Highway - Review
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When was the last time you stumped yourself? When was the last time you bumped into something and enjoyed it, something that you never imagined would give you pleasure? That feeling of newness, that blissful ecstasy, why would you want to ever let go of that? This is what you experience with Veera (Alia Bhatt). You experience her pain too. Yet, Highway leaves you a little wanting and doesn't make you a part of its journey, 100%.
Alia Bhatt is gorgeous. I had to say that out first. It's not the Barbie doll look from Student of the Year, it's not her cuteness, she is a gorgeous actor. If you'd have told me after watching her debut that she can fill the screen with her presence, making me feel her pain and exuberance equally (in one shot, that too!), I wouldn't have scoffed at you, but I would've snickered internally for sure.
From the first shot you can tell this young lady means business - Her disdain and genuine boredom are apparent and then she takes you along with her, through a myriad of emotions. Her comic timing is perfect. Some of her lines could have sounded so silly, if they weren't delivered with the ease that she has being Veera.
And for Veera alone you could watch Highway. She's crazy, not eccentric. She's bound by society's "good girl" tag and doesn't realise she could feel as free she feels when she's kidnapped accidentally. There are a couple of scenes that point at social menaces that need to be addressed pronto.
I hate to undermine their importance, but these scenes do seem a little out-of-place within the context of the film. They disconnect you from Veera's journey though they are an integral part of it. Surely, Alia Bhatt cannot be blamed for that, her long (background-score-less!) shots in these scenes are something I haven't seen in a long time. The disconnect is more to do with how it's placed in the film. Individually, the scenes are great but when they run as a part of the story, they look like they've come out of the blue.
Similarly, even though Randeep Hooda has done a wonderful job with his brooding, disgruntled, helpless, contract killer Mahaveer, the chemistry is missing as a couple. Maybe this disjointed chemistry is intentional, they are an unlikely couple - a hooligan from a village and a city-bred, rich girl belonging to a well-known and powerful family. Yet, for a romance to kick in, for you to root for it and not the individual characters, you need to believe they are in love with each other - this is missing in Highway.
Highway's beauty, along with the mesmerizing landscapes and minimal use of background music (and lovely folklore when it is used), is its pace. It is slow and keeps you engaged. It builds up piece by piece and the individual characters grow on you gradually. But, such pace is not everyone's cup of tea. I would really love to see the film once again without the cackling from the audience. Interestingly though, the audience is paying enough attention to laugh out loud at some of the brilliant one-liners and is equally attentive when the intense "social message" scenes come on.
It is likely that Imtiaz Ali, the writer might have wanted to focus on the message while keeping it wrapped in a warm yet emotionally violent story. But it is the other message that charmed me better. It is not new, it is not profound, but it held me glued - that freeing your spirit can show you how you are in charge and yet, to free your spirit, you need to take charge.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: A few slaps, gunshots.
- Language: A few abusive words.
- Nudity & Sexual content: None. But mention of sexual abuse.
- Concept: A road trip of a free spirit who has been bonded by society. Social message on sexual abuse too.
- General Look and Feel: Gorgeously shot in the Himalayas.
Highway - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, UTV Motion Pictures, Window Seat Films
- Producer: Imtiaz Ali, Sajid Nadiadwala
- Director: Imtiaz Ali
- Lead Cast: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt
- Cinematography: Anil Mehta
- Editor: Aarti Bajaj
- Music Director: A R Rahman
- Lyrics: Irshad Kamil, Sant Kabir, Kash, Krissy
- Costume Designer: Aki Narula
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 135 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Romance, Social
Highway - Trailer
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