PLUS POINTS of Highway:
1) Alia Bhatt’s stupendous performance as Veera makes her character look really believable. Randeep Hooda shines in his part too, especially his command on the rustic North Indian dialect painted the required tinge in his role as a truck driver who had committed several murders earlier. Those in the supporting roles also provided a strong support. Manma Emotion Jaage song by Shah Rukh Khan is similar to one song in this movie.
2) Music by A.R.Rahman is a sheer delight to ears, with a special mention to ‘Ali Ali’, ‘Mahi Ve’ and ‘Patakha Guddi’. He also excels in composing the background tunes. Lyrics by Irshad Kamil (in some parts, Kash, Krissy and Sant Kabir) is brilliant.
3) Choreography by Shohini Dutta in the song ‘Wanna mash up?’ + Anil Mehta’s camera work + Aarti Bajaj’s editing + Sets by Acropolis, Sumit Basu, Snigdha Basu and Rajnish Hedao are wonderful. And obviously Imtiaz Ali’s direction gave it a midas touch.
MINUS POINTS: Weak storyline and slow narrative speed, especially towards the climax. But thats required too, because a little bit imperfection always makes a creation appear more attractive. The movie is basically for multiplex audience, so won’t bring much box office prospect as single-screen movie goers may not appreciate it, I opine.
SCENIC DISCUSSION: Some scenes which I find extremely touchy
1) Mahabir sets Veera free, because she was trying to flee away. She runs across unknown roads, dark fields until she realized that she cannot escape this way, thus comes back to her captive state willingly. This scene looked like a metaphor to me. Something which depicts our lives in a fine sense. Many of us want to escape from our respective despair/sadness. The need to run away from such current situation becomes really desperate at times. But how many of us succeed in that ? Ultimately its more like that song by ‘Eagles’, which describes life as a hotel, where anyone can ‘check in’ anytime they want, later can also ‘check out’ whenever they want, but just cannot never ‘leave’, because life itself is an imprisonment.
2) Child Molestation is basically a sub-plot in this movie, where Veera reveals about her traumatic experience of childhood. Its nothing uncommon, rather very much common, which I guess maximum girls experience in some or other way during their childhood/adolescence phase, for they remain almost helpless that time, thus depend on their elders for every nitty-gritty. I’ll thank Imtiaz Ali for bringing out such a sensitive subject in the plot, where at one sequence Veera specifically mentions that girls are usually warned by concerned family members to keep themselves protected from outsiders, because “bahar bahut bura log hote hain..Toh joh log andar rahte hain, unse bachne ka kya kare?” Such a true statement. Often people from a direct blood relation can pose maximum damage (physical and thereby mental) to a girl, while strangers do nothing wrong with them even in the weakest moment.
3) Love vs Freedom: Let me quote Osho in this regard: “Love is authentic only when it gives freedom. Let this be the criterion. Love is true only when it does not interfere in the privacy of the other person. It respects his/her individuality and privacy. But the lovers that you see around the world, their whole effort is that nothing should be private; all secrets should be told to them. They are afraid of individuality.”…The same reflected in the relationship as shown in Veera-Vinay (in the opening sequence) vs. Veera-Mahabir (post interval). Apparently we consider love is something which is nurtured in a safe and secure environment. Thereafter a successful marriage should bloom in a house which has large square feet area, modern furnitures and modular kitchen. But does life always go hand-in-hand with such ‘should’ factors ? Many people may find that sequence unrealistic where a pampered/wealthy girl like Veera cleanses the small house, cooks maggi, makes the bed ready (in Kashmir, toward climax), but I find it totally logical since love is and always was the by product of freedom, trust and respect.
‘Highway’ is surely worth-a-watch. Don’t give it a miss if you love to watch serious kind of films. An old concept, but packaged aesthetically in 133 minutes duration, this movie kind of whispers that line by Jess C. Scott: “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”