What is it all about?
Highway - Imtiaz Ali's run from his run of the mill 'Mills and Boons' is certainly visually eye popping and creative in its techniques but also aimless and devoid of establishments and characterizations.
Trying to 'cash' on the Stockholm syndrome with 'coins' of child abuse sensationalisms, the rich and the poor without a proper story and an indie point of view 'Highway' at the most can be remembered for Alia Bhatt's fantastic outing as an actress otherwise it's hard to imagine which section of the audience will be enthralled by this unrewarding road trip which is cold to the general audience and off putting bumping on screen drag for those who have witnessed better cinematic road journey worldwide.
"Am not talking but words are coming out of my mouth.. why is this happening. I am so confused." Says Alia Bhatt in one of the scenes.. the same can be said about Imtiaz Ali's story in his zest for an 'indie' glory.
Veena Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) is about to get married the daughter of a wealthy hot shot just couple of days before her marriage goes on a secret ride with his fiancee during their stroll in the car on highway a bandit Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) kidnaps her without knowing her father's status.
Despite opposition from his gang Mahabir is gung ho on keeping the victim captive travelling across six states including Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir finding the girl becoming the victim of Stockholm syndrome drawing closer to her abductor her 'Hero' without giving any clue. Lying down on the sands of Rajasthan she feels great ditto while passing by Manali while Mahabir is uncertain about the journey so is the script. Suddenly Manabir starts developing feeling towards her and hell breaks loose.
Visually it's a nonstop eye popper. Anil Mehta camera work is simply outstanding. Resul Pookutty sound designing is excellent. Mukesh Chhabra's production design and Sumit Basu costumes are brilliant. Technically it's a marvel. Imtiaz Ali tries a different genre and its difficult to say whether he tried hard or just gave it a shot. The first rate production values and technical excellence just doesn't get a deep enough script from Imtiaz to make the holy 'indie' dip.
Imtiaz's lack of establishments and characterizations dry the whole journey much earlier and loses control.
Finding the proceedings going out of hand Imtiaz then resorts to gimmicks of child abuse sensationalism (this appears to come as an afterthought) and the rich poor communalism to get the audience sympathy for its lead but alas it happens in such a forced and hurried manner that the audience are further drawn to disorientation.
A simple road flick without any social strings attached could have being an enjoyable cup of tea for the audience in general.
Anyhow Alia Bhatt is the biggest crowning glory in this story her sheer striking natural elements as an actor are fascinating and a true winner. Coming from someone in her very second film deserves serious applause. She is charming, vibrant, passionate and in the pink of her natural acting aura. Excellent.
Randep Hooda again delivers a note worthy performance.
Music Mastero A.R. Rahman's 'Phataka Kudi' displays the brilliance of this composer.
Conclusion: 'Highway' typifies as an aimless road trip which is certainly eye popping in its visuals but unfortunately heart dropping in its actual deliverables. Anyhow 'Highway' is the charming Alia Bhatt's first crowning glory to her b-town acting stories.
Rating **and 1/2