Say, you sit on the top of a bus taking the mountain roads in the midst of snow. Would you enjoy the ride gazing at the seductive sceneries or would you complain of the killing chilling weather and dangerous roads? Watching ‘Highway’ is similar to such unique experience, and liking it is subjective.
Veera (Alia Bhatt) is a rich kid, born and brought in an extremely plastic sophisticated family in Delhi. She feels suffocated in her pre-wedding ceremonies, and decides to have a ride to the highway with her fiancée to get a breather. A bunch of Haryanvi contact criminals kidnap her unexpectedly. Mahabhir (Randeep Hooda) is their leader and this kicks off an unanticipated long journey. In the journey, Veera ironically finds freedom in abduction, and Mahabhir also discovers another side of him.
Well, the story of Highway is so wafer-thin with been-there-seen-that concept of two strangers becoming soul mates eventually. But, when you zoom in, what makes Highway unique is its rawness. The rawness in the characters, the rawness in some situations and there is a rawness in the sound design too. Imtiaz Ali converts invisibly the viewers experience into a first-hand experience, with his writing. The movie is a pack of some fantastic moments which makes you think brood and introspect. It won’t be surprising if one would think of backpacking alone to some unknown corner of the country, when you are watching certain scenes of ‘Highway’. The dialogues are very limited, simple, but with a great meaning-cum-impact.
Casting of Alia Bhatt is the perfect conscious decision made by Imtiaz. She contributes the required authenticity very naturally. The sequences where she realizes that the grass is indeed greener on the other side are fantastic. The pre-interval and pre-climax scenes bring out the best in her. This girl is a ‘Patakkha Guddi’. Hooda gives a controlled but adequate performance.
Sound design by Resul Pookutty and Amrit Pritam are clap-worthy, coupled with the mind-blowing visuals by Anil Mehta, who sincerely obeyed to the story without allowing any over-indulgence in showing the showing the beauty of the locales. Imtiaz must be appreciated for his call on not using much of background score to get a raw feel, despite having a Mozart in the team.
Silence is the soul, but not-much-story is the biggest loophole.