News Helpline | February, 21 2014
Verdict : Highway is a road movie with a difference, Those who are willing to watch something different in terms of a script, performance, technical values can certainly take a shot at “Highway”. _________________________________________________________________________
“Highway” is directed by Imtiaz Ali who gave us films like “Socha Na Tha”, “Jab We Met”, “Love Aaj Kal” and “Rockstar”. The common thread running amongst his films is about relationships set in an urban milieu and one of his biggest strengths has been capturing the nuances of these relationships. This time around Ali takes a different route & comes up with an offbeat film like “Highway” which is about a unique relationship between two contrasting individuals.
The one-line story of “Highway” is about Veera Tripathi (Alia), the daughter of a rich and powerful Delhi businessman, and her captor Mahabir (Randeep Hooda). The film starts off in the midst of the preparations for Veera’s marriage who decides to sneak out on a midnight drive to the outskirts of Delhi alongwith with her fiancé. The ride ends with a bang literally as Veera ends up witnessing a violent robbery by Mahabir and his gang who decide to take her captive. Once Mahabir realizes that Veera is a hi-profile captive, he decides to take Veera across different states to evade the police only to realize that Veera is more than happy to come along instead of trying to escape. The rest of the film is about how these two contrasting personalities, the violent Mahabir and the childish Veera, build a unique relationship based on their troubled lives.
Surprisingly, the one-film old Alia Bhatt is the biggest plus for “Highway”. Veera is a complex character underneath the veneer of a spoilt brat and Alia nails her character perfectly. Alia’s child-woman persona suits Veera and she manages to pull off the intense emotional scenes easily. Randeep as the brooding Mahabir is excellent and he looks the part of a Haryanvi gangster thanks to his body-language and lingo.
Despite a wafer-thin plot centered on two characters and nothing happening for certain stretches, Ali keeps the narrative tight by focusing on the changing equations between Veera and Mahabir. Ali’s films are known for their sparkling conversations between the characters and he doesn’t disappoint here as well.
Where “Highway” flounders is with its running time since the second half seems to be stretched thanks to its thin plot. While the first half is well paced by establishing the characters, the second half is mostly focused on the leads and this is where Ali could have reduced the running time. Apart from that, audiences looking for entertainment will be disappointed.
The cinematography by Anil Mehta is breathtaking as it captures the different the beauty of the many locales in the film be it the snow-capped peaks of Kashmir, the rugged terrains of Haryana or claustrophobic confines of their hide-outs. Ali & A R Rahman who had earlier collaborated on the hugely successful soundtrack for “Rockstar” team up to give an eclectic soundtrack. All the songs play in the background and come in at the right moments. Resul Pookutty’s sound design ensures that every ambient sound is picked up to give a realistic feel.
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