Director: Imtiaz Ali
Besides Child molestation, caged city life, sufferings of the improvised society, longings of a motherless son, Highway is inherently a road movie of two people from different walks of life enjoying the uncharted journey and each other’s presence. While Imtiaz Ali fabulously mounts these precious moments on screen which I have till now felt only through other senses in real life, he squanders in the remaining parts.
Similar to how a long road drive starts with the commotions of the city, Highway begins with the eccentricity of the leads. While Veer (Ali) keeps rejecting the offer of her captor to escape, the latter keeps showering her with love like a quintessential rowdy with a heart of gold; all the while unsettling us. However, as the film unclutters from melodramatic reasons behind these events, similar to how the rustic beauty of the highway takes us to serenity, the film lands itself in its scenic stretch. It is in this stretch I realized what really wasn’t connecting me with the movie earlier. It isn’t the bewildering grammar of the narrative, but the execution of it. That was why, while I felt Veer opening up about her past in Act-1 to be a cheap trick in the screenplay, I was empathetic when her captor could see his mother in her in Act-2.
Though fulfilling, the long stretch of serenity in the highway does have to end and the ruckus re-enter our lives as we approach our destination. Similarly, this Highway too goes back to its staged drama. Yet, as Veer says, ‘I don’t want to go back to the place you took me from; I don’t want to go to the place where you are taking me; but this journey, this journey is what I enjoy’, the journey of the leads once they accepted each other is worth to be revisited.