Highway is not a film about being taken hostage. It is not about living with so called hardened criminals. It is about scars that never go away, with time. It is about being safe in unsafe places and being unsafe in safe places. It is about bonding of people with deep scars in their minds.
Director Imtiaz Ali has done a smart job of dramatizing a plot that is often not spoken about or dusted under the carpet.
Starring Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt, the movie begins when Alia Bhatt escapes for a breath of fresh air from her own wedding ceremony and is kidnapped by gangsters who go on the run with their captive in place. Alia begins to like her journey on the highways as they travel from place to place trying to escape the law. It is at some place in this journey that Alia, reveals the real story line of her life. Indeed, it is here among the so called unsafe people, that she recalls her abused childhood in the so called safety of her home.
As the story moves, Alia and Randeep get closer to each other. The love angle does develop, but there are no song and dance around the trees nor mushy whispers and passion play. There is only a very strong bonding which hovers around psychology where Alia develops love towards her captors. As they settle in a wooden cabin, in the midst of nature, Alia, does not want to return to her home. Indeed, she wants to make a home with Randeep. But the agitated parents have set the law to hound them and even before they have time to settle down, Randeep is killed in Police shoot out and Alia dragged back to her home. Here, she meets her uncle, the villain in the home and in wide public accuses him of the sexual abuse he had performed on her, when she was a child. The crowd is shocked but Alia has had her time to acuse and bring to the forefront a pain she has been guarding in her mind.
But will this revelation, save her? Will it ease the scar left behind in childhood? If Rarschach Test is correct, then the scar in the personality has made Alia a lover of the unknown, for the known is dangerous, like her uncle.
Imtaiz Ali is smart. He has packed in a more meaningful message into an otherwise, colourful but much overused theme of abduction of rich people’s children.
There is a solid message here, delivered in a way that is ingenuous. And brave.
Randeep Hooda as Mahabir Bhati
Alia Bhatt as Veera Tripathi
Saharsh Kumar Shukla as Goru
Pradeep Nagar as Tonk
Durgesh Kumar as Aadoo
Arjun Malhotra as Vinay
Hemant Mahaur as Kasana