By Goher Iqbal Punn, Film Critic & Entertainment Analyst, Showbiz Bites
Writer-Director: Imtiaz Ali
Cast: Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt
Music: AR Rahman
Rating: [rating=2] (two stars only for visual treat)
Imtiaz Ali’s much-in-talks movie Highway is eventually out. The film does not take a unique or different route, as we expect from Imtiaz Ali. He comes up with a unique idea every time he directs a film. But sadly, this time the man takes a time and tested formula to make a movie on. Abundance of times, we have watched the movies on screen where an abductor kidnaps a woman and then the victim starts losing her heart to her kidnapper. In the past, a number of movies have been made on this subject and now Imtiaz Ali brings up another for you. The only thing that attracts your eyes and in which Imtiaz is skilled handsomely is the visual treat of the locales captured in this film.
Pick up any of his past movies, Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal and Rockstar – each of the movies worked really big time among the moviegoers and at the box office due to the brilliant storytelling, plot, performances, eye-candy locales and heart-hitting power-packed performances. But what happened to the man this time around that he went careless altogether. No careful treatment has been given to Highway at all by the adroit and skilled filmmaker, whose name is synonymous for creating power-packed ventures.
On casting as well, Imtiaz went for an offbeat pairing – Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt. The pairing does not appeal at all and as for viewers’ point of view (apart from the critics), this pairing is not workable at all and cannot force and make the viewers come out to watch the film on screen. The casting should have been perfect as business point of view. You are making a film for the viewers, thus, you have to focus what they want and who they want to see on screen. Sadly, Imtiaz Ali this time showed carelessness on this front as well.
Highway talks about a city girl Veera (Alia Bhatt), who is full of life, lively, energetic and young. She with her fiancé is at a highway at night. Their marriage is geared up to take place within four days’ time. But her life is shattered and marriage plans destroyed altogether, when she is abducted by a bunch of rustic criminals. On the night of kidnaping the girl, the gang gets a big shock when they learn that the girl is the daughter of the most influential man. The gang now turns panic, as now they cannot go for the ransom money. But the leader of the gang Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) is not afraid and does not want to send the girl back. Days roll by and the girl now feels the change in her life, she feels free being among this bunch of kidnappers. Slowly, a strange bond begins developing between the two – kidnapper and the abducted girl. Now the girl does not want to return back. She loves the journey going on and on, since she feels pleasures in it.
Since Imtiaz Ali’s famous for capturing the locales beautifully and romantically, Highway too walks on the similar lines. Anil Mehta’s cinematography is appealing and captures the hearts in full. The film is a visual treat for sure. Writing is a real culprit of the destruction of the movie in addition to Imtiaz Ali’s age-old subject and poor casting. The first half of the film catches the attention though there are few flaws as well in it. The post interval portion is simply lackluster and poor, as the entire focus lays on the visuals. It appears as if one is reading a travelogue. The main flaws of the screenplay include when police stop the tempo and the girl hides herself instead of calling for help and Randeep Hooda’s past in flashback. Additionally, there is no reason of his becoming a kidnapper has been mentioned in the story.
Editing is average. Music by the maestro AR Rahman is fine and soothing, but there is none of the tracks you can hum it around. Background score by AR Rahman is fine. Imtiaz Ali’s execution is appealing, but lacks the punch and magic.
Randeep Hooda is fine, but you cannot rate his performance extraordinary. The film is Alia Bhatt’s show all the way and she delivers the bravo performance. This is her second film and she shows that she is a matured actress. This bubbly actress will soon become the most leading actress of Bollywood, as she has every potential to become the one. Others on board too appeal with their respective characters.
On the whole, Highway is a visual treat, but poor on content value. Imtiaz Ali fails to impress the audiences this time around. Watch it as a travel documentary. But if you are going to get entertained, then stay back home instead.
Also read Darr @ The Mall Movie Review, Highway box office prediction, Aishwarya Rai’s comeback movie with Mahesh Babu, Kareena Kapoor brand ambassador of Magnum ice ream and Mallika Sherawat’s heavy skin-show (pictures)