Imitiaz Ali’s Highway is not an easy journey. The route is complicated and the travelers are raveled in their own troubles. But the audience is sure to enjoy this ride. Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhat’s journey is one that keeps you engrossed and glued to discover the destination.
The lead couple are a treat inthemselves to watch. Their opposite demeanors and personality is a striking feature. If this was not enough, you have mesmerizing locations of Sambhar, Ajmer, Bikaner, Faridkot, Rampur, Kaza, Pahlgam and Aru. The story begins with Alia Bhat’s wedding ceremony. It is nothing more than a video of a marriage sans dialogues and drama unlike other Bollywood movies. Veera ( Alia Bhat) is the daughter of a rich Businessman and prepares to enter the wedlock just when her life takes a turn no one had imagined. She is abducted by a gang headed by Randeep Hooda before her marriage and that sets her on a journey that brings fresh life to her.
The journey begins and Veera discovers the joys she had not known before and along with that she develops a relationship with her kidnapper which is of course insanely filmy. Veera does not escape even he allows her to, she sings and dances with him and even sings him lullaby.
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Randeep plays the character of Mahabir Bhati, an imposter from Haryana. His dialogues in the pungent Haryanavi accent and his strong demeanor add layers to the character. He is subtle in his performance and does a clean work that looks very effortless. Alia’s performance is powerful and impactful. Her innocent kid look works in her favor for she contrasts Randeep in all ways possible and that creates a sizzling chemistry between the two. Her speech, her dance, her agitation and tenderness all looks extremely fresh on the screen coupled with her vehement acting in the intense scenes. A born actor beyond doubt, Alia is scintillating in the hot scenes as well as in the emotional ones. Her kiddish acts are artistically balanced with her intense ones.
One might expect a thrilling journey on this highway but that is not what the film offers. The pace is slow, there is no thrill but a stoic atmosphere which is realistic and believable. The story moves its own pace to a climax that unfolds new layers in the characters. Like his previous film Rockstar, here too the two leads are subconsciously agitating against the social norms and craving freedom from its shackles.
aA.R. Rahman is at his best once again. His music breathes soul into the film and you can feel the beautiful locals as if you were physically present there. Rahaman’s work is commendable and is the USP of this journey.