Despite much noise over the movie allegedly defaming the state, ‘Udta Punjab’ got a largely positive reception in Bathinda on Friday. Barring in some morning shows, the movie’s tickets were not available at most places.
The viewers were overwhelmingly from the younger crowd, in their 20s, and thronged multiplexes. After low occupancy in the first show that started at 9.30am, cinemas halls at Mittal Mall and City Centre Mall recorded almost 100% occupancy in the rest of the shows.
“We have 40% occupancy in the first show, but the rest of the shows in the day are already houseful,” said Sandeep Bansal, duty officer at Big Cinemas, Bathinda, the bastion of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family. The ruling party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had raised objections to the movie, though the CM and his son and deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal have said they were not against it without watching it. Sukhbir’s wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a Union minister, is the Lok Sabha member from Bathinda.
As for the viewers, some found it close to reality, and there were some voices that did not like the explicit language; but most agreed that Punajb’s youth must watch the movie “to see reality”.
Jashanpreet Singh, 18, a student, said the movie presented the grim picture of drug abuse, “which is reality of villages and towns in Punjab these days”. “The nexus of smugglers, police and politicians, which we read about in newspapers, has been aptly presented in the movie,” he said.
Rajinder Goldy, 38, businessmen, said that not only the youth, but the movie “is a must-watch for parents”. “It is not only about drug abuse; the movie also carries the message of de-addiction. The explicit content is a problem but it is not vulgar at all,” he said.
Another viewer Amandeep Singh, 22, a student, said that though the movie brought some bad name to Punjab “but it has shown reality to an extent”.