Art & Culture

I am a Punjabi and I hated Udta Punjab

Sukant Deepak
Sukant DeepakJun 25, 2016 | 18:31

I am a Punjabi and I hated Udta Punjab

As the first lesson in criticism, let’s talk about all that is good about Udta Punjab: the film is realistic, Punjab’s countryside is shown, as it is - filthy.

For the first time, Alia Bhatt doesn’t act like a demented teenage girl. She is superb, especially in the scene where she stabs her rapist repeatedly. No conversation in the film is complete without a few ornamental curse words - Punjab enough.

Diljit Dosanjh proves that if handled well, he can definitely deliver.

Punjabi boys in gypsies with the sticker "United Colours of Punjab" lower the volume of "Chitta Ve" on Chandigarh’s "geri route" only when they see the cops, so the music is alright too. Remember, the music! We are not talking about the lyrics yet.

For the first time, Alia Bhatt doesn’t act like a demented teenage girl.

Okay, the film was fantastic till the time it was not released - in multiplexes and on torrent. The thought of speaking out and writing on Facebook wall for a movie that was subjected to eccentricities of CFBC made all the sense.

On television channels, producer Anurag Kashyap was the angry young man without the "786 shield". Sexy enough. Director Abhishek Chaubey looked like someone who might have a nervous breakdown anytime. Vulnerability is attractive.

They had to be supported. Many of you in Punjab must have surely ensured that tickets were booked in advance. But then, I am a man who sticks to his resolves. So, no collective viewing for me in Chandigarh/Punjab. After all, enlightened Punjabi young boys are capable of making orgasmic sounds during Aligarh too.

Wait, let’s put a disclaimer here, though a little late: I am a Punjabi, that too a thoroughbred (at least my mother insisted in her sing song Punjabi). So, no hate mails please.

If you’re not a Punjabi, you may be shocked by what is shown in the film. But if you live here, well, maybe relate. After all, even if you go to a big chemist shop asking for a strong painkiller post a motorcycle crash, everybody including the guy behind the counter will start staring.

If you were lucky, one Brufen would be tossed, not before he says, "Get a prescription next time. Keep your money, I don’t have change." Big hearts, we people have.

Coming to the point, Udta Punjab’s DNA is just about average. The director does an Anurag Kashyap + Tigmanshu Dhulia + fights + romance + tragedy. Caught him, he wanted to earn too. But that can be a bit tricky. Look what happened to Nagesh Kukunoor after the brilliant Hyderabad Blues. Common, you got to decide which side you’re on. No?

I would so love to move my two left feet on Amit Trivedi’s music. But have you heard the lyrics of "Chitta Ve" closely? Honey Singh will surely hug the lyricist and address him as sugar. Maybe kiss him on the mouth too.

But Shahid Kapoor takes the cake in the film. The guy seems to be really stuck in the Hamlet syndrome - remember that fantastic Lal Chowk scene in Haider?

So, in this film, he refuses to lower his pitch. Or try another expression. Zero range. Even when kissed hard by Alia. Shahid, that’s not method acting, really. Read a bit of Stanislavsky. Or maybe talk to daddy dear Pankaj Kapoor.

Kudos to the film writers who could not decide if it was a documentary, fiction or a cocktail. And yeah, talking about realism, they made Kapoor cycle more than 100 kilometres to rescue his babe during the peak of substance withdrawal. Love defies biology, don’t we all know that?

But you must be "serious viewer" types, and loving the fact that you have been introduced to the real face of Punjab. Please do yourself a favour. Go to YouTube and watch Glut – The Untold Story of Punjab. So much for all the "research" by the writers of Udta Punjab.

And yes, we all love our cuss words, using a plenty of them doesn’t make anything "realistic".


One can go on and on about what is wrong with the film. And what is right. But I have been told to speak the truth without behaving like someone who writes for a living - not postmortem-ing a movie, starting with the theme, coming to the story, jumping to characters, using some fancy words for acting, talking about the music, design and yeah, relevance of the movie in contemporary times.

Therefore, my real frustration: A woman with lots of greys (some are still intelligent enough not to colour them) was invited home to watch my uncensored torrent copy of the film, even at the risk of missing a deadline. The one who cried the whole night on my shoulder (ok, half the night) watching Amour. This time, all she had to say: "You liar, this is not the uncensored copy. I could see nothing when Shahid unzipped."      

Last updated: June 25, 2016 | 18:33
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