Friday, February 21, 2014


4 stars!

Captivated By This Road Trip

Mini Review:

This beauty and the beast on a road trip is a captivating tale well told. Imtiaz Ali takes his time to share all the secrets. The best film so far of 2014!  

Main Review:

Have you ever felt like escaping your own life? Finding freedom? Fleeing to a place in the mountains where you could stand on your tiptoes, reach out and touch the skies? Then this movie will find a place in your heart. 

It's a road trip movie, so unlike Imtiaz Ali's previous rom-com Jab We Met, that there seems to be an almost a DrJeykll/Mr Hyde thing happening here. Everything a shrink could take delight in is in this movie. And making you sit up straight (when you are not swallowing an emotional lump in your throat and secretly wiping tears) is this surprise package called Alia Bhatt. Stripped of make up, stripped of her 'Radha wants to paartyyyy' image, stripped of all fripperies that accompany a name on the marquee, Alia Bhatt makes you watch the screen as she holds your attention, scene after scene.

But what good is beauty without the beast? Randeep Hooda is perfectly cast as the rough, uncouth, and delightfully disheveled beast who takes beauty on a road trip and finds gentleness himself.   

Be careful what you wish for is what they say. And a young girl gets her wish and more when she makes a wish just to get away from the rituals and customs of her family.

But is it just wish fulfillment? A taste of freedom? Or a case for shrinks? Imtiaz Ali touches all parts forbidden and breaks off from his mainstream mode and takes the road less traveled. Literally and figuratively. We get to see stunning snow-clad mountains in Himachal and we visit cold, lonely places inside the hearts and heads of the two protagonists. You weep for the loss of childhood, the implied and exploited violence, the Stockholm syndrome (Is it? Or is it gratitude?). You smile because secretly you have wished for the same freedom, unbridled by time or money...

Yes, there are a couple of speedbumps on this road trip where you shake your head and hear Amitabh Bachchan say, 'Hain?' in his most melodramatic voice. But the rest of movie is a revelation: you don't feel the need to eat pop corn or drink coffee to stay alert. Even the minor characters are well cast. 

The background music, which is so annoying and intrusive in most Hindi films, is practically absent. There is A R Rahman and his all too familiar addition of 'dargah' music, but you love the folk singers at the travelers tapri chai stop, and the lullaby (sung hauntingly by Alia Bhatt and Zeb of Zeb And Hania fame)...

Initially, the road shots from the passenger seat made me a tad roadsick. And I wondered if we would have to suffer the long and winding road shots all through the movie. Thankfully the story kicked that thought right out of my head and slapped the hand reaching out for Avomine.

It's one of the best road trip movies that I have seen, and it certainly the best of the year, so far. And it's a movie that made me sing: all the way back home...

Do yourself a favor. Take that wilderness holiday you have been dreaming of for a while. But see this movie first. 

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