Posts Tagged ‘Highway’

Q and Umesh Kulkarni – two daring film-making voices from two different corners of the country, and whose films we always look forward to. And this time both of them seem to be trying something new which they haven’t done before. Q’s film is called Ludo and Umesh’s film is Highway Ek Selfir Aarpaar.

Q has directed the film with Nikon.

LUDO

Trailer :

Official Synopsis :

Four desperate teenagers. A night of sexy mayhem. The big city. Or so the plan goes, until a series of misadventures later, Babai, Pele, Ria and Payal end up in a locked shopping mall in the dead of the night. Alone at last… until an old couple appears out of nowhere with a piece of folded leather and a glass container with two dice made of bone. A game. Simple, but deadly. They call it Ludo. A game defiled by a young couple centuries ago. An unbreakable curse, a living board, eons of bloodbath spanning the subcontinent. A game that has reached this city. Not just monsters, but prisoners of fate. Immortal lovers existing under a curse that will not die. They live within the game. Blood must spill. Bone must shatter. Beware the rattle of the Ludo dice.

Cast & Crew

Rii, Tillotama Shome, Kamalika Banerjee, Joyraj Bhattacharya, Ananya Biswas, Murari Mukherjee, Ronodeep Bose, Soumendra Bhattacharya, Subholina Sen.

Directed By: Nikon, Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee)
Produced By: Celine Loop, Nandini Mansinghka, Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee), Tilak Sarkar
Screenplay : Nikon, Surojit Sen
Story Writer :Nikon, Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee)
Production Company(S) : Overdose Joint, Idyabooster, Starfire Movies

HIGHWAY

Trailer :

Official Synopsis

Highway is a film of that escape which all of us yearn for. It is an attempt to see our own reflections in today’s time.

Cast :
Girish Kulkarni, Huma Qureshi, Tisca Chopra, Renuka Shahane Rana, Vidyadhar Joshi, Mukta Barve, Sunil Barve, Mayur Khandge, Shrikant Yadav, Kishore Chaugule, Kishor Kadam, Vrishali Kulkarni, Purva Pawar

Like in the last few years, Rajeev Masand has done a series of roundtable discussions this year too. And the one which has the best panel and which interests us the most is the directors roundtable. This one had Vishal Bhardwaj (Haider), Rajat Kapoor (Ankhon Dekhi), Vikas Bahl (Queen), Imtiaz Ali (Highway), RajKumar Hirani (PK) and Abhishek Varman (2 States).

Continuing with our Year-End series, Rewind 2014, in this post our music blogger Rohwit picks up the best sounds of the year – the songs that he loved and we played in loop. In no particular order, this post includes both films and non-films music/talent/songs/album.

(More from our Rewind 2014 series : Musical Gems We Discovered This Year is here, Kaali Zubaan’s bollywood wrap is here, 18 Film Fanatics on 18 Films That Stayed With Them is here, Best of 2014 – Script of Queen is here, Script of Ankhon Dekhi is here)

  1. Jagave saari raina (Dedh Ishqiya) – Much has been written about this underwhelming album from Gulzar-Vishal collaboration. However, Hamri ataria and Jagave saari raina were beautiful exceptions. No, the antraa of ‘Na bolu main to’ weren’t as good as the mukhda, so I won’t include that song here. Even before the videos were released, we knew this would be the song that would capitalize on Mrs. Nene’s grace and her dancing prowess. To hear Pt. Birju Maharaj just sweetened everything that much more. Did I miss mentioning about how charming was Rekha Bhardwaj in the song? Well, you knew that already didn’t you?

  1. Fandry bird theme (Fandry) – No words should endeavor to convey what this cute little piece did to us. Give it a try here. In fact the love theme here is equally good. The use of Oudh and Cello lent a solid, raw feel to the sound and two thumbs up for that! Aloknanda Dasgupta ji, take a bow!

  1. Indian Ocean – If you have been living under a rock, then perhaps you might not have noticed the release of ‘Tandanu’ by Indian Ocean which will go down as one of the best albums by the group ever! From what could be easily termed as one of the most important films of the year, Katiyabaaz, we got the track ‘Kanpoora’, a must hear if you haven’t heard it already! (and what a delightful video!)

  1. Sooha saha (Highway) – Bollywood is running from darkness towards even more darkness when it comes to giving us songs which mothers can sing to their little ones. ARRahman took cognizance of this problem and gave us this tender piece from Highway. While Alia was rightfully showered a lot of credit for this song, we mustn’t forget AR Rahman’s ‘mixing and tuning’ and a solid Zeb who made this song what it is. Heera from this album comes a close second because it’s a  delicacy of sorts when Kabir and Rahman are credited in the same song. Here is Sooha Saha…much of the song’s impact was experienced thanks to a superlative Randeep Hooda. The World would be unfair if it doesn’t acknowledge Randeep this year for Highway.

  1. Suno na sang e marmar (Youngistaan) – Now that the well deserved nomination to Oscar has been sent, it would be criminal not to mention the blockbuster Youngistaan to the list. When Jackkkkie decided to diss Mayawati’s hardwork involving sang-e-mar-mar with a song, it gave us this hummable track. Frankly, I thought it took a lot of guts to film the song right where a lot of public money was wasted on sang-e-mar-mar (wink wink). The song was perhaps too good for the film and when Jeet Ganguly and Arijit recreated the magic for the Hindi version, they added some grandeur to the sound. Here is the Bengali version and here is the Hindi version. My favorite is the Bengali version of course!

  1. Title song (Revolver Rani) – the film might have fallen flat on its face but the title track of the film was a riot thanks to the word ‘bhasad’ and Usha Uthup! Do give it a try. Had the film done well, it would have played in a the loop on ‘popular’ charts, just the way they played vomit inducing Kicks and what not! And trust me, it is much more fun than all the garbage music of  100 crore commodities. Watch this video.

  1. Sketches of Darjeeling (Bipul Chettri) – I came across this album when it was released in the month of July, 2014 but didn’t hear it because I was quite occupied with my day job. Then one of the many ‘anonymous’ people who share music with me sent me one track from this album, and I punched myself for about 40 minutes continuously for having sat on the album for so long! Do hear my favorite track from the album titled – Ode to my father here, and then buy the album. The track is free flowing and you will hear the free flowing water as well. Is the track in Hindi? No. Does it matter? No!! So do pick it up!

  1. Ding dong (Finding Fanny) – I  couldn’t make sense of fusing this Goa film with a Punjabi title song and a messy song at that, still this one oozed out a lot of love, and we love it for that! Cliched as it might sound to some of us, but the song painted a picture of an adorable Uncle ‘Pedro’, who is liked by everyone,  singing this song near a beach, on just another day in Goa. Loved Mathias for this one!

  1. Haider (Album) – It won’t be right to pinpoint a song that was good because this album was the best from 2014. The only underwhelming part was the song by Arijit. I still feel that song was composed FVBV (For Vishal, By Vishal), and Arijit came in as an afterthought. This album is the reason we wait for Vishal and Gulzar to get together more often. All songs are here. Imagine the ‘Aao na’ opening bit and now count your goose pimples. Also, while we are on the subject…here is the Roohdaar theme from Haider.

  1. Oopar oopar renn de – Tanishk and Baba Vayu gave us a laid back anthem this year and I can openly declare with no hesitation that this was the best non-filmi song by a new band I came across in 2014. Hear the song once and tell me if you aren’t of the same opinion. I do hope they put the song on sale soon and that they don’t fizzle out after setting the bar this *high*!

  1. Mikey Mccleary – We all love everything Mikey does. Why else can you explain people sticking to networks which don’t work? May be because their ads are oh-so-musical and cute! It was no surprise that the album Mikey came out with was instantly likeable. If you haven’t heard the album yet, do hear it once! Our favorite – The world is our playground (Sung by Mikey) and Just a little crush (Sung by Shalmali). That said, Mikey’s song in Sonali cable wasn’t bad either. The entire album is available here.

Let me know if you agree with my picks of the year. And yours?

@Rohwit

Today morning, we were discussing reviews versus blogs. It started with a personal and candid post (Dad, We’re In Nebraska) by Rahul Desai. If you have seen Nebraska, do read it. It’s a strange feeling when you can identify your life with a film. And sometimes, it’s liberating in more ways than one. Today evening, we received another personal piece by @kuhukuro. This one is about Highway. An honest, brave, and candid open letter to the filmmaker whose film had an impact on her as it mirrors her life. Do read.

 Alia-Bhatt-and-Imtiaz-Ali-on-location-shooting-for-Highway-in-Punjab28.03.2013

Dear Imtiaz,

I am not a film critic, nor can I boast of being very cinema-savvy. But I have been insane enough to source my philosophies from cinematic moments. Films have been thriving territories for epiphanies. Highway comes at a point in my life when I am delving in the art of being ruthlessly honest to my feelings, of asserting myself, and of exploring a newer version of myself. This one is a film that resonates with me for various reasons.

For starters, I was also sexually abused as a child, and the perpetrator was a close relative. I could relate to the lingering and stealthy effect of the trauma depicted on screen. I also disclosed this fact to my family after entering adulthood. The film’s portrayal of the family’s reaction mirrored my situation. Watching Veera intrepidly telling it like it is and being unapologetically ‘herself’ in the last scene was heart-wrenching yet therapeutic for me.  I have not allowed myself that outburst though. Not yet.

Last year, my father succumbed to his mental illness and committed suicide. I know what you mean when you say that Bhaati’s death was the ultimate liberation for Veera. My dad’s death had a similar effect on me. I faced one of my worst fears. Nothing really terrifies me anymore. It incidentally also happened to be the year when I confronted the reality of my troubled marriage. Two trips that followed set me free in many ways. The salt pan scene in the film set against the ‘Tu Kuja’ soundtrack echoed my sense of self-inquiry.  After watching this film, I was even more convinced that a journey from which you don’t completely return was exactly what I needed. Unlikely confidants, unlikely confidences, and accidental yet gratifying connections were a part of my journey as well.

The journey in ‘Highway’ unfolds like a map of tragedies that exist in us, unfurls.  It was a catharsis to observe the metaphorical ride from fragility to strength to nerve. I was nodding my head vigorously in agreement while watching the moments on screen where the lines between terror and wonder blurred for Veera. I noticed that Veera climbed many rocks in the film – big and small. I am assuming it metaphorically indicated overcoming obstacles and the joy of small victories. Many people couldn’t fathom Veera’s behavior – laughing interspersed with crying, and then questioning herself aloud like she was having an out-of-body experience. According to my reading, her emotional reactions were a part of the process of shedding the repressed parts of herself, and, embarking on the confusing yet exhilarating expedition of letting her real feelings come to the fore.  Liberation is a strange and an idiosyncratic process.

The silent scenes in the film aptly mirrored the way a meditative stillness seizes our inner world, when we travel. Then you stumble upon moments that break you before they make you. They unshackle. They teach you to trust your gut. It is important for life to whirl you around and turn your world upside down oftentimes.

Memory is not something that fades in my case. It looms large and I crouch in its towering shadow. This time I have decided to soar higher than this menacing force. Patakha Gudi has egged me on to unleash that spirit, which was hitherto tucked away and silenced.

I have just begun the task of developing my own vocabulary to express who I am. Thanks to Highway, I am propelling myself further in the direction of dismantling norms that don’t serve me.

Before I sound like a gushing obsessive fanatic, I should wrap it up. Your film will be a part of the trajectory that is turning me into a functional, healthy, and a fulfilled woman. Thank-you Imtiaz, Thank-you Highway. I know I will get there soon. Along the way, I will live like I mean it.

@kuhukuro

As far as the reactions go, Imtiaz Ali’s new film ‘Highway’ is more or less on the same track like his last film Rockstar – completely divided between lovers and haters. And like last time, Ali was quite open and candid to discuss the strength and every weakness of the film, and took it all head on. We love and respect those filmmakers who are open to such dialogues. So thanks a lot, Imtiaz Ali. Whatever film you make, hope you remain like this.

We also hope more bollywood filmmakers will be open to such Q and As. Who really wants to read about the film pre-release, which is still quite the norm in the country. And post-release, they just vanish.

Also, it all happened because Navjot Gulati took the initiative, contacted Ali, sorted the logistics and made it possible. And thanks to Mihir Desai, Aniruddh Patankar and Sumit Purohit for the videos.

The film got over by 12:15 or so, and then the discussion went on till 2:30 am, and then it went on for some more time outside the theatre. It was great fun. Hope you guys enjoy the videos as much as we enjoyed the live session. Some questions might not be audible, so do use your headphones or speakers.

Thanks to PVR Andheri and Shiladitya Bora for helping us out with all the logistical support.

Editor’s Note: Imtiaz Ali’s much-awaited film ‘Highway’ released last Friday, and, over the course of just a few days, has achieved the unique feat of inviting equal amounts of love and hate. What’s even more remarkable is the vehemence with which both ‘lovers‘ and ‘haters‘ have expressed their views about the film. Barring the sedate review or two, sharp words have flown between between the two ‘camps’, especially if you’ve followed the buzz on Twitter. Or perhaps you’ve read the gloriously funny Neruda-take on the film. With this Highway it seems, there’s been no middle-road.

However, as the fires die down, it’s time to pause and reflect on this undoubtedly fascinating film that’s made some fans of Ali despair at his latest turn; some fans exult in his new achievement; and converted some Ali-sceptics into fans. For now, here’s Shivam Sharma taking stock of the film and taking you on a journey he greatly enjoyed.

Also, if you have seen the feature, click here to watch Imtiaz’s original telefilm which inspired the feature and was also titled Highway. And do participate in an interesting poll in that post.

(The following piece contains spoilers. It also contains personal whims, fancies, two languages and if the point gets lost in between somewhere then भूल-चूक, लेनी-देनी माफ़ कीजियेगा.)

“मैं हमेशा कहती थी न कि मैं भाग जाउंगी यहाँ से, मुझे शहर में नहीं रहना।
सब कहते हैं न, पर भागता कौन है?”

highway-1

१५ साल पहले इम्तियाज़ अली ने ज़ी टीवी के शो “रिश्ते” के लिए एक एपिसोड बनाया था उसके बाद उन्होंने काफी कुछ बनाया, हासिल किया और काफी हद तक बॉलीवुड में एक secure, genre-specific director बन गए. Especially after ‘Rockstar’, his biggest hit, his career graph has gone steadily upwards. ‘रॉकस्टार’ जैसी बड़ी hit देने के बाद, he had the option of going even bigger financially. Knowing how the industry works, giving a big hit generally works wonders — Nolan had a carte blanche to give his whims free rein after ‘The Dark Knight’; and so he made ‘Inception’. But the decision of not going bigger in terms of cast, budget and stars, and instead making a movie based on a story he wrote 15 years ago (or more) with a modest budget, stripped of most ‘Bollywood’ elements and with a not-so-bankable cast, tells us more about the director that Imtiaz is and the path he is on. ‘हाईवे’ की journey सिर्फ वीरा और महाबीर की नहीं है. ये इम्तियाज़ की भी उतनी ही “Finding oneself” वाली journey है. Back to his roots.
१५ साल पहले वाली.

Highway may not be Imtiaz’s best work but it’s definitely his most honest. Of all his films, this has the most scenes without crutches — minimal background music; long, apparently aimless scenes interspersed with silence as if they were unplanned; and scenes that are ‘real’, that feel raw: Veera laughing/crying without any reason sitting on a boulder by a freshwater stream; Mahabeer’s breakdown. Rough edges काफी visible हैं and some scenes seem unfinished in a sense. काफी clear है कि इम्तियाज़ खुद कुछ नया ढूंढ रहे हैं यहाँ. He relies more on his instincts and the power of raw scenes and narrative here than anything else — and he fumbles along the way quite often too. His warts are quite visible here and the screenplay isn’t entirely convincing. However, he has tried to get out of his comfort zone i.e. a strong soundtrack, typical funny side characters, likeable leads etc. The part which juts out like a sore thumb — and that I personally hated the most — was the end segment, the final 15 minutes where he tried to define everything, make sense of the proceedings and tie all the loose ends. It all felt forced and unreal. That part was the most Bollywood-like of the whole movie and I wish he had ended the film 10 minutes earlier and not necessarily provided a forced closure. (The Lunchbox followed it so beautifully. Ritesh Batra knew where to stop. पर it’s ok, कोई बात नहीं.)

The movie soars with the terrain it slowly travels — almost metaphorically. The part where Veera and Mahabeer lose themselves in the mountains, without a care in the world, is the most enchanting. These scenes soar higher than all others. सूफ़ियत कह लें या कुछ और, उस हिस्से में फ़िल्म एक अलग space में पहुँच जाती है. Imtiaz makes a great decision here to cut back on the spoken word and just let the ambient sounds and the scenery do the talking. This part is probably one of the purest cinematic experiences that I have had at a theatre ever.

highway-2

“एक गोली में आदमी ख़तम हो जाता है न?”
“दो आदमी.”

What looks like a simple ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ story gradually becomes much more as we go farther up the mountains and Imtiaz lets the story take its course beautifully towards the latter half (with the help of some great cinematography by Anil Mehta). There are many scenes without much dialogue here. These silent scenes help — they make you think; at that point, it all becomes subjective. You interpret what you want to, you become a part of the journey and maybe that’s what it all comes down to eventually.
You find stuff about yourself.

The two leads shine as does the supporting cast. Alia is brilliant in most parts, despite overdoing a few things here and there. But what a revelation she is! Randeep Hooda is restrained throughout and gradually takes over when Mahabeer finally breaks down. He is one of the best actors we currently have and this performance strengthens that position. AR Rahman’s music and background score take a backseat here and honestly he does not have that much to do. It’s just not that kind of movie maybe. ‘Patakha Guddi’ and ‘Maahi Ve’ are soulful; Sooha Saha is a lovely track as well. However, I really missed Mohit Chauhan’s vocals. The visuals reminded me a lot of especially this song of his.

Highway tries and succeds and fails and then succeeds again. It has some glorious highs and some not-quite-there moments but कुल मिला कर its highs spectacularly overshadow the lows and the movie now and again transcends into a रूहानी space which is well worth the journey — a rarity in Hindi cinema.

But I have always been a mountain person all my life so do excuse me for being a bit biased. चलिए फिर, I’ll see Highway again and try to find out more.
अपने बारे में.

Shivam Sharma aka @GhantaGuy

(Professional procrastinator. Amateur doer. I sleep, eat, drink and live movies. And right now I am trying to learn how to make movies at FTII)

UPDATE (22-02-2014) : Highway has finally released. As Imtiaz mentioned earlier, it’s a retelling of one of his earlier telefilm which was also titled Highway. If you have seen the feature and not seen the telefilm, scroll down and do watch it now. And do participate in our poll.

Please do also rate the feature film on the scale of One to Five

If you HATE spoilers and have not seen the feature yet, DON’T watch the telefilm or read the synopsis. DON’T  SCROLL  DOWN  ANY  FURTHER.

EARLIER POST (18-12-2013)

Has Imtiaz Ali rehashed his own Highway? Watch it and decide for yourself. This ‘Highway’ was part of Rishtey series on small screen. It stars Aditya Srivastava, Kartika Rane and Manish Chaudhari.

And here’s the official synopsis of this highway –

(SPOILER ALERT)

Vinay and Veera are going to be married in a week. They meet stealthily as they are forbidden to meet before the wedding. They go for a drive on the highway, but unfortunately, some thugs kidnap Veera. Vijay, the head of the gang, regularly supplies girls to brothels and Veera is his latest catch. He plans to sell Veera but the plan is put on hold as he learns that her fiance’s father is a police commissioner. Veera tries her best to escape, but is unsuccessful. Somehow, Vijay and Veera begin to get emotionally involved with each other. Veera and Vijay spend time together escaping to another place. Veera confides to him that she was raped as a child. She tells him that she feels very safe when he is around because he would not let any harm befall her. Having a change of heart, Vijay asks her to escape and return to her home. Will Veera go back to Vinay or choose to stay with Vijay?

Imtiaz did mention about this Rishtey episode in few interviews. But after looking at the trailer and this episode, it looks more or less the same. Let’s wait till the film releases to see how much has been changed.