Highway is a film written and directed by Imtiaz Ali and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala. Randeep Hooda as Mahabir Bhati and Alia Bhatt as Veera Tripathi have given stellar performances which makes the movie very watchable.
A very different story for a Bollywood film. This movie talks about life’s journey of a young girl which takes new meaning in a highway ride. First off I must congratulate the cinematographer! We travel with Anil Mehta along the highways of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir. A visual treat.
The movie starts off with the preparation of a grand scale wedding and things go awry with the kidnapping of the bride to be who is the daughter of a highly connected rich industrialist. What ensues is Stockholm Syndrome with a twist! Storytelling itself is of a narrative style and hence no gory visuals. Leaving what is said to the imagination of the viewers is intelligent direction. Alia Bhatt all of 20 years has done a great job understanding the role and portraying Veera to us. Initially you think of her as a spoiled brat and have no sympathy towards her and it all changes in one scene where we understand why she is the way she is. Some are born to be something and she is born to be an actor. Randeep Hooda is good too. He has given an equally good performance! His slow transformation from being a roughian to a man who cares is very well portrayed by him. The common bond between them is their childhood traumas. The beautiful wide canvass of landscape that stretches before our eyes is nothing but the depiction of the freedom that Veera longs for.
What could have been a really good movie is marred by some defects in the second half of the movie. Imtiaz Ali has has said in one interview that the script was not ready before the filming started and dialogues were written on the spot. He has also said that once in the snow top mountain of Himachal Pradesh looking at the landscape he changed the original script. That is the draw back in the movie. The script must have been finalised and vetted well before starting the production. The first half had the promise of a good story and it meanders in the second half because of a faulty screen play. I too was mesmerised by the snow top mountains and the pristine beauty of Himachal Pradesh, but the story teller cannot be sidetracked by such impulses.
What happens to Mahabir in the mountains is shown with unexpected alacrity which shocks us as well as Veera. The final altercation of Veera with her abusive uncle is the highlight of the movie – confrontation and putting to rest her mental ghosts!
Original score and film soundtrack album is composed by A.R.Rahman. The songs are more of a delight to the ear when seen with the visuals. The music blends very well with the story and the characters. ‘Wanna mash up’ is so in character with Veera and her dance number with one of Mahabir’s chamcha Aadoo is very well choreographed 🙂 The song ‘sooha saaha’ reminding Mahabir of his mom, the melancholy touch in the song makes a tug at your heart. Alia Bhatt singing in the latter half of the same song is very nice. This girl is so multi talented. Awe! ‘Pataka Guddi’ ARR version and the female version are the typical ARR ones!
Resul Pookutty does the film’s sound design. Lyricist Irshad Kamil has written the songs which are quite good.
I wouldn’t call it the best of movies but would definitely say that it is a movie where the director has very neatly handled a delicate subject with aplomb and is worth a watch for the movie stays in your heart long after you leave the theater.