The female protagonist has been put in a situation where every door knocked for help is an added danger to her life; this is not some breaking news for a Bollywood thriller. We have witnessed our leading ladies running after one possible hand of help turning ugly to another many a times and even rising from dust to stand at her own (Rekha is my personal favorite in such given stricture] against all odds. But when Anushka Sharma, calm and cold as corpse, with an iron-rod in her hand sits and lights a cigarette while watching her challenger crawling with a broken leg, this easily becomes ‘my’ moment to cheer for the invincible human survival instinct and all the women empowerment slogans coined just for the sake of it. This is raw. This is real. This is never seen before.
With a powerfully violent, gritty and dark NH10; Navdeep Singh of MANORAMA SIX FEET UNDER returns to his deep-rooted den of atmospheric crime thrillers where the landscape speaks the language of ruthless nature of criminal mind and the characters don’t even need dialogues to express their anger, anxiety and agitation. Meera [Anushka in a ‘would die for’ role] and Arjun [Perfectly cast Neil Bhoopalam] is your regular career-focused, party-loving couple from Gurgaon- the emerging city of hopes seen working on laptops at their side of the same bed. A perfect holiday at a private villa in the outskirts is planned. It’s Meera’s birthday. A day-long road-trip on highway has started. Beware; even a small brawl can land you in the most brutal nightmare of your life. This is no bright-lit Gurgaon. This is the dark lawless badland where ‘killings’ are an ‘honor’ to the power man upholds. Of course, there is no looking back!
The plot of NH10 is never unforeseen; in fact you can predict the twists and turns miles before reaching at the end of the road but the undertones used to shake your souls and shiver your guts are very much surprising. The headlines of honor-killings might have raised your eyebrows till the time it’s on your screen but this is like abducting you from your drawing room and throwing in the deserted land of crimes done in the name of cast, creed and culture. A sister is poisoned by her brother [Darshan Kumar from Mary Kom] for loving and marrying boy of same ‘Gothra’. One gentleman in uniform enlightens, “Social norms should not be broken. Never! Try to drive on the wrong side of the road and accidents will happen.” Heartbreaking! Nerve-wracking! And a threatening state of real India-rural India!!
NH10 marks the arrival of a new Anushka Sharma. The pouting glam-doll sheds her comfort cover and brilliantly plays the carter of the long and hard-pressed angst of Indian women. Every time she screams at her opponents, she doesn’t scream for herself but all the women been ever in such circumstances. She is the answer to every sexiest and stinking remark made ever on any women out there, and the most powerful and the most influential one. The top-slot in the list of year’s best performers has already been taken. Bravura performance!
In others, Neil Bhoopalam supports well. He boldly shifts from charming guy next flat in the apartment to the fearing-frightened soul shaken by the harsh reality and the evil face of society. Though Darshan Kumar doesn’t have much to do in length but still manages to chill your bones with sinful looks. Can’t miss out on Deepti Naval for her surprise cameo!
On the whole, NH10 is a ride to hell. A hell every one must visit, admit and act against it. It is sure not a film best described with words like ‘flawless’ and ‘extraordinary’ but these expressions will fit in well in admiring and approving Anushka’s performance. The last act alone is like a winning shot you would want to put on ‘repeat’! [4/5]
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