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Drugs Di Maa Di! Review of Udta Punjab

June 20, 2016

Thanks to the Supreme Court of India, Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh starrer film "Udta Punjab" has been released in theatres on the scheduled date. Interestingly, this film has a catch-line "Drugs Di Maa Di!". Using slang words or phrase in any catch-line is a rare phenomenon in the Hindi movies. I've heard though, excessive slang words in the dialogs of the recent Hindi and even Bengali movies. "LOC Kargil", "Jab We Met" and "Baishe Srabon" are such examples. In "Udta Punjab", almost every character has thrown selected and commonly used Punjabi slang words in most of the scenes. Apparently, "Drugs Di Maa Di" looks innocent but whenever you see or hear "Maa Di" or "Maa Ki", your sixth sense tells you that it's a part of a slang phrase. This phrase also reminds me of a small incident of my life. A few years ago, I was once making a conversation with a girl of my team in our office. She was a sweet Punjabi girl. Now I don't remember the onset but when I spoke the word "London" in my typical Bengali accent, she said "what?". I repeated the word "London!". She responded with little irritation "what?". I was little embarrassed but reiterated "London, the capital of UK! You know". Then she replied with a relieved face, "Oh! You mean London, the city". I was baffled but within a few days, I figured out the exact reason behind her excitement. The Script Writer of "Udta Punjab" has also used other selected Punjabi slangs which mean "Mother F***er", "Sister F***er" and many more. I guess, exceedingly usage of slang words, is the reason that the Censor Board (CBFC) of which, the present Chairman is that famous (read notorious) Pahlaj Nihalani, has released the film with an "A" certificate. As a matter of fact, the SC ordered the Censor Board to release the film with only one cut, a couple of disclaimers and the certificate. Censor Board just followed that direction. I've seen the trailer in which there was an urination scene of Shahid Kapoor. But when the production house sent the film to Censor Board, they suggested 89 cuts including that urination scene and the removal of the word “Punjab” from the title as if it is defaming the image of Punjab. If the Censor Board had objections against the urination scene, then why was it allowed by them in the first place?

The making of "Udta Punjab" is indeed a daring effort when it comes to choosing the subject of that film or any film for that matter. Many film Directors love to work on various socio-economic or socio-political issues in India. Director Abhishek Chaubey was not one of them prior to making this movie. But I must admit that he has successfully conveyed the message to the audience. The message is clear and it loudly says that drug trafficking and drug addiction among young people are the burning issues in Punjab these days. If the necessary actions against this menace are not taken, it will soon destroy the future of a whole generation in Punjab. The state will go to election in 2017. The political party which is currently in power, obviously won't let anybody or anything to uncover or raise this issue which has been making them really uncomfortable time and again. Their major concern is that the opposition parties might use this issue effectively against them in the forthcoming assembly election. It’s not unusual that all political parties will deny their failure and try to convince you that raising any such issue will defame the image of the state and in this case, Punjab. I am not sure about the connection but surprisingly it was Pahlaj Nihalani who made such comments on behalf of the ruling party of Punjab. He even said that Arvind Kejriwal, the present CM of Delhi, has produced "Udta Punjab". Bizarre theory!!! Pahlaj Nihalani had to suffer defeat and couldn't succeed to stop "Udta Punjab" from releasing. His office now has to deal with another new allegation of leaking the uncut version of "Udta Punjab" on the Internet before its official release. Be it the release of the last Bond movie "Spectre" or this "Udta Punjab", Pahlaj Nihalani has found himself in controversies very often since he was appointed as the chairman of the Censor Board. Pahlaj Nihalani cut the kissing scenes in "Spectre" which was ridiculed by the cine fraternity in India by projecting the hero James Bond as Sanskari Bond on social media.

Even though I am not a fan of Anurag Kashyap who is one of the Producers of "Udta Punjab", but when he defended "Udta Punjab" and shared his view with media persons, I trusted him because of his clear point of views. On the other hand, Pahlaj Nihalani made himself a laughing stock by passing some absurd remarks. I haven't watched too many movies directed by Anurag Kashyap but I have watched the trailer of his upcoming film "Raman Raghav 2.0". Both the title and the trailer seem little weird to me. I think Anurag Kashyap likes to bring out the stories about the dark shades of society and human nature. Perhaps "Udta Punjab" was also his pet project but maybe he couldn't direct it because of his other commitments.

Let's discuss about the story of "Udta Punjab". There is no particular story in this film. Four leading characters are living their individual lives on their own and finally all of them fight the same battle against a common enemy. But their struggles and the war against drugs have been presented so nicely that the audience gets attached with this fusion kind of story. Tommy Singh aka Gabru (played by Shahid Kapoor) is a popular Punjabi Rock Singer who sings for young people. His music glorifies the madness of youth and the fun of taking drugs by them. Tommy himself is a drug addict too. People believe that Tommy's music is encouraging young people for taking more drugs. One day Tommy got arrested and that proves to be the turning point which changes his life completely. He understands that he needs to get rid of this addiction of drugs. He refuses to take drugs but faces consequences both mentally and physically. He now finds it hard to sing for his fans. This addiction would have ruined his career one day any way, had he decided to go on and not saving himself from this menace. We have seen a similar story in the movie "Aashiqui 2" directed by Mohit Suri. The hero Rahul Jaykar who was also an alcoholic Singer, fought his battle against his addiction. Like Rahul, our Tommy also felt vulnerable that he was getting torn apart from inside as soon as he decided to throw away drugs. Tommy needed friendly support and love to get over with his hurdles. That love came to him as a surprise. When Tommy was running away from some goons, an unknown girl (played by Alia Bhatt) came to his rescue, helped him to hide and even fought with the goons. Tommy falls in love instantly and finds a purpose to live for. This girl who was once the member of Jharkhand's champion hockey team, moved to Punjab as a farm labourer in order to get her family out of poverty. Eventually she also fought the battle against drugs in her own way. Sartaj Singh (played by Diljit Dosanjh) is a police sub inspector who has compromised with his honesty for the corrupt system. But when he found his little brother Bali (played by Master Prabhjyot Singh) hospitalised due to drug over dozing, his conscience woke up and told him to do his duty. Bali was saved and taken care of by Dr. Preet Sahni (played by Kareena Kapoor) who runs a drug rehabilitation clinic and also fights against drugs. Both Sartaj and Preet decided to take down the drugs racket. Rest of the story is little terrible and doesn't give us a happy ending. But the drug racket got busted in the climax.

Alia Bhatt is new in the film industry and yet, has shown a great deal of maturity in her acting which has made me a fan of her acting. Any new actresses also being the younger daughter of the renowned film Director Mahesh Bhatt, should have chosen a glamorous path to shine her filmy career but instead, she has taken the challenging path. She has established her presence on solid ground as she is performing her best in these versatile roles. Shahid Kapoor is a senior actor but even he has surprised me with his crazy yet natural acting. Kareena Kapoor and the debutant Diljit Dosanjh's acting is good but not that special. But I like this character Tayaji (played by veteran actor Satish Kaushik). He has delivered an excellent performance in this cameo role.

Two soundtracks "Chitta Ve" and "Ud-Daa Punjab" are already gaining popularity. Actor cum Singer Diljit Dosanjh has also sung a song "Ikk Kudi". I cannot resist myself to mention one last thing that when I saw the name of the Editor Meghna Sen in the title sequence, it made me proud.

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