THERE was a lot of controversy before the release of Udta Punjab, with the Indian censor board unsuccessfully trying to implement loads of cuts. However, the drama about drug addiction made it to cinemas largely unscathed and thankfully so, because it is by far the best Bollywood film released this year.
The episodic Punjab-set drama tells the story of a rock star (Tommy Singh), whose life spirals out of control due to drug addiction, a doctor (Kareena Kapoor Khan) helping addicts and a young girl (Alia Bhatt) who is trapped by the drug mafia. There is also a police officer (Diljit Dosanjh) wanting to do the right thing while having to deal with his younger brother being an addict.
The powerful story grabs hold of audiences from the opening scene and keeps a tight grip until the end with eye-opening stories that overlap one another. They tackle the drug epidemic in Punjab head on and looks at it from varied points of view, from kids getting hooked to corrupt police officers and powerful drug lords.
The well-directed drama has stand-out turns from the entire cast with Alia and Diljit delivering career-best performances.
Ultimately this is a brutal, brave, bold and brilliant film you will be thinking about long after it has ended.