Verdict - Two fractured souls come together to heal themselves of their past traumas on this journey called life.
When you want to know someone, travel with that person. When you want to know yourself, travel. When you don’t know, what to do with your life, travel. Travel has been a recurring motif in all of Imtiaz Ali’s films. An avid traveler himself, he infuses his personal travel experiences in his films. In this film too, at many instances very subtly you will find the joys of travel. This time, he brings travel into focus, to tell the story of two fractured souls who come together under unnatural circumstances to heal themselves and each other of their past traumas.
Veera(Alia Bhatt) is about to get married but gets abducted by Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) just days before her marriage. Thus, begins their inner journey of healing, through different terrains of India, leading to liberation for Veera and Redemption for Mahabir.
If looked purely as a character driven film, Highway works to most extent because of the performances by Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda. Only if you start looking for a story in it, will it disappoint you, because it is not about the regular beginning middle and end but about the inner journey of these two troubled individual. If you stay with the characters, it is a highly moving and cathartic experience. Imtiaz Ali uses the device of working without a screenplay, and improvising as he goes along from one location to another. The experiment works because of the two characters he creates, who make sure that you stay invested in their lives.
It also deals with a very important issue, and since I know at least two people personally who have gone through such a traumatic childhood, the viewing became more personal for me. In Veera’s liberation, I hoped and prayed that millions of girls and boys like her find a way to get rid of this baggage, and start living the life they are meant to live.
Alia Bhatt in just her second film has set an impressive benchmark. She brings out the pain, confusion and trauma of Veera in just the right doses to make you care and emphatize with her character. Randeep Hooda’s mostly silent performance conveys a lot through his expressions. Add Anil Mehta’s awe inducing cinematography and A R Rahman providing the soul through his music and you get a rich cinematic experience.
After Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met, this is the third Imtiaz Ali film that worked for me in its entirety even with the flaws. This is probably his most personal and introspective work.
Word of mouth: Two fractured souls come together to heal themselves of their past traumas on this journey called life.
Rating : *** ½ (Solid)
Ticket meter : worth a theatre visit