‘Highway’ Review Roundup: Don’t Miss This Road!

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By Ankita Mehta | February 21, 2014 12:05 AM EST

Director Imtiaz Ali's much awaited film "Highway" has received positive to mixed reviews from critics. A special screening was held for critics, stars and film's cast on Wednesday.

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Highway

"Highway" is one of the most awaited films of the year as it is directed by Imtiaz Ali. The trailer and songs of the film has already created waves among movie-goers. 

The film features Alia Bhat and Randeep Hooda in the lead roles. Ali Bhatt has impressed critics with her acting in her second film after making a debut with "Student Of The Year".

The Bollywood drama film produced by Sajid Nadiawala will hit screens on 21 February. The soundtrack album of the film is composed by Oscar Award winning music director A.R.Rahman.

Check out the reviews here:

"HIGHWAY takes the road less traveled & makes way deep into your heart. Thank you Imtiaz Ali for making Alia 'live' the role of her life time. The women of our country will empathise with this heartfelt tale," Mahesh Bhatt tweeted.

Mihir Fadnavis of Firstpost said: "It's as though Ali heard these complaints, made a checklist of the critical flaws in his past films and then went out to make a film that passionately trumps his critics. Ali's latest venture, Highway, is not only a terrific movie, but also an achievement in commercial Bollywood cinema. As a bonus, it also has a pleasant surprise: Alia Bhatt is a major acting talent. 

"If you're an Imtiaz Ali fan, you'll be stunned by how different Highway is compared to his previous films, in both concept and form. The first thing you'll notice is how subtle and quiet the film is. Despite a soundtrack by AR Rahman, there is very little background music in the film.

"A scary prospect is that Highway might not make money at the box office. Some will no doubt criticize the film's silences, long takes and lack of naach gaana. That'll be a shame because it's not often that a successful commercial filmmaker has the courage to take a sharp left from the blockbuster formulae and make something that's different. There is so much to appreciate in Highway and if it can goad other commercial filmmakers to take notice and also dare to try something new, we'll all be richer for it."

Rohit Khilnani of India Today said: "With Highway, Imtiaz takes the road less travelled and tries something very different from not just his usual style of films but goes ahead to challenge something that we have not seen in Bollywood movies. Although the problem that emerges is that he is not able to hold it together. Forget the reliability factor, the film is way too slow to offer any entertainment.

"Alia Bhatt fits perfectly in this role but doesn't have much scope to perform. Even Randeep Hooda is not bad either but has little to do. Casting director Mukesh Chhabra is bang on, it's unusual and works very well here! Rahman's music does set the mood of the film and cinematographer Anil Mehta captures beautiful locations but even all this can't save this film!

"Avoid this Highway, it will lead you nowhere!"

Mohar Basu of Koimo.com said: "I feel cheated by Imtiaz Ali because Highway isn't anything even remotely close to what we usually expect from the filmmaker after terrific works like Jab We Met and Rockstar. With Highway he undeniably slips. It is a frustrating film that will leave you angry. Imtiaz clearly wasted his caliber over leisurely making a movie that is strictly respectable for its lack of connection and conviction. The film's hero is A.R Rahman and everyone else puts up an infuriatingly washed out show as compared to him. Let's just settle with saying that it was a proficiently thought film that we see moving inevitably towards death, putting us through excruciating heartbreak and pain through its run time. Mr Ali, what on earth happened to you?

"From the onstart itself I have had a problem with the perception of 'Stockholm Syndrome' in this film. It is revealed much later in the story that Alia's character Veera comes with an emotional baggage as heavy as Mahabir's to justify the connection between the duo. However experimenting with the volatile idea here doesn't reap much good for the movie as a whole.

"Highway whips up all the ingredients required for an intriguing film but goes wrong as a whole. It is bold subject handled flimsily and doesn't come close to believable. There is excessive heavy handedness in the screenplay and somehow the effortless ease that signifies the beauty of Imtiaz's films is absolutely missing from it."

Srijana Mitra Das of The Times of India said: "Straight up, Highway is not a sunny, funny road-trip. It is Imtiaz Ali's starkest, darkest work yet.

"Highway belongs unabashedly to Alia Bhatt. Her Veera is stunning - sincere and simple, prettily earnest, shakily emotional. Bhatt's range and prowess are evident in her timid confidence, the slow swagger Veera gains as she takes control of the situation, captivating her captor, confronting assault. 

"Highway is not an easy ride. But it offers fresh breezes and new sights."

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV said: "Writer-director Imtiaz Ali has hit a road less taken. The result is a stylish two-hander that is defiantly unconventional, if not entirely satisfying.

"Shot on stunning locations spread from Delhi all the way up to the slopes of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, via the plains of Rajasthan and Punjab, the film yields bewitchingly beautiful images. 

"Highway bears the unmistakable Imtiaz Ali stamp. The songs are niftily integrated into the narrative; the focus is squarely on the plot; and the female protagonist isn't a mere object of desire.

"It has many a moment that is endearing and exquisitely etched, but the film is not always engaging enough to be able to offset the occasional inertia that stems from its lack of physical action. Highway dishes out a trip that is definitely worth the price of the ticket."

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