Cast: Randeep Hooda & Alia Bhatt
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala
Genre: Romance/Action Thriller
If there is one director in recent times that has succeeded in showcasing rawness through cinematic elegance, it’s Imtiaz Ali. His ability to portray a sharp sense of aesthetic value in every film of his, proves his talent as someone who knows how to read the perception of his audience well. He may have directed blockbusters like Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal and Rockstar, but his boldness to make a powerful and impactful performance based film like Highway, speaks volumes about his potential as a filmmaker.
This wonderful and eye-opening journey which Imtiaz Ali titles as Highway, is the story of Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt), a happy-go-lucky daughter of an extraordinarily wealthy Delhi based tycoon, who’s always been protected under the luxuries that came to her disposal, because of her family’s status. Until, one night she decides to do something out of the blue to experience reality, when she goes for a drive in her friend’s car. Whilst driving, they decide to stop at a gas station in a rather unsafe area of Delhi. Just when she’s about to step out of the car to take a deep breath, a local criminal gang abduct her and take her away to a far off place, away from the city. This is when she is brought in front of the head of the gang, Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda), who plays the role of a typical rough, rural and rugged criminal, that gives off every vibe to scare the innocent Veera. Interestingly, this is where the actual journey of Veera’s perseverance and courage to survive on her own, commences. She begins to open her eyes to so many things that she was never exposed to in her past, where her will to survive turns into a new found comfort of exploring life on her terms with an emotionally disturbed man like Mahabir. Veera becomes a person that finds solace within the simple pleasures of feeling happy, just by wanting Mahabir to reconnect with himself and being adamant in not wanting this journey to end.
There is such tremendous fine tuning that Ali works on, when presenting to us the essence of his characters and their reasons to be who they are. One of the strengths of Imtiaz Ali as a filmmaker, is the manner in which he uses the location to speak a certain emotion. Shooting in gorgeous locations like Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, largely contribute in making one admire Bhatt & Hooda’s onscreen chemistry. Hence, the charm of the script beautifully displays cinematic brilliance.
This might only be Alia Bhatt’s second film, but the maturity with which she approaches certain scenes, is simply breathtaking. Her mannerisms towards the character of Veera, express an extremely powerful quality as an actor. Looking back at the role in her debut film, Student Of The Year, makes it even more difficult for an audience like me to find the words in praising her phenomenal performance in Highway. All I can say is, Alia Bhatt is on her way to being recognized as an actress that performs for the art of Cinema. Her sharp instincts as a performer in carving her onscreen character, was one of the defining ingredients in making Highway a successful film.
With every character that he essays, there is a sense of rustic rawness that Randeep Hooda brings to the table. Be it Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, Cocktail or Bombay Talkies, he convinces you through his gifted quality of timing as an actor. His style of dialogue delivery is what stood out in Highway, where one could notice consistency in the way he allowed his character to evolve through the journey of his emotions, whilst ultimately managing to discover himself. With his scintillating performance in the film, Hooda proves his potential yet again, as he remains true to his character by allowing the script to exploit his body language.
It is every filmmaker’s dream to gives his/her audience, the pleasure of experiencing an aspect or an emotion that they hold close to their heart. Highway is the culmination and celebration of Imtiaz Ali’s spectacular craft, which takes you on a thought evoking romantic journey, in making you realize that life is a better place to live in, when your willing to embrace courage in discovering your true worth.