By Nilay Majumdar (New Delhi)
Highway: Unrealistic…but Poetic Excellence
After a long time there is a director who has really evolved with every film. Imtiaz Ali promises to be the one who can give Hindi mainstream movies the identity that was missing. The depiction of the human characters, their individualism, and their growth (by learning or making mistakes) is indigenous and portrays the intellect and knowledge of the director regarding human beings. Hope he continues in the same way even if (hope not) success fails him. From Socha Nahi Tha to Jab We Met to Love Aaj Kaal to Rock Star and now Highway he has grown considerably. The films have started to show the mindset which we find in a Ghazal or Sufi Song. There is a philosophical touch to the story/human characters in Imtiaz’s film. Yes, there are some unrealistic angles but that’s the zone of the creator, that’s the freedom of the poet and his poetry.
The story is a one liner – a high society girl in Delhi gets kidnapped by accident just before her marriage. Her journey with the kidnapper is the central theme. Travelling is one the integral components of the film along with the establishment of the human characters and their relationships. The way all these things have been integrated along with the visual pleasure of the Himalayas takes the film to great heights. The journey of an apparently dumb looking city girl re-discovering herself amidst the natural background, the journey of a kidnapper re-inventing the situation which led him to such a world justifies the movie name beautifully (from the name, whoever feels like watching a thriller should restrain himself/herself from going to the movie).
For a change A. R. Rahman’s music does not feel out of place. The climax scene is subtle and far from melodramatic. Most of the scenes are unique; some for their visual treat, some for the connection of the human emotion and nature. The scene where Alia is sitting in front of the gushing water is something special. The mingling of water and human emotion is indeed very special. This is not a love story, it is a story of acknowledging human emotions and respecting that in the correct place.
Performance wise Randeep Hooda is outstanding. The scene where he rediscovers his past through the girl is excellent and the restraint and intensity with which Randeep displays his emotion is beyond words. Alia Bhatt from Student of the Year to Highway, she is completely different, looks more confident and has easily got into the skin of the character. From the talkative immature girl to the intense person she is spontaneous and brilliant and hardly appears a new comer to the industry.
People who are interested to spend their “outing time” in a movie theatre will definitely not like this as it will be beyond their capacity and their will to grow as an audience. I got a good glimpse of that in a popular multiplex of Noida Sector-18. The public’s reaction, especially during the intermission, was horrible. The first half which was developed as some sort of documentary/real type way to establish the characters, was inviting even wild thoughts/ reactions from the audience.
Majority of people like to see larger than life things; dialogue-baazi, glycerin scenes, blinking love stories, irritating over smartness referred to as comedy. Story, the performance hardly has any significance. The 100 crore business stuff, the build up to such a movie with stories of how long an actor has prepared his body/physique for a particular role, the costumes of the actresses and the dance numbers are far more significant and worth to the mass of Hindi film audience. This has been a story of Hindi films over the years. The result…some of the potential directors had to turn to conventional stuff to earn their living/fame after some failures at box office. Hope things mature with time!!!