Monday, March 16, 2015

NH10 Review

"One night strand"

In most of the realistic films, there happens curious instances or situations where we question where does "realism" end and where does "the film" begin, or vice-versa. Such instance started off, quite brilliantly, Sriram Raghavan's recent revenge saga Badlapur- Don't Miss The Beginning, with a rité like opening shot- observing a broad day of a city street till that shot breaks when a car races and is being chased by another with racy music in the background, and then we know the film has started. NH10 does the same thing the other way. In its consistent realistic fabric, it makes and breaks cinematic shots. This film too opens in a car. But contrastingly, we are observing the city, from within the car, quite romantically, with jazz music in the background (Now, this is the kind of romanticism we generally associate with Bombay, and not Gurgaon or Delhi region). 

Gurgaon is a city exasperatingly built on the capitalist ideals with little existential culture or cosmopolitanism of a metropolitan city. It breathes near the villages that live in orthodox times. And this socioeconomic schism between the two worlds produce clashes and crimes. What passes through this growing city and the surrounding villages is patriarchy and a National Highway, NH10, where the film's two leads from the city are caught in a cat and mouse chase with men from the orthodox society who are there to restore their honour by killing an eloping couple. These two extreme set of people collide when the urban man makes a dumb but half-courageous move. At least, he was courageous enough to step out of the car and intervene with the uncouths, unlike that Vinay character, who belongs to the same set of urban yuppies, from Imtiaz Ali's Highway who in return sterns the female victim there. After his somewhat dumb move, the plot sucks you in, spirals down to a hide and seek game with danger looming over the head so tightly that you expect any attack coming from any side at any moment.

In this linear narrative of what happens one night, Sudip Sharma (the writer), manages to pull out dramatic turns and twists that breaths and rushes at well-placed time with reason. Otherwise, how else would you expect an interval in a story that is on a continuous run? The twist that the house that Meera (Anushka Sharma) runs into for help is of the offenders themselves looks like a convincing plot-point in the writer's favour. But when looked in the scheme of its sociological aspect, it convinces you with the fact that honour-killing is committed not by the poor or powerless but only by those with power. A stunning revelation there of how an oppressed women in that house tricks to help out Meera after learning that she is a victim of the same men of her household, and her own son laughs when she is beaten by the head lady of the family (and also of the village) tells us how patriarchy is imbibed even in the young sons of the family. This adds much detail and depth to the film telling what its protagonist has been exactly fighting with that night.

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