Highway - Review

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
quick review:

A warm yet emotionally violent story that sweeps you off your feet, but for a few scenes that go amiss.

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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

Parental Guidance:

  • 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.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 4
  • Lead Actors: 4.5
  • Character Artists: 3.5
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 3.5
  • Lyrics:

Highway - Movie Details

Highway - Trailer

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Comments (13)

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Roy J:

Great Preview! I am looking for the same theme as well, and if the audience will end up liking Randeep Hooda's character at the end even though he's the kidnapper. However, the trailer didn't catch my attention especially because of Imtiaz Ali. He knows he's trying different types of love stories, but I think he tries to hard to be different when it actually isn't. I loved his JWM, but LAK and Rockstar were poor. SNT was good. Let's see though. I hope I am wrong.

kapil:

Interesting promo.

Fan:

I rate Imtiaz Ali in the group of over hyped film makers. Jab We Met was brilliant. Thereafter all else was mediocre to crappy.

Anup:

Imtiaz Ali’s movies shows love in a different way always......Jab We Met was good because of the character of karina and also given breakthrough to Shahid Kapoor,,,,Love Aaj Kal show two different generation in which charecters and situations are so contradictory to each other yet there remains some similarities,,,,And rockstar,,,,what to say about it,,,,many have didnt liked it because of the way romance has been shown,,,,but for me it was the best movie of that year,,,,infect in Cocktail in which he had done the writing job,,,,it was good,,,,Its only SNT in which i was not totally satisfied yet m not dissapointed with it.....
Taking Ali Bhatt the leading lady with Randeep Hooda as leading Man is a risky job,,,,m hoping for positive result,,,,,bcoz have always liked Imtiaz.....

kapil:

@Meetu : I am also looking forward to the same theme....because I know one such girl.
@Fan : You forgot his directorial debut, Socha Na Tha....that was also good.
@Anup : I don't know if this is the best casting, but this pairing really seem to work for me. If not Alia Bhatt, then he would have to take some unknown young actress, about which I think Imtiaz Ali is not very comfortable with. As for Randeep, he's got that earthy feel which is required here. I can't think of anyone else who would have suited better....maybe Emraan Hashmi (now I think that Emraan Hashmi would have been better).
Actually this movie seems more about the sensibilities of a young, innocent, carefree and at the same time very caring girl. Abduction could just be a premise to pan out the whole drama.

meetu:

@Kapil you know a girl who'd like to be kidnapped?

@Anup I still can't forget how Nargis Fakhri completely spoiled Rockstar for me.

@Roy Thank you!

siddharth:

@Meetu you gave 3.5+ in every department and yet the rating is watch on DVD dont you think it is bit harsh.

meetu:

@Siddharth, it's not watch on DVD, it is for those who are keen, catch it on screen. And even if you are not keen, watch it on DVD at least.

Anup:

Imtiaz is not trying hard to entertain u,,,,,,the characters dosent have a plan in the movie,,,,rather they are just travelling in the beautiful destination of north india,,,,and the cinematography make u feel that u are too involved in that journey,,,, like what happened in case of ROCKSTAR much if single screen audience will not like or u can say understand this movie,,,,but Imtiaz Has always given something which havnt shown in bollywood before ,,,, and he continues that thing with this......Atleast after watching this u would definatly plan a trip to north india.....

Suman Chakraborty:

Direction: 2.5
Story: 2.5
Lead Actors: 3.5
Character Artists: 1

Dialogues: 3
Screenplay: 2
Music Director: 1.5
Lyrics:

Diehard:

This movie is a copy of 1994 comedy 'The Chase' starring Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson...I am very sure there were some heavy changes to the original plot...when do these filmmakers change and when do you reviewers change????...by the way, you can watch 'The Chase' here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHyaSVBa93k...

meetu:

@Anup :D

@Suman oh...I thought you'd like it better than that.

Ehinome Okojie:

Indians prefer high masti to this but the metros will this an average/below average fare at box office.

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