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Analysis

Imtiaz Ali’s Highway completes 5 years and Veera – Mahabir still rule our hearts

As Highway completes 5 years, we revisit and cherish the world created by Imtiaz Ali, Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda

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Imtiaz-Ali-Alia-Bhatt-Highway

Have you ever dreamt of living in mountains? Ever felt home away from home? Veera did, but her journey till the realisation was a long one. Blowing life in every aspect of the frame with storytelling is an art and director Imtiaz Ali is a master at it. It was February 21, this same day when Highway released five years back in 2014. It’s been five years and Veera and Mahabir are still with us.

Quick recap, Veera (Alia Bhatt) a young bride-to-be gets kidnapped by a criminal Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) when she goes on a long drive one night with her fiancé whom she doesn’t love. Mahabir keeps on travelling with Veera from location to location as to not get tracked. In the journey far from being afraid of her kidnappers, Veera explores an adventurous and liberating life.

Alia-Bhatt-Highway

Both of them have gone through a lot in their lives. Veera is a city girl, rich, beautiful, seems like what problem can someone have who has every luxury in the world. They say family is the place we are safest in, Veera was sexually abused when she was a little girl by her uncle. Her parents didn’t listen to her. Even living around her family and blood relations, everyone in her home was a stranger to her. It was claustrophobic for her to breathe in there. The film begins with her coming out for a drive because she wants to breathe. She is getting married to a guy she doesn’t love just to get away from the strangers that call themselves her family. The trauma and the whirlpool made her go inside her cocoon.

Randeep-Hooda-Highway

Mahabir grew up in a rural set up and under a very cruel father. He has seen his father pushing his mother to sleep with his bosses. He has seen domestic violence, and also had a violent childhood himself. Eventually he craves for fondness and love in his life. To not be overpowered by emotions he portrays himself as rude.

Veera and Mahabir are those two pieces of a puzzle that complete each other. Their story is not a conventional love story, rather they fill the voids in each other’s life. Mahabir becomes the protector and a father figure which Veera always felt was absent in her life. On the other hand Veera fills in his world with care and love. They join and become one.

Alia-Randeep-Highway

Though Veera gets a chance to run away and lands up into a barren white dessert when she realises that’s her life back at home, empty,  and runs back to the kidnappers. That’s when Stockholm syndrome enters. Yes, the movie is based around a syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is when a hostage develops good feelings for his/her kidnapper or just accepts the way as to survive. Highway in a subtle way is the execution of Stockholm syndrome. That is the power of Imtiaz Ali’s storytelling, he discusses many problems in his films without naming them even once. Highway talks about child abuse, domestic violence, kidnapping, Stockholm syndrome, and though you won’t find a single mention but the point is proved and you have already loved it.

Alia-Randeep-Highway

When she tells Mahabir “Me Chahati Hoon Ye Raasta Kabhi Khatam Na Ho” her eyes say she has finally found home. Home is a feeling that she never got with her family. She opens up to her kidnapper, cries, dances, talks to herself and realises it is him who has bought the real Veera out and the cocoon no longer exist. When they finally fulfilled Veera’s dream to have a home in mountains, it was no longer a film but emotion. Every Mahabir needs a Veera and every Veera deserves a Mahabir.

It’s been five years but still I don’t want to give out the end and spoil the story for anyone who has not seen it. Go relive the journey.

Everything with this film was on point, acting, music, cinematography. The mountains came alive, the paddy fields danced and story touched our hearts.

Highway-posters

Imtiaz Ali gave us a story that will stay with us forever. This isn’t just a film but Veera and Mahabir’s journey through the sarso ke khet, snow clad mountains, their life, her dream and also a dreamland where we would love to live in.

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