With the World Cup & exams in full swing, the films has been far & few in the last fortnight or so. Actually the last Bollywood film that I had watched was "Dum Laga Ke Haisa", which was pretty good though I haven't written the review for it. This week saw the release of "NH10" which has Anushka Sharma donning the role of a producer for the first time. It has been showcased as a road movie & the promos promises it to be an edge of the seat thriller. So has Anushka invested her money wisely???
Meera (Anushka Sharma) & Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam) are happily married couples settled in Gurgaon who decides to take a break from their high profile jobs to usher in Meera's birthday over the weekend at a private villa. They set off on their trip at a leisurely pace until they stop over at a dhaba for some refreshments. There they witness a couple being mercilessly thrashed by a bunch of hoodlums, who incidentally seemed to be led by the girl's brother. Arjun tries to intervene & placate the situation but to no avail as he gets slapped in the process before the gang leaves the scene with the couple in their grasp. Meera & Arjun resumes their journey, but on the way they witness the gang's vehicle & much to her displeasure he follows them. So what were the gang going to do to the couple & can Arjun save them from further torture???
After the critically acclaimed "Manorama Six Feet Under" which released in 2007, Navdeep Singh is back with his latest venture which yet again proves his credentials. The script by Sudip Sharma is undoubtedly inspired from "Eden Lake" & it has been Indianised quite impressively by bringing in the angle of honour killing. Navdeep gives us an ample view of the vast expanses of lawlessness & male dominated terrains still prevalent in many parts of the nation. Both the halves keeps us engaged & gives us a lump in the throat, when we realise that incidents like honour killing does exist in our society. All the technical aspects were spot on be it Jabeen Merchant's sharp editing, Arvind Kannabiran's impressive visuals or the BGM by Karan Gour which was in sync with the mood of the movie.
Anushka Sharma was fantastic as the protagonist as her body language, expressions (oscillating from helplessness to nerves of steel) made the character so impactful. It wouldnt be prudent to proclaim that she is presently in pole position to sweep the awards. Neil Bhoopalam has done a fine job while Darshan Kumar does evoke a chill in our spines. The rest of the cast have done an equally praise worthy job & Navdeep needs to be appreciated for his apt choice of actors. A special word of mention for Deepti Naval who sizzled in a guest role as the village sarpanch.
Verdict: The film is undoubtedly one of the best thrillers in recent times but it's going to appeal only to a niche audience. Since the investment is peanuts when compared to many of the other movies, I believe it wouldn't burn Anushka's fingers. In short, if you are ready for a dark thriller...this is surely an apt choice!!!
Released just over a week after the controversial and incorrectly named documentary "India's Daughter" flocked the media, NH10 is a social commentary that neither inspires nor deciphers.
A couple (Sharma & Bhoopalam) witness an aggressive incident of honor killing during a holiday trip. Abashing causes the ubiquitous male ego to splutter, and what follows is a serious commentary on crime in a morally corrupt rural India. Basically, the film is a chronicle about attacks and harassment against women that start from the core (national interiors) and spreads to the urbane neighborhood. It is surprising to learn that superstitional crime is spearheaded by a matriarch and that women are not at only the receiving end, but are even a part of it. It will be wise to conclude that Gandhi's ahimsa (violence) is the best way to look at the ongoing mishappenings around us, even if it means letting your ego go and sustain mental suffering.
The terrorizing experience when an ordinary person gets embroiled in crime is greatly captured. But Mr Singh's amateur direction is evident throughout the narration. Suspense is created solely with the help of manipulative score and good photography. And while the themes are interesting, the screenplay may repel its sensitive audience. Which means, the intensity of crime elements will not be suitable for a person who enters the hall expecting typical Bollywood.
Neil Bhoopalam is the new Arjun Rampal, with a wooden face, version 2. Anushka Sharma definitely steals the limelight, and I have to say she strikes the right chord with her maiden production (only if she had paid more attention to the originality and closure of the script). Deepti Naval's brief role was like Anil Kapoor's forgotten one in Mission: Impossible 4 (2011).
Alas, the chronicle is narrated of a world which is a mixture of reality and artificiality. Since the beginning, the screenplay tries inventive ways to base its construction, but eventually falters. How else can one explain the procuring of firearm for women's safety as a way of disentanglement? And the film continues to work itself on fool's ideas. There is some more sermoning on the caste system in India, but it takes you nowhere. While the ugly side of India is captured well with obscene inscriptions behind restroom doors and decrepit walls that we often see in trains and elsewhere, the film loses traction when it turns into a revenge drama, hoping to provide a solution I told you about.
It, thus ends up in an abyss of illogic and mindless pudding. And the aftermath is left to us, perhaps to increase our misery already pumped up by the highly uncomfortable watch.
BOTTOMLINE: Advocating criminality in the name of women empowerment is ridiculous and an incorrect way of tackling the subject, and for that matter, NH10 does only that. Thus, while the film is a gripping thriller per se, it shouldn't be taken seriously, and thankfully for the way it is made, it most probably will not. 5/10.
NH 10, a thriller film by Navdeep Singh. Just last month we saw badlapur of Varun Dhawan and here is Anushka’s badlapur story – NH 10. A great performance by Anushka. This is also a debut of Anushka as a producer. This movie is not a light-hearted entertaining movie, but definitely, it is going to touch your heart. It might leave you disturbed, make you wonder, why all these has to happen at all. Every now and then when we flip newspapers in the morning, the newspaper tells the story of honour killings in our country. Honour killing is a brutal act. I often think, how can one’s own parents or a sibling can be reason of their murder. We as a society say that we are progressive, but is it really so? What progressiveness we are speaking about, we are still stuck in dualism: either-or, win-lose, me-you, us-them. I say that I adore my religion, but I have no space to accept others’ religion. So much engrossed in ‘me-ness’ and ‘me-right-attitude’ that we are not able to look at other’s right. In this 21st century also, we have so many honour killings in our country, just because one chooses his or her life partner going against the wishes of parents or so called societal norms/ traditions. NH 10 is a film, which shows, how a couple accidentally becomes witness to an honour killing and then what follows form the story.
Anushka plays the role of Meera, a high profile corporate executive, and wife of Arjun (Neel Bhoopalam – Serial 24 fame – Arjun’s profession is not clear but appears to be influential). Initial frames of the movie shows Meera and Arjun attending a high profile party. Meera has to leave the party due to urgent office work – a product launch, and is attacked by a group of men but survives the same. Arjun get a licensed gun for Meera (with the influence of his friendship with DIG officer) hoping that this is good for Meera’s self-defense. Meera is traumatized after the incident. Arjun understands her trauma and wants to take her for a holiday on her birthday.
And that is how, the story of NH 10 begin. Arjun and Meera start their getaway trip by road from Gurgaon – National Highway 10. Arjun has booked a private villa for them. When they stop at a road side dhaba for some food, they witness a young girl and her husband being picked up by a bunch of goons. Arjun tries to intervene, and stops the man clutching girl’s hair, but is told that she is his sister. Arjun persists and gets slapped by the girl’s brother Satbir (Darshan Kumar – Mary Kom movie fame). Enraged Arjun chases them in spite of Meera asking him not to do so, absolutely unaware of the danger which lies ahead. Arjun just wanted to teach the villagers a lesson.
What happens thereafter? How Arjun and Meera’s journey for relaxation turn out to be tumultuous and turbulent? What happens to them, when they become witness to this young couple’s honour killing? How do they respond, when they find themselves in the middle of a land where they find the misfit between percption & reality