Highway

Mar 8, 2015

Recently a friend tried to cheer me up by asking me to imagine him dancing with Alia Bhatt. In retrospect it would’ve worked, but at the time I had no clue who Alia Bhatt is, so it didn’t really work. Upon looking her up and see how cute she is, I set out to watch the three newest films she’s been in: 2 States, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Highway. After watching the first two films I was convinced that Alia is capable of only two noteworthy expressions:

The one where she purses her mouth and pouts:

Alia Bhatt's pout

And the one where she gives a close-mouthed smile:

Alia Bhatt's smile

But after watching Highway I definitely have newfound respect for her. The movie is unlike the typical drivel that Bollywood continues to churn out year after year. It’s script is entirely unlke anything I’ve seen before (even in Hollywood) and despite the fact that it doesn’t really break the norm of having romance in Hindi films, it does a lot of things right. And Alia’s performance in the movie is exemplary. She displays a wide range of emotions through body language, speech and expressions and really nails the performance of a girl who has been kidnapped. The wiki page claims that the movie is about a kidnapped girl who develops Stockholm Syndrome but I’m not entirely convinced that she has Stockholm Syndrome in the movie. At the risk of spoiling the movie, I’ll just say that some of her actions seemed a lot more far-fetched than empathy towards her captors or even defending them. I mean, she does seem like a changed person towards the end of the movie, and the experience appears to have affected her in a rather positive way, so I’m not certain that the director intended to portray her behavior as being solely the result of bonding with her captors under a stressful situation.