Udta Punjab “UDTA PUNJAB” is purposeful and powerful, but not a family entertainer! Dark, bold, profane and effective, this new gem from Phantom productions against drug abuse in the state of Punjab, makes its point loud and extremely clear. Despite an underwhelming first half, this well-constructed and exceptionally enacted film succeeds in its cause, making the audience wait, notice and realize. Go for it, but do not expect delightful entertainment. UDTA PUNJAB is a story that revolves around drug abuse in the affluent North Indian state of Punjab and how the youth there have succumbed to it en-masse, resulting in a socio-economic decline. The makers of UDTA PUNJAB have some balls, being upfront about their opinion and bringing to light the immensely controversial issue of substance abuse. Director/Co-writer Abhishek Chaubey boldly reflects the intricacies of this anti-social activity rampant beneath the hush blanket of high profile politics. The dark theme, ornamented by an equally dark soundtrack, effectively translates onscreen the intentions of its makers – a no-nonsense war against drugs and the Indian drug mafia. The scenes are well thought of and they navigate you surefootedly towards its brilliant climax. Never does the film diverge from its core and is consistently melancholic flavour keeps the film true to its character. The first half, I must admit, seems a little confused about where the plot is headed. However, the second half more than makes up for it with its well-guided drama and an assured plot. The camerawork is just superb, making you feel the dizzying heights (or abysmal lows) of drug-inject. The music, as mentioned above, is absolutely apt for the theme and consistently hits the mark. The film achieves in creating the daunting aura that it so intends to. The performances here are unmatched. Shahid Kapoor as the regretful youth icon, who’s idolized for his drug abusive ways, is unimaginably vivid. He evokes true-to-life images of the vertiginous effects of injected drugs with such adeptness, that you just can’t imagine anyone else replacing him in this role. His depiction is effortlessly natural and truly worthy of the highest praise. Playing a character akin to Yo-Yo Honey Singh, he bravely imparts all he has to offer. Alia Bhatt comes next in line with a performance that’s hardly expected of such a young actor. Her crude look and raw dialect is totally believable and she pulls it off with an ease of a veteran. Simply superb. Kareena Kapoor shines in a rather subtle role and her controlled performance is extremely absorbing. Diljeet Dosanjh in his debut Bollywood role does extremely well. His acting prowess is appreciated nation-wide and with this serious depiction, he proves he’s an actor with real mettle. All others do well to keep this film elevated. In all, UDTA PUNJAB is completely in control of its subject and delivers just what the doctor ordered. Uninhibited and honest, this film should not be missed!