Back in 2007 , when I saw Jab We Met i was mesmerized by Imtiaz Ali’s storytelling and direction. But after that I thought he got repetitive and was just sitting on his laurels. His movies after that have been on the same theme more or less with Rockstar being an aberration. Highway , is different, its beautiful , its dark , it captures your imagination and brings you into its own world.
The movie starts with a little back drop of Veera’s(Alia) wedding. But the director wastes no time in getting into the real plot of the movie (read kidnapping of Veera) . The movie actually slows down after that , the actors , both Randeep and Alia force acting through some of their scenes. The movie starts with Mahabir a hardened criminal with 3 murder charges , in control , venting his anger over Veera time and again and Veera being the helpless victim.The movie starts to pick pace when when Veera finally gets over her first fears of being kidnapped and realizes her running away is an exercise in futility . The shift in control is something obvious that was supposed to happen , but the innocence of Veera and the empathy of a seemingly emotionless criminal is something worth watching on the big screen. The performances of both Alia and Randeep rise exponentially through the course of the movie. Imtiaz could not have picked two better actors for this movie. Alia takes down the Deepikas , the Katrinas and the Anushkas in this single performance, and believe me , if she had been launched with this movie and not SOTY, my statement wouldn’t have seemed like a hyperbole.
The connection between Mahabir and Veera is not love , at least not the romantic filmy kind of love. They both have their own versions of very dark pasts which they have locked away , suppressed in their hearts. Their anger wants a way out , and they provide each other just that. The director has done very well not to turn this into a love story. Veera does not know how to react when she gets all the independence she wants , because of her lifetime of pretense . And Mahabir does not know how to react when he finds all his anger stored up over the years melting away, that he can somehow feel again.For me the best scene of the movie was when Mahabir smiles for the first time in the movie , you feel like he has smiled for the first time in years, like he had literally forgotten how to smile
More often than not you see directors start off with a brilliant first half , only to get confused in the 2nd half on how to finish the movie. This movie ends as perfectly as it could , the last five minutes of the movie could’ve been cut off and it would have been the best ending for the movie, but then the audience needs closure. So thats that.
The music by A.R Rahman is divine . I had no idea what 90% of the lyrics of Patakha Guddi meant(which I will Google it now ) , still it sounded wonderful in the theater.
My movie experience was ruined by the cheap drunk junta coming for the late night show , which kept making their so called “cool” yet cheap jokes. If you really want to enjoy this movie , go to the morning show , as I will (yes , I intend to see it again) , no disturbances , dive into Highway , and be amazed.
Rating : 4/5