Rating 4.5 / 5.
By now you may have read several reviews, or maybe even seen the movie…so why read this one?
First, this film manages to hold our attention to a problem that is not just Punjab’s but is universal. You may say, well I have never encountered this problem in my own home, so why worry? That’s where the film speaks to us all. Three powerful narratives—two of them involving innocents who don’t do drugs and how their lives are turned upside down by them. The third is told powerfully by Shahid Kapoor, the classic bad boy of rock and roll.
The first narrative is in the voice of Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor), a famous underground pop singer, known for his huge bordering-on-the-vulgar songs about sex and drugs. The second is in the voice of a farm labourer, Mary Jane (Alia Bhatt), who accidentally finds a 3 kg packet of drugs, worth a crore, thrown in from the other side of the border. The third voice belongs to Assistant Sub-Inspector Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh), who discovers his brother is an addict. Sartaj Singh takes help from the director of the drug rehabilitation centre (Kareena Kapoor Khan) and in doing so, learns some bitter truths about the way the industry works in this country. A truth we have so far shied from admitting, but Anurag Kashyap bares no bones about it.
On one hand, the movie takes us through all the drama that it is supposed to, but on the other hand, it also has some memorable dialogue like when Kareena tells Diljit—the bigger war is not fighting the drug lords, it’s about the addicts fighting the menace within them.
At times, the movie seems a bit far fetched but each scene is intricately woven into the story like a beautiful patchwork quilt.
Spoiler alert! This is not a warm, fuzzy movie with a happy romantic ending. It is a dark film with grim shades of truth. The corruption is shown in very realistic terms with no gloss or drama. Only two songs, so no distractions.
The acting is very realistic by all. Kareena again pulls off another role without makeup. Subtle, underplayed a bit, but true to character and no drama, Diljit Singh, as the main protagonist, has an intense, authentic, endearing charm, that will remind you of the Sunny Deol of yore. Shahid, as usual, takes his role very seriously, and gone is the chocolate hero or any traces of it. Here he is a rugged, underground, drug infused pop star, who starts to fight his own battle with addiction. Definitely strong competition to Randeep Hooda. The one person who simply blows you away is Alia Bhatt. Cast as a rustic, semi-literate, Bihari village girl whose life changes after her discovery of the drug packet in the fields, she makes you empathise with each emotion she goes through, even in the darkest of her scenes. Another brilliant performance which will make you see her in a very different light.
The music is good. The two songs have great lyrics and foot tapping music and are an integral part of the movie. For a movie that has a rock singer in the lead, it does not fall into the trap of adding songs where none are required. This is a very good idea.
The movie has also achieved a casting coup of sorts by having Shahid and Kareena together, although they do not share a single frame together.
Overall, it has a pretty international look and feel, especially with the Tarantino style climax.
Go see it!!
Edited by Jhilmil Breckenridge