Starring: Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda
Director: Imitiaz Ali
You may love him or you may hate him but one thing that you can be sure of when it is an Imtiaz Ali film is that it will explore a completely different facet of love each time. Highway is one such powerful and emotionally stirring tale which is sure to touch your heart.
This time Ali develops the story around Stockholm syndrome and how a relationship blossoms between a captor and victim of a kidnapping. Although, limiting the story to just a love story would be grossly unfair. It is a beautifully layered story of two strangers trying to deal with their dark past, a girl finally rediscovering herself as she finds the freedom she always had craved for and a man forced to repent for all his crimes and wish a better future.
The first half flows away like a breeze. There is absolutely no distraction. The film straight away dives into the plot and thankfully there are no unwanted subplots. The whole sequence of Alia being kidnapped and the rapport developing between her and Randeep's character is brilliantly executed. The monologue just before the interval by Alia's character is both supremely written and performed and is one of the highpoint of the movie.
The second half is also as good but one expected the film to go to greater heights after a perfect first half. There are several endearing moments here between Alia and Randeep which keep you hooked to the proceedings. But the pace falls down significantly in this half and also by the time the characters reach their last stop, the story starts to feel stagnated. Thankfully, these are minor blemishes as it is soon followed by the climax which is nothing short of brilliant.
The journey plays an important role in the movie and it has been beautifully captured by Anil Mehta. It would not be wrong to say that India has never looked so beautiful ever before on our screens. Film transitions from one region to another with ease and the change in setting and texture is palpable.
This movie would have fallen flat on its face without the strong handed and fearless direction of Imtiaz Ali. The real winning of the director is that even though he is handling a serious script yet he never lets the film be too heavy or dark and go overboard with emotions and keeps it eerily real. The film is interspersed with the trademark style of humor of the director which comes across at the most unexpected timing, working remarkable for the film. Like his last offering Rockstar, Highway also lacks a definitive structure yet is full of soul.
There will hardly be anyone who will not be surprised by Alia Bhatt. Just one film old she gives a performance most actors wish their whole lifetime for. She is absolutely outstanding as Veera and its hard to think of anyone else who could have done what she does. She especially stands out in the climax which is one of the best sequences in the movie.
Randeep provides a strong support to Alia and also gives a strong performance. He plays the brooding, lonely dacoit with perfection. Note the sequence when he breaks down outside the house on the hills.
A R Rahman's music is not his best but certainly different. It fits perfectly in the film and one will surely appreciate the music more once they have seen the film.
Highway is Imtiaz Ali's most honest and heartfelt film till date. It is not entirely a perfect film but it is a film which needs to be experienced. With one of the finest performances and some alluringly hard hitting moments this is a journey you must not miss.