that Punjab can be saved now. Unfortunately many in real life may agree with that. But Udta Punjab is an attempt at reawakening our consciousness so that maybe, just maybe...Punjab may fly again.