I do like Bollywood movies and I desperately want to fall in love with some, to the point it might get stuck in my head for years to come. Very few movies has had the ability to let that happen though, assured I’d be telling my kids about Sholay one day but the same couldn’t be said about the much recent movies. There are of course exceptions that might just end up on the list, I adore Dev D for example and The Lunchbox, Kahaani, Gangs Of Wasseypur and a dozen more could be contenders as well.
I always found the Imtiaz Ali’s movies amusing and entertaining. An undoubtedly talented director, Imtiaz, does have showmanship but not without flaws, his movies nonetheless are honed to at least entertain you for its duration. From Socha Na Tha till Love Aaj Kal, I was surprisingly left content. Rockstar, due to reasons withheld, I gave a deliberate miss. Having seen the previews of Highway I was mildly intrigued and despite its mixed reviews I couldn’t help myself give it a chance. And I am glad I did.
Veera Tripathi, the daughter of a wealthy businessman from Delhi is taken hostage by some criminals lead by Mahabir Bhati. And on their run the girl seemingly gets a heavy bout of Stockholm Syndrome only later to be found that its something more. She’s on the run from her own lifestyle and some tragedies she’d suffered as a kid. And meanwhile all that, Mahabir is dragged in hopes of having a normal life. The movie is piled with many warm, heartfelt scenes and the right kind of immersion might even pull the right strings of emotions in you.
Alia Bhatt’s shows promise to be one of the best contemporary actresses. Of course it only shows that in the right hands even the most cheesiest, fussy of actors perform well enough to be admired. I wouldn’t say she was flawless though, there were many scenes where I felt her acting showed shades of freshmanhood, and its something that can be comfortably overlooked considering she displayed an immaculate level of acting. Randeep Hooda aint far off behind and he was just as charming as he was grouchy. I felt he did an amazing job playing the disturbed Bhati who gets caught up amidst all the mess and you help but sympathize with this gentle giant. I was particularly fond of this scene where Bhati couldn’t help himself break into tears seeing Veera making a home, preparing food and it was interesting to see him caught between a constant conflict with his deplorable life and a life that could be.
Adorned with and in perfectly sync with the beautiful visuals is A R Rahman’s score and music and its nothing short of spellbinding. While I wasnt impressed much with his recent compositions, Highway‘s music struck a perfect chord this time. Couple that with the sheer gorgeous visuals, courtesy of Anil Mehta’s adept cinematography Highway becomes an absolute pleasure to get soaked in.
Highway, if it wasn’t obvious from its title, is essentially a well made road movie. Off to a slow, and edging close to boring, start, Highway manages to take you on a satisfying ride thanks to a charming Alia Bhatt and gruffly amazing Randeep Hooda. My few grumbles would be with the deficient time allotted for character development and also what I felt about Veera’s childhood tragedy. It was indeed strong and the sections were well handled well but I felt it to be a gimmick to elicit feelings. There aint much to root for except for the leads’ performances, the cinematography and its score. Take that away and it might just feel like an entirely predictable and bland road movie but Imtiaz Ali has crafted it in a way that you often forget that it is indeed a road movie. Had I to concise Highway in one word, I’d say its ‘beautiful’ and I was content with it but still not something extraordinaire that it’d end up on my ‘Stuck in my Head’ list.