NH10 is, as the name suggests, a road movie. Most Road movies tend to be thrillers with the fear element being introduced in the form of deranged cannibalistic hillbillies, sadistic motel owners, terrifying apparitions or a combination of all of the above and then some.
NH10 has its share of demons as well. But since this is India, we don’t have to search too far for our demons. Neither are these demons supernatural in their rendition. Using honour killing as a backdrop for the chase that ensues, NH10 manages to blend contemporary social issues into an edge of the seat thriller.
Although the clever social commentary is commendable, the movie does little to further the thrill factor. A plot twist used towards the climax is not entirely unexpected and the final 15 minutes of carnage seem slightly underwhelming.
Anushka Sharma and Neil Bhoopalam are a well to do Delhi couple who are en route to a weekend getaway for the former’s birthday when things spiral out of control and they find themselves running from honour killers. The events that lead up to the so chase felt slightly ludicrous and thinly plotted.
Along the way, a number of social topics are subtly shown within the context of the chase. I’d love to enumerate them here, but maybe they’re best experienced with a viewing of the movie. What I’d recommend is that you keep your eyes and ears open when watching the movie and you’re sure to catch them and smile at the director’s attempts at portraying them.
Violence is rampant in the movie and hence isn’t a family movie by any measure. And again in an attempt to showcase the might of women, almost all of it is thanks to Anushka’s character. Although the villain (well the main one anyway), Darshan Kumaar, does inflict some pretty nasty doses of violence.
That this is a movie produced by Anushka Sharma isn’t allowed to be forgotten by her since she has the maximum screen time. Although to be fair, she does a great job of portraying her character and the descent she experiences. But one cannot help but wonder why in the world did she ever get that hideous lip job!
Bhoopalam and Kumar do justice to their respective characters. But honestly, after a certain point you tend to not focus on them since Anushka becomes your main concern as you are guided through the rural landscape through her eyes.
Deepti Naval is stellar in what little screen time she gets. At one pivotal moment (the aforementioned plot twist), Naval manages to renege the warmth and caring nature she displays only moments earlier. And this reverberates with the audiences as well. Truly masterful.
As a movie, NH10 does triumph in many aspects. Story telling may not be one of them. But the blend of social evils and a commercially viable thriller is truly a commendable feat. And the performances by the cast are an added and welcome bonus.
NH10 is not for the weak hearted or for those looking for some weekend entertainment to unwind and relax. It is a movie that’ll drain you emotionally and possibly make you rethink about the issues that we quite conveniently forget after a few retweets and hashtags.