Watching a movie in Bandra’s Gaiety Galaxy is always fun as not only are the ticket prices one of the lowest in Mumbai (considering G7 is a multiplex, they are damn cheap) but the rightly priced and well fried samosas double the joy of watching a movie there. Therefore, as I was there to catch the late night show of Highway on Saturday evening, I went in hoping for a fun-filled experience. However, what I saw did not double my joy, not at all, in fact during the first half of the film it almost looked like I was watching a movie which was an entry for some film festival. While learned film critics and discerning audiences may not give a hoot about what a simple moviegoer like myself felt about the film, I would say that BORING would be an understatement for the first half. Though there are some good dialogues about oppression of the lower classes by the high and mighty –Randeep delivers it in his usual teeth clenched style, making me wonder why does he not open his mouth. His voice modulation is good but the straight face delivery is too plastic– and molestation of children — Alia shows that acting is in her genes — the first half falls flat. The claustrophobic references of the physical environment works as a good metaphor for the disturbed childhood of Alia’s character. The desire to break free of the shackles of dogmatic expectations of the family/society is a constant in all Imtiaz Ali films and you will see it in Highway too.
The movie is shot in beautiful locations and the two lead characters look real. However, I wish that there was a more meat in the story, as movies of this kind are highly dependent on the performances of the lead actors, some digressions in the narrative would have perhaps broken the monotony. I could visualise the response the movie would garner at the film festivals as the dialogues which form the fulcrum of the movie (the background stories of Alia’s and Randeep’s characters) would look great when translated in English and the subtitles will generate the kind of responses that the director perhaps intends to receive at Film Festivals.
Watch this movie only for Alia Bhatt. The girl shows a lot of promise and I hope that this movie will get her good projects in the future.