Different people embark on a journey of introspection and realisation.
Right from the opening credits till the moment it comes to a close, 'Highway' is a beautiful journey. The film marks Umesh Kulkarni's return to the director's seat after four years and it's every bit worth the wait. For a story that Girish Kulkarni culled out of a one-line brief from Umesh, the film has turned out extremely well.
Now, Umesh Kulkarni is a master short-film maker and his feature films have a touch of that mastery as well. Each frame speaks a thousand words; be it the chawl with a backdrop of a high-rise building, the camera focusing on the message on a car mirror or the clever editing that ensures a certain flow in the otherwise unlinked stories. Even in terms of an ensemble cast, the film has a surprisingly large number of actors and most of the first half goes into introducing their characters. An NRI (Girish), a married couple (Sunil Barve and Vrushali Kulkarni), a young football crazy guy (Nipun Dharmadhikari), a lonely wife (Tisca Chopra) and a TV starlet (Huma Qureshi) make up just the tip of the iceberg. Interestingly, the makers haven't compromised on the choice of actors. Even the smallest roles have brilliant actors; Mukta Barve, Satish Alekar, Kishore Kadam, Vidyadhar Joshi and Renuka Shahane to name a few. One would think that the mere presence of these actors will ensure that the film succeeds but for 'Highway', the emotions, journey and the story are the real stars.
With the introduction done, the story moves towards its desired goal in the second half. True to its tagline- 'Ek Selfie Aar Paar', 'Highway' is a reflection of its characters minds and their thought processes. You can identify with the silence, fear, desire, arrogance, lust, responsibility and realisation that different characters exhibit in the film. Every time that Girish and Umesh have teamed up in the past, the outcome has been fabulous ('Valu', 'Deool') and 'Highway' is no different. It has its focus in place, it's technically very sound (special appreciation for the background score and cinematography) and it has a carefully selected set of actors who are talented and fit into their roles with perfection. The three debutants, Amit Trivedi (music) and Tisca and Huma (acting), too hit the bull's eye.
'Highway' is an example of how a very simple story can be weaved into a completely captivating film. It will compel you to take a peek into your minds and will stay with you for a long time after the end credits roll.