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This provocative, unlikely Bollywood flick revolves around the bombardment of the norm, society’s dictates and  breathtaking freedom gained from being involuntarily ripped from one’s comfort zone; a kidnapping releases the chained, frustrated spirit of a traditional, wealthy, urban, spoiled sophisticate, engaged to the perfect prospect (cad of a man), “arranged” by the families of the mismatched pair.

Alia Bhatt (daughter of Soni Razdan and Mahesh Bhatt) gives a stunning, sensitive portrayal as “Veera”, whose kidnapping (not unlike Stockholm Syndrome) results in an unshackled liberation, a transformation so profound she thinks she is going insane. Kidnapper “Mahabir” (recalcitrant, in- depth performance by Randeep Hooda) slowly slips into the sublime, surreal aura that Veera engulfs him in; his brutal, outlawed life is bifurcated by the engaging wiles of this lovely, novel, exuberant beauty; an unfathomable coupling, even in contemporary India. A solid, legitimate love story evolves as aimless hours are spent traveling the isolated “highway”; miles dissipate, class/caste differences dim, eventually evaporate.

Writer/director Imtiaz Ali with a musical score by award-winner A. R. Rahman gift audiences a film rich in character development; complexities revealed as the Veera and Mahabir switch roles; avoiding fantasy, reality cunningly lurks, obstacles are shunned, ignored; the “highway” eventually dies; life and its expectancies prevail.

THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!


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