A free-spirited, impulsive female protagonist, lustful locales of Northern India, sufi nitty-gritties, A. R. Rahman’s poignant score and just a hint of darkness throughout. If this doesn’t sum up Imtiaz Ali’s stamp, I don’t know what does.
Highway kicks off with a string of shaadi scenes with ladies fretting over preparations. Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt), the bride-to-be, tries to sneak out of the house for a whiff of fresh air, with her unenthusiastic fiancé. And it’s then that you instantly figure out what’s going to happen. Next thing you know, Veera gets kidnapped by the violent Mahabir Bhaati (Randeep Hooda) at a secluded gas station. And so, the journey begins – at first, a scary, difficult one and gradually turning into an experience of a lifetime for Veera. She opens up to the gang, from citing her childhood’s dreadful events to Mahabir to even dancing on an English track with one of the gang members. And the best thing? It’s all frickin’ believable!
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Highway is totally Alia’s film. Randeep Hooda, although raw and abusive, looks a little haggard at times. But, Alia? Alia makes her Veera looks so effortless in her zero-makeup, greasy hair and rags for clothes, it’s obvious she’s here to stay. It’s hard to believe that in just her second film, she displays tremendous potential.
Highway is a sweet, melancholy tale that has more pros than cons. At worst, it’ll leave your heart with a hint of darkness as you come out of the theatre. At best, it’ll make you plan a trip to the unexplored, pristine North-east India. Any which way, this one deserves a watch.
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