A young girl lives a protected life in a wealthy Delhi house.

She yearns to break free of this stranglehold & circumstances make her get away from her home.

The Highway is a metaphor for freedom; the girl’s sense of freedom is complete. There is also a feeling that life’s journey is more relevant than the destination.

I cannot reveal anything more except that the girl & her fellow traveler are devoid of love & on finding it, are at peace with themselves; they find their redemption.

Imtiaz Ali, the director & writer has delighted us by showing India’s vastness & beauty via the roads that criss-cross. (Read Stockholm Syndrome in Wikipedia)

Written by Chand Arora

 

Review by Bobby Ghatak

Writer –Director Imtiaz Ali

Music A.R.Rahman

A review by Bobby Ghatak

An old rusty tempo sneakily crawls across the interstate borders between Rajasthan & Himachal. Driven by a grim faced rowdy- sheeter, Mahaveer Bhatti (Ranveer Hooda), he has a bound and gagged young girl Veera ( Alia Bhatt) held captive in its hold. With one of the gangsters casting a lustful eye on the girl, and memories of ‘Nirbhaya’( the heinous Delhi rape case) still alive on people’s mind, the mood in the audience is justifiably pensive as to what horrible fate would befall  the unfortunate girl. Few hours back, the girl who is actually a bride-to-be was being pampered by all in her palatial house. Applying nail luster, trying out clothes, buying expensive jewellery for the grand wedding to happen very shortly, the girl appears happy, yet uncertain. Now on the run, the gang with their traumatized prisoner dodge several police check posts . They travel for many hours leaving behind the uncertainties of vast parched plains to reach somewhere close to Shimla, where nature reveals itself in her pristine form. Green valleys, coniferous trees, white foaming streams and beautiful snow capped mountains. Breathing in loads of fresh air, playing with flowery shrubs and soaking in the snow laden rains , Veera faces her moment of epiphany. This is where the audience will have to grapple with a strange twist in the plot.

The vicious abduction soon turns in to a queer case of soulful togetherness.

Imtiaz Ali strips his characters and locales of any cinematic make up. Every scene is true to life, be it Mahaveer’s shabby clothes, Veera’s appearance devoid of makeup , the scenic splendor of Himachal and their rustic inhabitants who dwell in mud houses and drink water from discarded sprite bottles.

The essence in the story cuts across the world where we live, to reveal two sides . Where man’s true self is held captive and mind gagged by hollow familial tie, where families are broken up in to narrow barriers to curb freedom, where  tormented souls abound everywhere, where simple pleasures of life are available in plenty, yet ignored. Where such tormented souls are in search of a beacon that can shine forth to show them the true path.

Randeep Hooda’s poker- faced look makes him comfortable in the role of a crass driver on the run. Alia Bhatt as Veera shows amazing depths in her acting . As the unsure city girl, as a terrified captive and as the one realizing her true desires to vanquish her past . Gurgling streams melting away from the snow caps, high above , to swirl below and become a full bodied river drowning the huge boulders yet remaining clean and translucent , sums up the evolution of Veera in the end.

As the creaky tempo climbs the narrow high roads, A.R.Rahman’s music, dipped in heavy dose of Sufi influence brings a soulful touch to the journey and to the rough, melancholic life of Mahaveer , a man moulded by a troubled past.

‘Highway ‘ is a soul stirring tale narrated by using the metaphors of nature against the oddities of life.