Highway

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Highway
Highway
HIGHWAY is a deliberate indulgence to disorderliness!
A haphazard assemblage of some special moments and many irrelevant ones, the film is a classic example of a talented filmmaker getting carried away by his craft. The total lack of content is somewhat made up by gorgeous frames and glorious performances by the leads, especially Alia Bhatt, who surprises one and all.
The story begins on the eve of the wedding of Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt), daughter of a rich business tycoon. She is on the highway at night with her fiancé when she gets abducted. The gang who kidnaps her panics when they find out about her influential father. However, Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda), her abductor, is adamant, and is willing to do whatever it takes to see this through. They are continuously on move into different cities, to avoid being tracked by police. At one point, Veera tries to flee, but fails. As the days go by, Veera finds peace in her bondage, to the point that she confides in him of her troubled childhood. Eventually, fear of abduction is taken over by a sense of freedom.
The lack of spirit and disinterest is apparent right from the outset. The narrative is bland, lacking both, depth and excitement. In fact, the script is half cooked and messy. The scenes switch abruptly and it’s not just the poor screenplay, but also the dull proceedings that wear you out. As mentioned before, there are brief moments, few and far between, which bring a smile to your face, and sometimes even pinch you. Like there’s a scene where Veera (Alia’s character) sub-conciously speaks continuously and does things to avoid getting freed from the bondage. The intent is clear and credible, that she’s found freedom in bondage, but the way it is presented is either convoluted or unmoving.  The other problem with the presentment is the simplistic surface level emotional connect that the director invests in its characters. The interpersonal relations too suffer with the same flaws. And it’s due to this reason that the deep affection that Veera and Mahabir develop, seems implausible.
Such a subject could’ve been better off as a documentary, but it does justice neither as a film nor as a documentary. But the exceptionally captured locales, across 6 states, are a treat for your eyes. From the splendid snow clad mountains of Kashmir to the beautiful green belts of Punjab, HIGHWAY transports you everywhere through the celluloid medium. Alas, there’s no substance to guide the tour appropriately. AR Rahman’s music is another highlight in this boring affair.
The performances singlehandedly make this film bearable. Alia Bhatt totally takes you by surprise. Surprising, because you’ve seen her scornful act in her debut film ‘Student of the Year’, where she merely served as an eye candy. Here, she’s mesmeric, to be very precise. Her haunting past’s emotional portrait is only convincing because she paints it. She’s as natural as the best actor you’ve seen yet. That’s a heavy statement to make, but you’ve definitely got to witness it to believe me. Watch her narrating to Mahabir her cruel Uncle’s torturous behaviour towards her, or muttering with herself, or giggling with elation on little pleasures she gains in unrestraint, and you’ll find a new Alia altogether. Randeep Hooda, playing a disturbed soul, stalked by his painful childhood memories, is superb too. All others play their parts well.
In all, HIGHWAY is an extremely boring film, with an incoherent plot, redeemed partially by Alia Bhatt’s strong performance and Anil Mehta’s splendid cinematography. If you still decide not to miss, watch it for Alia Bhatt. Otherwise avoidable!

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