NH10 - Review
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You drive through a city, a city that looks like any other. A couple is driving to a party, engaging in the regular couple banter. You know danger is looming. You know because you have seen the trailer. Like the beginning of a typical Hindi horror film, the couple walks into the mouth of the lion that is going to gnaw it down. But, unlike the horror film, NH10 grips you by the collar and clenches at it through the two hours. When was the last time you could say that about a film? Even if you are uncomfortable through the length of the film.
And this is when you are prepared for the film. The trailer has ample warning, in fact over-preps you for the film's intensity. You go in expecting the worst things happening to the lead lady and even though they don't manifest, the discomfort is relentless.
From the word go, the writing hits upon taboo, gender divide, status of women in our society. Even before you get to the crux of the film, a scare is brought in. Much like newspaper headlines with shocking news day after day, tirelessly, the film hits you with one scary face of society and human being after another. So much so that you wonder if we are that any more - social or human.
Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam) and Mira (Anushka Sharma) are like two sides of you – scared and yet moved from the inside, enough to want to do something about the injustice that makes the world. There is no overt social message, but you are unsettled. Arjun and Mira, an urban couple, want to protect another couple which is being beaten up by their own family for dishonoring the family and caste.
But, NH10 is not only about honor killing or safety of women and so on. It is more a pointer at what human beings are capable of – when she is blinded by her beliefs or he wants to prove he's macho or they are blinded by a need for revenge. In any of these cases, they don't want or trust the system, they want control over their own matters.
Through this myriad of thoughts, the tension - through background music (or lack thereof), the camera work – stays just right. The chases, the situations are such that when you get respite from the build-up, you are ready for it. Despite your admiration for how real the situation is and constantly thinking about what you'd do if you were in their place, you welcome that relief in the form of a background song or an emotional scene or a cinematic liberty. Even though you know those wouldn't come to your rescue in real life.
Unfortunately, these same things takes away from the film. They remind you, you are only watching a film, after all. As much as you want to believe the ridiculous coincidences, they disconnect you from the characters and the situations who you were so close to, just a second ago.
Even so, it is a thriller indeed. A thriller so well-made that as I reach towards the end of what I want to say about the film, I haven't yet spoken about the most striking thing about the film - the performances. While you could call Neil Bhoopalam the hero(?) of the film, and he does his bit convincingly, your hatred toward Darshan Kumaar's Satbir takes up your emotional energy. And of course your worry for Mira.
Anushka Sharma has given it her all. You are watching Mira, a person you might see at a candle-light vigil, the woman who wants to make a place in this world of men (a world where an all men-committee decides how to sell a female hygiene product), a person who cares about a security guard doing his duty – a person like you and me. And even while, neither you nor I would like to be in the situation Mira finds herself in, we would all like to be like her when push comes to shove.
Especially, in the climax. But, for a film which attempts to keep things real, the climax is outlandish. The drama, a little over-stated. I guess, like the characters of the film, from the film-makers point of view too, it is a “you gotta do what you gotta do.”
What stays though is that despite the intentional laxity in the writing, your muscles stay taut. The mind stays worked up and alert thinking of what you would do in real life, despite the unreal coincidences. Most of all, the intensity doesn't leave you long after you've left the theater. How many thrillers can you say that about?
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: Loads. Gory, more so because it is close to reality.
- Language: A few abusive words used.
- Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of lip-to-lips. Talk of having sex.
- Concept: A couple gets into trouble for interfering with an honour killing.
- General Look and Feel: Rusty and dusty, like any village.
NH10 - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Phantom Productions, Eros International, Clean Slate Films
- Producer: Krishika Lulla, Anushka Sharma, Kamesh Sharma, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap
- Director: Navdeep Singh
- Lead Cast: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhopalam
- Supporting Cast: Darshan Kumaar
- Story: Sudip Sharma
- Cinematography: Arvind Kannabiran
- Editor: Jabeen Merchant
- Background Score: Karan Gour
- Action Choreography: Armin Sauer, Abdul Salaam Ansari
- Costume Designer: Eka Lakhani
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 115 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Social, Thriller
NH10 - Trailer
If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube