As ‘Udta Punjab’ clocked five years since its release in 2016, the film’s screenwriter Sudip Sharma revealed that lead actor Shahid Kapoor was not the primary choice.
In an interview with Film Companion, Sudip stated that the makers once considered Oscar-nominated actor Riz Ahmed for the role of Tommy Singh.
For those unversed, Ahmed was the first Muslim actor to be nominated in the lead actor category at the 93rd annual Academy Awards for ‘Sound of Metal’.
‘Sound Of Metal’ narrates the story of a drummer and former heroin addict Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed) coping up with his deteriorating hearing, which emerges as a threat to his music career.
The film shows his attempts to cope with the loss, time spent getting to know the realities of the community and his attempt to reclaim his life.
Sharma said, "We also dabbled with the idea of Riz Ahmed at one point of time. We never thought of a Bollywood actor for that role. We thought, why don’t we go for a British-South Asian character? Because we really wanted that whole London thing in it. And Riz is a great actor. He wasn’t that big a star, so we weren’t being that unrealistic and foolish about it. I remember calling Abhishek and saying, ‘Yaar, aap please picture dekho, he’s outstanding and he can really fit Tommy’s part.’ Wishes can be horses when you’re casting."
'Udta Punjab', also featured Alia Bhatt, who played the role of Bihari migrant in the multi-starrer movie.
Directed by Abhishek Chaubey, 'Udta Punjab' also featured Diljit Dosanjh and Kareena Kapoor Khan. The movie revolves around drug abuse by the youth in the state of Punjab.
It wasn't easy for makers to release the film. They had faced several hurdles. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) demanded a total of 89 cuts, forcing producers to move to the Bombay High Court.
In the end, the decision came in favour of the makers. The Bombay High Court had directed the CBFC to issue an 'A' certificate to the movie with the deletion of one scene and a modified disclaimer.