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Highway: Special Screening Review

By Venkatesh Prasad

Imtiaz Ali is a director who is gifted with a versatile vision that helps him to clearly understand the psychological nuances of human relationships as well as the grand possibilities of the film medium. There are directors who understand only one of these aspects of cinema. Imtiaz, fortunately, is the one of the few who has the refined understanding of both art and craft aspects of cinema.

You can't say a one line opinion about his latest offering Highway because it is a film that has its high point moments of emotional complexity and richness of visuals but fails somewhere to get the audience hooked to the plot. But one thing is certain - the director has traveled through a unique path which is rarely taken in mainstream Bollywood cinema.

The plot of the film revolves around Veera, portrayed on screen by Alia Bhatt, who is about to tie the knot when the film begins. As she is bombarded with the pre-wedding arrangements and other traditional customs, he calls her fiancee in the midnight to take her for a drive to get some fresh air. Even though he is not very comfortable with Veera's suggestion, owing his dislike for the idea to the dark and unsafe highway, he finally gives in to her request. When he stops the car at a gas station, she gets kidnapped within no time. The story forms how she falls in love with the her kidnapper and the trip they took together.

Film has an anti-capitalistic undercurrent in its theme. The hero (even though he appears in antagonist attire), portrayed on screen by Randeep Hooda, hates rich guys and the girl he kidnaps is the daughter of an insanely rich businessman who can go to any levels to get his daughter back. The protagonist Veera (Alia) has seen everything what rich can offer and is bored of it. She throws clothes of her artificialness of a rich, materialistic life behind and starts a journey with her own kidnappers; a journey in which she starts to get some fresh air and 'feel' her life. At this point, film touches the philosophy of new age Gurus like Osho. Cinematography of Anil Mehta and tranquila music of AR Rahman takes the film into a whole different level.

Highway will be a special experience for you, especially if you like road movies. Film has some valid points about life in general. Watch it and you won't regret your decision.

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