One Line Review: A bumpy, heroic yet soulful road voyage that dishes out new sights and makes way for a fresh breeze.
Positive Points: Captivating vista, Impressive performance by Alia Bhatt, Excellent cinematography, Enchanting music.
Negative Points: Sluggish second half, Certain ambiguous scenes in the second half.
Plot: The wedding preparations are in full swing in a Delhi-based affluent industrialist's family. However, the young and beautiful bride-to-be, Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) is not much happy about the wedding rituals and all. One day, she plans to go on a secret drive with her fiance, Vinay and they travel through a foggy night in Delhi. During this journey, a gang of highway robbers kidnap Veera for ransom. One of these rustic criminals is Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda). As they kidnap Veera, her fiance does not try to save her from the criminals. While abducting Veera, none of the gang members know that she is the daughter of a wealthy and influential businessman in the town. Even after knowing this, the frightening looking Mahabir takes Veera to another place, apparently a scenic place. Tied up and starved, Veera gets thrown in a truck that travels on city's outskirts and here commences her journey on highway without knowing any destination.
Interestingly, Veera actually starts living life the way she wanted, after getting kidnapped. She begins to enjoy the taste of freedom and finds solace, as her kidnap proves as a blessing in disguise for her. The kidnappers' gang along with Veera travel through places like Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. Gradually, the bold Veera commences to open up and share stories of her traumatic childhood with Mahabir. In the series of talks, Mahabir also discloses secret from his childhood, which decreases the differences between Veera and Mahabir to some extent. Slowly, Veera starts to develop a bond with the tormentor Mahabir. The further tale opens up a bundle of twists and twirls taking the story to a different road.
Direction And Other Technical Aspects: The director Imtiaz Ali has earlier offered the super hit movies like 'Rockstar', 'Jab We Met' and 'Love Aaj Kal', which were loved by one and all and featured Bollywood biggies. This time, the director Ali offered the daring and creative road journey 'Highway'. The direction is good, but had a scope for improvement. The movie is mainly character-driven and is a pure visual delight owing to its exotic shooting locales like Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. The cinematography is mindblowing. One cannot expect this film to be a shiny road trip, as it narrates a dark tale. The film has presented some of the emotional moments like Alia Bhatt talking about her traumatic childhood experiences and Randeep Hooda sharing his life story with her. The other spectacular moment in the film is when Alia attempts to escape from the kidnappers, but she had to return after realising there's no way out of this situation. The story of this flick differs from Imtiaz Ali's previous movies and the way in which emotions are illustrated in this, make the audience feel the pain of the characters. Being heroine-centric, the flick opens pages in a tender and soft manner. The romance between two persons starts budding with the dark social issues taking place at the backdrop. The way Alia Bhatt shifts herself from being panic at the initial stage to start breathing fresh air even if she is kidnapped, is worth watching.
The screenplay of the film was a bit low, thereby making it somewhat boring at certain points. The dragged second half is another loophole that makes the tale lose its grip to some extent. At certain juncture in the second half, the viewers may get confused about where the tale is exactly going. Nevertheless, the pros weigh higher than the cons making this enchanting road trip by two suffering souls memorable. Background score steals the show, while editing is good.
Performance: Alia Bhatt has emerged as the wonder girl with her speechless performance in this film as the lady in distress. She has fabulously portrayed the girl, who re-discovers herself post her kidnap by some criminals. Bhatt has evidently fuelled up her acting prowess. Randeep Hooda shines well as gruff criminal Mahabir, in terms of his body language, dialogue delivery and the overall look. The actor played his part with great intensity. The good chemistry between Alia and Randeep provides an extra edge to the story.
Music: A. R. Rahman has rendered his magical touch to the songs of this film and the impressive visual surroundings are a cherry on the cake. The tracks like 'Patakha Kudi' and 'Sooha Saaha' has gained popularity along the masses even prior to the film's release and prove to be a musical delight. 'Maahi Ve' is the one, which entertains the viewers as well as is memorable for its soothing tunes. The songs 'Tu Kuja' and 'Kahaan Hoon Main' also sound melodious. 'Wanna Mash Up' oozes entertainment quotient very well.
Final Verdict: Apart from being a tale of a kidnapped girl, the film 'Highway' may also give you a feel of exploring incredible India. This musical road trip could have been better if there was some more 'dum' in its story telling. However, the film offers a great dose of entertainment to the viewers in 133 minutes. Worth watching!