Tag Archives: Mira Nair

Capernaum (2018)

Capernaum Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Rarely does a film have the potential to empower you, aspire you and at the same time make you feel ashamed of the world you are living in!

My Ratings: 4.4/5

A young boy, only 12 year-old sues his parents! The child wants his voice to be heard. He wants the judge to listen to him. He wants all the adults in the world to listen to him. But what is it so important that a dirt poor Beirut street kid has to offer? May be something we all know but choose not to care about.

“I want to make a complaint against my parents. I’d want adults to listen to me. I want adults who can’t raise kids not to have any. What will I remember? Violence, insults or beatings, hit with chains, pipes, or a belt?”

Capernaum is a film that portrays the adventures (hardships to be more appropriate) of Zain, a kid from Lebanon who runs away from his abusive parents and tries to figure out the pitiless world on his own. He meets interesting people on his journey, the old forgetful Cockroach man, and then an Ethiopian woman named Rahil. She is an immigrant without legal papers who lets Zain stay at her place. And in return Zain takes care of Rahil’s toddler while she is out at work. But soon Zain is again on the street, cold hungry and shelterless, with nothing but the toddler and a stolen skateboard – standing all alone against the world outside!

No wonder the film’s title Capharnaüm means ‘chaos’ in Arabic, and is also a reference for the Biblical town cursed by Christ.

Capernaum
Capernaum Official Poster

Directed by Nadine Labaki, Capernaum was the official Lebanese entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA and almost every other prestigious film festivals across the world. Competing for the Palme d’Or, it won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and received a 15-minute standing ovation following its premiere!

A work of fiction but based on reality! Each character in the film has been influenced by some real person whom Nadine Labaki met and interacted while researching on the plot. Surprisingly all non actors were casted in the film. The shoot went on for six months which gave her 12 hours of footage to edit from. And then the editing process lasted for over two years!

Capernaum
Capernaum movie still

The brilliant cinematography by Christopher Aoun of the Beirut alleys gives the film the much needed documentary like reality and the performances of the actors are unbelievably genuine! Specially the young lead actor is simply terrific, he is an actual Syrian refugee named Zain Al Rafeea. 

For me Capernaum brought back fond memories of Danny Boyle‘s Slumdog Millionaire and Mira Nair‘s Salaam Bombay! But then again it will be an injustice to compare such movies because these are not mere cinema but a shout out to the society we live in. They show us the real world. They show us the mirror. They show us that we have lost the battle. They show us that may be we still have a chance!

If you still haven’t please watch Capernaum. You may be in tears but you won’t regret it. Trust me.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Most Influential Films Banned in India (10+1list)

Most Influential Films Banned in India

written by Souranath Banerjee

In India it is not always enough to make good Cinema; the more challenging part for the directors and producers is to make sure that their movie gets released on big screen!

This year only, the producers of Udta Punjab (a film based on drug udta-punjab-posterabuse in Punjab) had the most highlighted and controversial court fight with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) headed by Pahlaj Nihalani. Finally Anurag Kashyap (representing the Phantom productions) did win the legal battle and the film was cleared with only a single cut. 

But movies being banned is nothing new in India. Due to reasons that may be political or social, it can be for abusive language, use of narcotics or due to explicit sexual content, numerous films have been delayed and some unfortunately have never seen the light of a movie theatre yet!

Here is a list of some of the most influential films Banned in India. Do watch them to know the importance of these films and the real reasons for them being out of reach of their audience.

10. Sikkim (1971)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmSeVvA61xU

Sikkim-PosterDirected by legendary Satyajit Ray, this is a documentary on Sikkim commissioned by the then King of Sikkim Chogyal.

The brilliantly made film is about the sovereignty of Sikkim. But in 1975 when Sikkim became a part of India the documentary was banned by the Indian Government. 

Recently, in 2010 the ban was lifted and the classic is now available for all you film lovers!

9. Fire (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnshN0wqiCo

fire-poster1Directed by Deepa Mehta, this is one powerful Indian film that tells the story of two wives from a middle class family who being frustrated by their loneliness and dissatisfied sex-life ignites a lesbian relationship among themselves.

Bold and thought provoking – though globally appreciated and well received but was predictably banned in India right after its release!

8. Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqztmYen6co

kama-sutra-poster1With numerous candid sexual scenes throughout the film, although artistic and sensual in a very royal-Indian way, this film of course couldn’t manage to pass the morality test of the Indian Censor board.

Directed by Mira Nair, a brilliant piece of storytelling which was too offensive for the audience of a country from where the whole concept of ‘Kama Sutra’ was actually originated. What an Irony! 

7. Parzania (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHWPWsOmoWA

parzania-posterA brilliant film that dares to portray the horrific and painful genocide that took place in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, commonly known as the Gujarat riots!

It was banned in Gujarat because of it’s sensitive subject even though director Rahul Dholakia and lead-actress Sarika won the National award for the film!

Great performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Corin Nemec as well.

Another film on the same subject that was banned too was Nandita Das‘s Firaaq (2008)

6. Black Friday (2004)

Film scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1mkPQI9z0

black-friday-posterThe 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts that shook the entire nation and then, it’s aftermath – a film that managed to portray it all and that too in a brilliant graphic manner.

This Anurag Kashyap film was too dark and realistic to release at the time specially since the trail decisions of the many arrested were pending.

5. Bandit Queen (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66uIVFb6ATA

bandit-queen-posterAbusive language, nudity, sexually offensive content – the biopic on the media-hyped woman-bandit Phoolan Devi was banned by the Indian Censor board due to all those reasons!

But then again the film directed by Shekhar Kapur, is one of the most courageous and dramatic Indian biopic that I have seen till date!

Seema Biswas won the National Award for her stellar performance as Phoolan Devi while Shekhar Kapur won the Filmfare Best director award!

4. Garm Hava (1974)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJqPQjADWGE

garm-hawa-posterScorching Winds, the film that depicts a Muslim family struggling to find their identity as our country was reeling through the repercussions of the partition.

Directed by M.S. Sathyu, and brilliant performance by Balraj Sahni, but the film was banned since the subject matter was considered to be too sensitive for the time. Finally, after 8 months it got released, and yes – the film was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film festival!

3. Aandhi (1975)

Film song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-HnmVg0-O8

aandhi-posterDirected by Gulzar, this one was banned during the time of it’s release due to the fact that the lead character played by Suchitra Sen seemed to have similarities with the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Later in 1977 the movie finally got it’s theatrical release; the film won the best critic award and Sanjeev Kumar won the best actor at the Filmfare Awards!

2. Amu (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqGGM8xl3Qw

amu-posterA film based on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a brilliant story woven around the genocide that once shook our country.

Directed by Shonali Bose and superb performance by Konkona Sen Sharma, the film got banned of course because of it’s sensitive subject matter but it did get a release with an adult rating  and some specific audio-cuts. The film won a National Award that year!

  1.  Water (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7uM-CbzIAI

water-posterAnother one from the highly acclaimed director Deepa Mehta, a stunning portrayal of the widows in India who are forced into a life of extreme sacrifice and poverty. 

The film was not only restricted from the release by protesters who felt it was too controversial a topic for the Indian audience, even the sets of the film were attacked by fanatics while the film was being shot!

and (The ‘+1 film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Gulabi Aaina (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEWPwrAjgpY

gulabi-aaina-posterThe Pink Mirror – a 40min short directed by Sridhar Rangayan which explores homosexuality in India. Through this unique film the concept of trans-sexuality was addressed probably for the first time in our country.

Needless to say a bold film on gender issues has to be banned by the Censor Board even when it was screened in more than 70 film festivals and been appreciated by the critics all across the globe!

Similar Interest: Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust

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Poster courtesy: sikkimnow.blogspot.inwww.imdb.com.

Most sexually explicit erotic films ever made (20+1list)

Most sexually explicit erotic films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Most sexually explicit erotic films ever made: ‘The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting.’ – Gloria Leonard.

The above quote may be true to a certain extent but it needs a lot more than just lighting to create beautiful erotic Cinematic moments.

There is a thin line that separates erotica from porn; often indeed a difficult task to specifically define their boundaries. I Am Curious (Yellow)

Lust, desire, urge, passion – cinema has the capability to arouse all these powerful emotions in the audience but only a handful of directors have actually used erotica to its full potential.

It’s not about simply showing sexual content but about creating the mood, the flavor, the drama and enhancing the emotions of the characters through it. The best sex scenes in a movie (no matter how explicit they are) serve their true purpose only if they justify the story-line.

And then, of course, how sensually they are enacted and dramatized is directly proportional to the audience’s excitement!

Here are some of the most sexually explicit erotic films made by the very finest directors from across the world.

Hope you enjoy the list.

20. Ken Park (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IeRBVFcEhU

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA unique portrayal of the lives of a handful of teenagers who has two things in common – dysfunctional families and skateboards.

Oh! and Sex too.

Directed by Larry Clark and Edward Lachman, this movie tries its best to bring-out the messed-up dilemmas of young suburban minds specially in regard to their sexual desires. Both experimental and explicit, definitely worth a watch.

19. Shame (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24cjqfVv1fs

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA man who can’t seem to maintain a steady relationship because he is always looking for sex! The complexities of the twisted mind of a sex addict and the burden of ‘shame’ he has to shoulder have never been so accurately shown before.

Director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender join hands after Hunger (2008), creates something so emotionally complex, controversial and yet so alluring.  

18. Shortbus (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z_K1tDkEa4

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films“So you’re a sex therapist and you’ve never had an orgasm?”

No sex therapists needed, if you are a New Yorker and having problems in your sexual relationships you visit to this exclusive club ‘Shortbus’.

Opened at 2006 Cannes Film Festival – director John Cameron Mitchell takes us through an explicit and exclusive journey of fun and sensuality.

17. Don’t Look Down (2008)

No mires para abajo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtSp0mi4twA

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA disturbed teenager while sleepwalking falls on the bed of a sensual girl who teaches him all about the ‘birds and the bees’ and much more!

Directed by Eliseo Subiela, a highly underrated film that speaks about death and sexuality, love and pleasure.

Definitely the most erotic coming of age movie ever made!

16. Sexual Chronicles of a French Family (2012)

Chroniques sexuelles d’une famille d’aujourd’hui (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmcwW5VQNX0

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA young teenager boy is caught masturbating in biology class and gets suspended from school. But before he eventually gets some real action his entire (French) family open up about their sexual experiences and desires!

Directed by Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr, a film that treats sex as a basic human necessity as sometimes it’s difficult to digest the fact that everyone (including our family members and relatives) enjoy the act of sex and there is nothing wrong about it.

15. En la cama (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV92axPOADM

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsTwo strangers meet up at a party and end up in a hotel room to have sex – casual sex. But can such a random encounter between two unknown people mean anything more significant than just a night of passion?

Directed by Matías Bize, the entire film is shot in one location with only two actors who share their fears, desires and emotions while having sex in regular intervals!

14. Lie with Me (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_lZsadY9XE

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA nymphomaniac girl finally meets her equal – an aggressive artist with whom she soon starts a steamy relationship but then he is a possessive man who demands commitment and she seems to be not ready for that yet.

Directed by Clement Virgo, one of the most sexy and well-shot film with abundance of explicit content through which the central characters are sketched and defined.

13. The Exterminating Angels (2006)

Les anges exterminateurs (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJYmQcgx8-o

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA filmmaker is keen on making a project about ‘female pleasure’. And so he starts taking multiple auditions of females – some pleasuring themselves and others pleasuring each-other.

Directed by Jean-Claude Brisseau, this is one underrated voyeuristic film that not only has many explicit scenes but it also successfully portrays a genuine and sensual side of love-making which is rare.

12. Bitter Moon (1992)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3EMSHqkbfI

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films‘Everyone has a sadistic streak, and nothing brings it out better than the knowledge you’ve got someone at your mercy.’

Directed by acclaimed Roman Polanski, and Emmanuelle Seigner at her sexiest – this film has some of the most sensual scenes wrapped by a brilliant story of revenge and betrayal. Obsessive lust can often work the other way and doom a relationship for ever.

11. Love (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrLwFw7kFI8

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA couple who invites another girl into their bed but soon their threesome fun seems to misbalance their emotional relationship equilibrium.

Plenty of explicit sex scenes, stylishly shot and 3D too (a market strategy I guess), but overall there is an honesty about the characters which you can’t ignore.

Directed by Gaspar Noé, this is his unique and trippy take on sentimental sexuality. Go figure!

10. Stranger by the Lake (2013)

L’inconnu du lac (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgcEGKn7waI

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

The lake – a secluded spot for the strangers to become lovers. But what if one suspects his lover to be a murderer?

Directed by Alain Guiraudie, a suspense thriller that contains graphic gay sex. The sex scenes in this French film are natural yet non apologetic.

Not a single woman (actor) is used in the film!

9. In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

Ai no korîda (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP46wzCt-DA

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

This Japanese cinema was the first ever non-pornographic film to show some of the most unconventional sexual obsessions.

Directed by Nagisa Ôshima, the film is about the affair of a possessive woman and her master which leads to a wild climax.

Censored in most of the countries during it’s world-wide release; even the director was charged with obscenity on publishing the screenplay of the film in Japan itself. (Even its trailer in youtube is age-protected!).

8. Nymphomaniac: Vol. I & Vol. II (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdxzno5Xp2Y

Nymphomaniac-poster

The brilliant Danish director Lars von Trier came up with his most recent and probably his most sexually exhaustive film ever.

Edited in two parts, the film accounts for a self-claimed nymphomaniac and her innumerable erotic experiences. 

Charlotte Gainsbourg is as bold as ever but according to many critics the film is nothing but porn.

7. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

La vie d’Adèle (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2OLRrocn3s
Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Two young girls and their relationship – love, desire, despair and a lot of sex. 

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche – Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos brings to life one of the most sexually detailed lesbian affair on screen. 

The film is highly cinematic and has great emotional impact.

6. 9 Songs (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1HWcofsxJk

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

One of Michael Winterbottom‘s earlier works, this film is a collage of intense sexual encounters and rock concerts!

It doesn’t have a rigid narrative but overall the film manages to capture the mood of the young lovers to perfection.

The love-making scenes are very natural and erotic at the same time.

5. Sex and Lucia (2001)

Lucía y el sexo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLl_-3vHxFk

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

The Spanish director Julio Medem knows the secrets of erotica better than most of the others in his profession.

And working with as bold an actress as Paz Vega, the film boasts some of the best sensual moments ever created. 

The same director’s Room in Rome (2010) also recommended.

4. Boogie Nights (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOk0fsMGyck

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Starring Mark WahlbergJulianne MooreJohn C. ReillyHeather Graham – one of the most stylized and sexy film based on the porn industry in California in the 70s.

Directed by none other than Paul Thomas Anderson the film is the perfect combination of power, drugs, sex, music and passion.

The most stylish film in the list!

3. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Y tu mamá también (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qg6n7V3kO4

Alfonso CuarónSexually-explicit-erotic-films, the director of famous films like Gravity (2013) and   Children of Men (2006) have also directed this unique film.

Maribel VerdúGael García BernalDaniel Giménez – all together in this journey of self-awareness, eager to take on the teachings of life.

A road trip that involves friendship, love, trust and raw sexuality. Sex comedy at its best.

2. The Dreamers (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU1brBVMBkM

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Paris 1968, an American student who befriends a French brother and sister and experiences a unique level of friendship.

Michael PittLouis Garrel and the sensuous Eva Green (her first film).

Highly sexual in content, even incest and thus controversial – a film that only the acclaimed Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci could have handled so well. 

Far better than his other famous film Last Tango in Paris (1972).

1. Malèna (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIES83R56RY

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Probably the most popular film based on the age-old concept of a young boy who is sexually attracted towards an elder woman.

Directed by the master director Giuseppe Tornatore of Cinema Paradiso fame, this Italian film (especially because of the voluptuous beauty Monica Bellucci) has become a benchmark of young sexual awakenings and sensuality. A must watch.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c0JTj9sl_Y

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

And finally an Indian film by an Indian film-maker, none other than Mira Nair.

Starring RekhaNaveen AndrewsIndira VarmaSarita Choudhury among others, the film is an epic tale of sexual rivalry between two girls who were childhood friends. 

Candid sexual scenes throughout the film, elaborate and sensual in a very Indian way!

Some other films with extreme sexual and erotic content that could have easily made the list are I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967)The Lickerish Quartet (1970), A Real Young Girl (1976), Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), Jamón, Jamón (1992), Female Perversions (1996)Pola X (1999), Romance (1999), Killing Me Softly (2002), Wetlands (2013).

And now, a few classics which essentially deals with the psychology of sex like Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Fellini’s Casanova (1976), Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967), Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education (2004) and Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (2001). 

Similar Interest: Most sexually explicit violent films

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Similar Interest: Best Lesbian Films

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Renowned Indian Film Director Ritwik Ghatak made his first film Nagarik in 1952 (even before Satyajit Ray filmed Pather Panchali) but unfortunately the film was released twenty four years later, after the death of the director himself.

Probably Nagarik was the first art film of such caliber in the history of Indian Cinema but certainly never got the recognition it deserved.

Did Ritwik Ghatak himself got the recognition he deserved?

Well, I guess so.

Ritwik Ghatak was awarded Padma Sri for Arts in 1970 by the government of India.

His name is always taken in the same breath along with Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen considering them as the Best Indian/Bengali directors of all times.

Bagged the National Award for the story of his film Jukti Tokko Aar Goppo (Reason, Debate and a Story).

The popular film Madhumati (staring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, directed by Bimal Roy) got nominated in the Film Fare Award for the Best Story category and guess who wrote the story – Ritwik Ghatak.

Some of his films especially Meghe Dhaka Tara, Komal Gandhar, Subarnarekha, Ajantrik, Jukti Tokko Aar Goppo and Bari Theke Paliye are immensely appreciated and analysed by all the students in all the major film schools (especially in India).

Isn’t that enough recognition?

May be. May be not.

But one thing i can say with certainty – in this world some people doesn’t give a damn about other’s recognition and Ritwik Ghatak was one such genius.

His unique faming and composition techniques, his innovative sound designing, his realistic take on the society challenged the regular norms of film-making in that era.

In both conceptual and practical levels Ritwik Ghatak dared to be artistically different and he redefined Cinema in his own way.

Probably Ritwit Ghatak’s biggest recognition would be the influence he had (i am sure he still has) on the future generations of film makers including the likes of Kumar Shahani, Mani Kual, Mira Nair, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ketan Mehta, John Abraham among many others.

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak, his dedication towards cinema and his vision can be best expressed in his own words –

Film-making is not an esoteric thing to me. I consider film-making – to start with – a personal thing. If a person does not have a vision of his own, he cannot create.

I believe in committed cinema.
I mean, commitment in the broadest sense of the term.

Highway (2014)

Highway review.

Written by Souranath Banerjee.

My Ratings: 4/5.

Recently saw director Imtiaz Ali‘s latest film Highway. A good experience – full of emotions and genuine performances.

But before probing into the film’s story-structure lets consider these two archetypes:

Story No 1. – You probably know the story of the princess who gets bored living the mundane, affluent life in her palace. She feels confined and skeptical about marrying the stereotype prince and all she wishes is to experience the real world. In the bizarre realm of cinema these kind of adventurous wishes are promptly granted and before you know it (or rather she knows it) our beloved princess gets sucked into the wicked but exciting, sometimes too-real-to-handle vortex of a thrilling new life. Highway-poster1Least assured she has the excitements of a lifetime and almost invariably finds the love of her life (generally a common man with sharp features who is largely responsible for keeping her safe from the bad, bad world through out her adventure).

This story version is very popular in Hollywood and two best examples are Princess Jasmine from animated feature Aladdin (1992), Rose in Titanic (1997).

Story No 2. – This time a different story but I am sure you know this one as well. A girl and a boy (specifically a rich girl and a poor boy) who are forced by certain unforeseen/unavoidable circumstances to stay together in very close proximity for long enough till they fall in love. These two must have dissimilar backgrounds and social class, contrast features and habits, different upbringings – the more incompatible the better! They should loathe each other at the start but finally they will be all sticky in love. Then it’s time for the parents to interfere. Usually the rich girl’s parents are more of a pain in the ass and the film ending totally depends on them – if they accept the good-for-nothing guy then it’s a love story (99% times that’s the case) but if they reject him (the other 1%), then it’s a tragedy.

This story version is extremely popular in Bollywood and two prominent examples are Raj and Simran in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Raghu and Pooja in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin (1991). 

highway-poster3Well, now bake these above two stories (the primary ingredients) and you have the base prepared. Now to make it smell different add the concept of Stockholm syndrome (where the kidnapped person falls for his/her kidnapper) and delicately sprinkle some sensitive issues of childhood trauma.

Highway is ready to serve.

Looks like an easy dish to prepare but I assure you it’s not. Only expert chiefs with the caliber and imagination of Imtiaz Ali can bring such unique flavors, where the actors and their emotions are marinated to perfection.

Brilliant performances – Alia Bhatt is so natural and spontaneous; she has managed to eclipse a much senior and gifted actor Randeep Hooda (Randeep has also done justice to his character but perhaps a bit less-utilized). The decision to cast Alia for the role was the trump and it really paid off (Imtiaz wasn’t that lucky in his earlier film Rockstar when he casted Nargis Fakhri in the lead role).

HIghway-posterIn a nutshell Highway is all about this fun-loving, rich, ‘bride-to-be’, young girl Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) – what happens when her life takes a wretched turn as she gets kidnapped by a crude, merciless criminal Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) – and finally how this unfortunate event changes her – she experiences love, her dreams come true and she learns to see the world from a different perspective.

Oscar winning composer A.R.Rahman‘s soulful music is skillfully weaved throughout the film to smoothen the bumps on the highway. (Thankfully not a single abrupt/forced song sequence added).

The attractive highway sequences seen mostly from the point of view of a moving vehicle (the truck) are always layered by the humming of the truck-engine to give the audience a feel of being a part of the journey. Excellent sound designing throughout the film – thanks to Amrit Pritam Dutta and the Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty.

highway-poster2No high-end camera rigs used, no artificial lights (in most of the shots), very less use of make-up for the actors, no extreme image manipulation in the post-production; credit goes to the cinematographer Anil Mehta who still managed to make the film look classy.

Two emotional sequences worth mentioning – one of Alia crying and laughing at the same time as she let herself go and the other one where Mahabir cries watching Veera making food and cleaning their new home in the mountains, very touchy and superb performances by the actors.

A scenic journey through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, seat back and enjoy the emotional love story of Veera and Mahabir as they hit the highways.

Highway is a film that will engage you, entertain you and in a certain level make you uncomfortable.

P.S – A note of comparison: There’s the scene where Veera confronts her uncle in front of other family members – she accuses him of abusing her when she was nine years old. I feel that Mira Nair handled the same kind of situation in her film Monsoon Wedding (2001) much better when the child abuser (played by Rajat Kapoor) gets accused by the victim (played by Shefali Shetty).