It is rare that a Hindi language film delivers so much promise in the first half.
And so it is extremely disappointing when the director and his script lead us on the journey that starts to meander and eventually fizzles out, collapses and dies in front of our eyes.
It’s as though Ali heard these complaints, made a checklist of the critical flaws in his past films and then went out to make a film that passionately trumps his critics. Ali’s latest venture, Highway, is not only a terrific movie, but also an achievement in commercial Bollywood cinema.
There is so much to appreciate in Highway and if it can goad other commercial filmmakers to take notice and also dare to try something new, we’ll all be richer for it.
Writer-director Imtiaz Ali has hit a road less taken. The result is a stylish two-hander that is defiantly unconventional, if not entirely satisfying.
Highway is a must watch as much for what it is as for what it isn’t.
It is not a typical romantic drama, nor an average love story. It is a road movie with a difference. Highway dishes out a trip that is definitely worth the price of the ticket.
It is a film about nature and travel; about a meandering journey without a definite destination. It doesn't try hard to make a statement.
It is purely incidental that two interesting characters find themselves while traversing this ever-changing array of bewitching landscapes. It is also precisely why this couple is even more visible, more relatable and less contrived, despite their unlikely circumstances. The focus is not entirely on them, they just happen to be there.
Straight up, Highway is not a sunny, funny road-trip. It is Imtiaz Ali's starkest, darkest work yet.
But what stamps this film indelibly is its sheer boldness. Imtiaz Ali must be congratulated for his daring novelty, for a powerful heroine-centric story. At times, Highway feels like an unending Bharat darshan.
Highway is not an easy ride. But it offers fresh breezes and new sights.
HIGHWAY is a triumph for Alia Bhatt, who delivers a marvelous performance. Also, what you carry home, besides Alia's winning performance, are the stunning visuals, especially towards the second hour.
But the treatment of the written material restricts its appeal largely. The connoisseurs of cinema and a tiny segment of the movie-going audience may go ga-ga over the film, but there's precious little for the large base of mass audience that's looking at the entertainment quotient from the maker of hugely admired entertainers like JAB WE MET and LOVE AAJ KAL.
Highway is a film which reflects a genuinely different, unique vision of life to audience and can even be called as a Black Sheep of Bollywood.
This film travels a very different path from beginning to end. Highway is highly dramatic and some scenes are marred with high melodrama that audience started to boo at them.