Saturday, 22 February 2014

Ye Manzilein hain Kaunsi... My Review Highway

Director Imtiaz Ali

Starring  Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt

So how do you fall in love, what is the definition of attraction, how do you put a vibe in words... if you are familiar with these conundrums, Highway will not give you answers, but will definitely give you food for thought.

Highway is the story of Veera (Alia Bhatt) an Uber rich, young and somewhat rebellious daughter of a Delhi Industrialist. She is abducted 4 days before her marriage from the Delhi Haryana Highway. The kidnapper is Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) who runs his gang of goons running extortion rackets. He is a killer, brooding and rough. As they travel through Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, they are on their internal journey too, which is beyond that of an abductor and abductee.

The film tries to explore at a languid pace the connection that is forged between Veera and Mahabir, improbable in the real world, but in the director's world, two broken pieces can try and make a whole.

Veera tastes real freedom while being captive, and Mahabir is captivated by the vivaciousness and innocence of Veera while controlling her life in this journey. As the film progresses, the hows and whys will melt as the characters prod you to open yourself to the "Now".

Alia is well cast, she has managed to erase the memory of superfluous Shanaya of SOTY with one broad stroke in Highway. A clean scrubbed look and a Body Language coach had a large role to play in this, also credited in the film. Her exuberance at the most unimaginable junctures of the film does not irritate you, her Veera is "like that only".

Randeep Hooda looks convincing with his scruff look and intense eyes. He delivers a solid performance, rarely missing the mark. Infact he is one actor who is becoming better and better with each film.

The film is not without flaws, but when it refreshes you, makes you part of the experience, I am not complaining. I will not be bothered by "this could have been done like that". That is the director's prerogative. Imtiaz chooses to not answer questions in black and white. Is it love between Veera and Mahabir? How is a girl seeing her captor as an object of affection and sympathy? etc. You can draw your own interpretation.

There are only two things which I found niggling me. A) The flashbacks of both Veera and Mahabir, which were not only unnecessary, looked patchy and out of place. B) The suddenness of Veera's recounting her troubled childhood to Mahabir. It comes too abruptly and feels manipulative.

As they travel together through the north, you get lost in the beauty of locales, captured stunningly by Anil Mehta. Rahman's music enthralls as Patakha Guddi plays and Sooha Saha Sa gets you misty eyed. Special mention for the stellar casting done by Mukesh Chhabra.

I enjoyed the ride. And the Himachal part of the film, I wanted it to never end. It reminded me of these lines of the famous song. "Ajeeb dastan hai ye, kahan shuru kahan khatam, Ye Manzilein hain kaunsi... Na wo samajh sake na hum..."

So here's to the traveller in us!

My Verdict  3/5 


  1. Haan . . . thats more or less exactly how I felt . . . he is one of those rare directors who can make you feel even if a part of your mind is saying hain??? yeh kaise ho sakta hai??? Its this victory of heart over head that is his skill . . . that sure deserves respect