facebook.com/Outlookindia twitter.com/outlookindia digimag.outlookindia.com instagram.com/outlookindia youtube.com/user/OutlookMagazine

Highway

The film can ignite any restless, peripatetic soul. I sur­ely want to hit the highway soon.

Starring: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt, Hemant Mohar, Sehar Shukla, Durgesh Kumar
Directed by Imtiaz Ali
Rating:

Imtiaz Ali’s heroines have a tendency to run away, from the secure and smothering home, love, marriage and rel­a­tionships, all for self-­discovery. So does the child-woman Veera (Alia Bhatt) in Highway. A midnight whim, a petrol pump shootout and she is on a journey—from Ajmer to Reckong Peo—to find herself with her kidnapper Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) for company.

On paper there’s lots going for this love story. The class divides, the rifts of the surnames—the Tripathi (Brahmin) girl and the Bhati (Gujjar) boy—are surmounted by the shared demons of childhood. There is also the unspoken ass­ertion that the dark and murky shadow of patriarchy looms large and threatens all, be they rich or poor. Ali manages to keep these social nuances rather measured, restrained and subtle in much of the first half of the film.

Even cinematically, instead of the big sweeping scenes, it’s the small moments and quirky encounters between totally at-odds characters that Ali whips up ever so cannily. Like a flurry of sorrys from Veera making Mahabir shout back: “Hum yahan tameez dikhane aaye hain?” There is something terribly likeable about the togetherness of the impassive, brooding Mahabir and the chirpy, on-the-edge Veera and also a poignancy that their companionship is, after all, fleeting. It makes Veera say that she doesn’t have marriage and family dreams for themselves. “Bas thoda door aur tumhare saath chalna hai (I have to walk just a little further with you)”.

There are some standout scenes—the superb use of Gujjar lingo and display of machismo in the confrontation of the rustic hoodlums early on in the film, capped by a compelling turn from curly-haired, sinister Hemant Mohar. Then there is another hoodlum, played by Durgesh Kumar, warming up to Veera by quietly telling her that he can also feel the salt in the air, like her. And Mahabir admonishing him: “Laad mein mat aa baake (Don’t get affectionate towards her)”.

Sadly, towards the last quarter, Highway begins to turn into an alarmingly different film. Ali consciously forgets the power of the implicit to drum up a significant social issue in the most obvious, pat and melodramatic manner.

The film unravels sloppily in the rather convenient, ham-fisted climax and the loud, cringe-inducing statement-making. Even the use of Rahman’s pleasant score gets lopsided between the film’s two halves, so much so that the songs got lost on me. But the landscape towers and hits you in the face. The film can ignite any restless, peripatetic soul. I sur­ely want to hit the highway soon.

READ MORE IN:
AUTHORS: Namrata Joshi
SUBSECTION: Showtime
OUTLOOK: 03 March, 2014
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail
THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
REVIEW
The Reviews
The Marathi adaptation of the Broadway play A Few Good Men
MAGAZINE July 21, 2016
The Reviews
The script ventures into didacticism and dishes out a moral that makes women’s empowerment look like a social inconvenience
MAGAZINE July 21, 2016
The Reviews
Overpopulated by a cast of delightfully daffy animal characters and a visual quality that’s pure eye candy.
MAGAZINE July 21, 2016
The Reviews
Pokemon Go is the new craze in gaming, Nintendo’s first smartphone offering to Pokemon fans
MAGAZINE July 14, 2016
The Reviews
Aims for controversy over cinematic accomplishment—a rebel for the cause of freedom of expression
MAGAZINE July 14, 2016
OUTLOOK ON TWITTER
POLLS

The cricket icon is reported to have tried to curry favour with Defence Minister Parrikar for a friend's property adjoining defence land in Mussoorie. Parrikar is said to have declined to help. The recipient of India's top honour is also busy endorsing various products. Is India's legendary batsman insulting the Bharat Ratna, which was given to him after amending rules?

POLL STARTED ON: Jul 19, 2016
Quiz
Kashmir has been the scene for massive protests following the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on July 8. “Non-lethal” pellet guns used against the protesters have blinded many and 45-odd people have died in the face-off against security forces. The scale of protests have led to frayed tempers in the mainland with many resorting to high-voltage jingoism. But how well do you know Kashmir? Find out, take this quiz.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Jul 25, 2016