Directed by Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt
What it's about:
A film named Highway sounds more like a road movie. It is – but it's one’s also about the journey of a young girl. The film begins with the kidnapping of a powerful man’s daughter Veera (Alia Bhatt) just on the eve of her wedding. The kidnapper, Mahaveer and his gang have no idea about her background. Now they have the entire system hunting for their blood as they travel across the length and breadth of North India’s highways. The relationships that get developed during the course of this journey and how they impact the lives of everyone concerned is what the rest of the story is about.
It's hard to pick what one likes most about the film. How many times do you come across a film that draws you in slowly but surely; that puts you in a sort of trance and overpowers your senses? Imtiaz Ali's Highway is not only a visual treat and a treat for the soul. It connects with the part of us that yearns to escape from the bustling city life into the lap of nature. Imtiaz doesn't rush to tell this story; he manages to convince you that even the characters don't know where they are going. It's like life - you don't know what's coming next. You might question if this could really happen and the director wants you to. Even the characters question themselves. Like Veera when she is talking too much, or when she hides when she has the chance to escape. Scenes like the one when Veera starts breaks down in laughter and then tears flow in the middle of gushing water, are ones you'll never forget. You experience the powerful emotion through the director’s eyes and the camera. Alia Bhatt delivers an accomplished and astonishing performance. You'd never believe this is her second film. She clearly submitted to Ali's vision and though it could not have been easy, she makes it look effortless. Whether she is running away from the kidnappers, dancing on the side of the highway, or confronting her tormentor, she is a class apart. Randeep Hooda’s brooding intensity is suits the part. His silences speak more than words. Rahman's original score is spellbinding.
The pace of the film may seem slow to many but that’s the pace the director has chosen. It’s almost symbolic to what the film conveys - you can't rush life; you take it as it comes. And that is how you have to watch this film.
What to do:
A daring attempt by Imtiaz, a glorious showcase of India (better than any Incredible India campaign) and a superlative performance by Alia Bhatt makes Highway a must-watch.