UDA AIDA: A cinematic tour-de-force
I’ve been a fan of Ksshitij Chaudhary and Naresh Kathooria – the famous director-writer duo of Punjabi cinema since Jatts in Golmaal (2013) days. Together these two makers have given us superhit comic films like Mr and Mrs 420 series and Vekh Barataan Challiyaan and had established themselves as two of the best creative personalities of Punjabi cinema that specialize in giving laughter riots.
However, after watching UDA AIDA, my opinion about them has drastically changed! The ones I perceived as being the experts in churning out comic capers one after another, have taken the whole industry by storm by delivering a film that’s likely to be remembered as one of the best films ever made in the history of Punjabi cinema. A masterpiece, a timeless classic, UDA AIDA shall be remembered forever!
A film based on the gradual extinction of Punjabi language from schools and the humiliation one has to go through if one doesn’t know “English” despite their otherwise meritorious distinctions, UDA AIDA showcases the reality of today’s Punjabi generation, their parents and society as a whole. The best part is that it is written in such a mature manner that nowhere does one feel that the film is exaggerating the reality in any way. Nowhere do you feel that the film is unnecessarily trying to assert the importance of Punjabi, or emotionally blackmailing you to feel guilty. The director has handled the subject judiciously, and has nowhere taken any kind of meaningless creative liberties to emphasize his vision. Only a director of the caliber of Ksshitij Chaudhary can accomplish such feat so brilliantly, supported so well by Naresh Kathooria – the writer and one of the producers as well.
Without talking much about the plot, UDA AIDA is a film which doesn’t have your typical ‘hero or heroine’. It is a story of one family and hats off to actors like Neeru Bajwa and Tarsem Jassar for playing the role of parents of about a 10-year-old kid with such elan! The helplessness seen on Neeru and Tarsem’s faces, their faces filled with humiliation when confronted by unforgiving school authorities, the dream in their eyes for their only child, the exhilaration that they experience when their child gets admitted to the school of the mother’s choice after all the struggles – all speak volumes about the massive talent that these two possess. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Neeru displayed a performance of a lifetime with UDA AIDA and she also gave a tight slap to those who make fun of her accented dialogues. Perhaps, one needs a director like Chaudhary to extract such brilliance from their actors.
After Neeru and Tarsem’s chemistry, another one worth mentioning is the one shared between B.N. Sharma and Gurpreet Ghuggi. They make you laugh with their close-to-reality dialogues, nothing slapstick and loud, only situational! I am sure the duo would’ve loved to do something different in this film.
Special mention to all the kids – especially the lead ‘Aman’ (Ansh), who one can’t stop applauding for when he experiences sadness and guilt. Equal praise for the kid who plays his cousin back in village!
Anything worth improving?
I didn’t quite like Poppy Jabbal’s character. While other school staff wore school uniform, she looked as if she had come to a fashion parade – seen wearing minis and jumpsuits mostly, and speaking in English even to villagers, who she knows well are not able to understand her.
Finally, a standing ovation to the producers – Rrupaali Gupta of Friday Russh Motion Pictures, (includes Naresh Kathooria and Ksshitij Chaudhary too) for attempting such a meaningful subject in such a terrific way onscreen. This film is a must-watch for being a family entertainer in actual sense of the word with its ‘content being its king’. Sure-shot blockbuster, UDA AIDA is a film that you can’t afford to miss at any cost.