Planet Bollywood
Producer: Window Seat Films, Sajid Nadiadwala
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Alia Bhatt, Randeep Hooda
Music: A.R. Rahman
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
Genre: Drama
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: 21 February 2014
Reviewed by: Samir Dave  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
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Music Review
Public Rating Average: 5.09 / 10 (rated by 412 viewers)
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There are two types of approaches to a film like Imtiaz Ali’s latest, “Highway”. The first is for the masala crowd who expects the usual kind of crowd pleaser movie from the unpredictable director. The second is the audience that wants something different and expects Ali to deliver each time. Though “Highway” is a good film, it seems that both sets of audiences will be a bit disappointed with this film that strives to be a bit more avante-garde than the usual Bollywood formula movie.

First, let’s be clear right off the bat. This is not a typical romance film. Instead we get a road trip movie that forces two people from different walks of life together, all while showing off the beautiful countryside/culture of India. I would say that the Indian landscape/culture is the third major character as it truly takes your breath away. The cinematography by Anil Mehta is beautiful to behold, and the sign of a true artist. The direction by Imtiaz Ali is solid throughout, but the screenplay by the director is uneven. The only really convincing character in the film is given by Alia Bhatt’s amazing performance as Veera, the spoiled brat who is kidnapped by Randeep Hooda’s Mahabir. Of course, what is a kidnapped girl to do, but fall in love with her kidnapper? Right. Therein lays the crux of the problem with "Highway’s" story. In a rush to get the duo to fall in love, the romance just doesn’t progress smoothly from fear and hate to love.

A.R. Rahman’s music which is in itself a major problem for the movie as it actually fails to elevate the film to a higher level (as Rahman’s music for “Rockstar” did). I know that I will be burned alive at the stake for saying so, but Rahman’s music for “Highway” is just not that magical or memorable. Sure, “Patakha Guddi” is a nice song to listen to (with beautiful lyrics by Irshad Kamil), but none of the tracks really make me feel like rushing to hit the repeat button. To add insult to injury, Rahman’s music borders on the banal, especially with forgettable tracks like “Wanna Mash Up”. No, Mr. Maestro, I do not “wanna mash up”. I truly hope that Mr. Rahman finds his musical mojo again, because I really love his past work, but lately his soundtracks just haven’t had that magical flare he is known for.

I realize that unfair comparisons to “Rockstar” will be made, but really “Highway” is a totally different creature feature. I applaud Imtiaz Ali, for continuing to push the boundaries of the niche he produces films within (that of romance…romance….romance….). I just wish “Highway” was as gripping and memorable as his previous releases. Oh, it’s worth a watch, but then you will hit the reality highway and forget all about the fictional one. Watch it with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed…..for Alia Bhatt delivers an amazingly nuanced performance, and steals the film from all the rest. Plus, the Indian landscape/culture itself is beautiful to behold. It’s my way or the “Highway” as a fan…..unfortunately with this film, it can’t be both.

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