Cast: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar, Deepti Navel
Direction: Navdeep Singh
Duration: 1 hour 55 minutes
I went to watch this movie with zero expectations. It had been more than three months since we saw a movie and we were in need of a desperate break from work, so my husband and I went to watch this one last night. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Anushka Sharma but since I had heard some good reviews about this movie I decided to go for it. NH10 also marks the debut movie of Anushka as a producer. Which is surprising because you do not expect a main stream commercial actress to produce or act in a movie like this. This is in no way a masala entertainer. The movie is bloody and gory. Exactly why it has an A certificate. A welcome burst of fresh energy from all the other typical commercial blockbusters until now.
NH10 starts with a night view of Gurgaon, the newest IT hub. Meera (Anushka) and her husband Arjun (Neil) are driving to attend a party for the night. The starting credits is their drive to the destination showing the tall buildings of Gurgaon and the ever bustling IT crowd. Meera gets a call from work during the party and she has to leave. Arjun stays back at the party as Meera decides to drive to her office in the middle of the night. All is well until a few goons see her and try to attack her car by calling in their friends to block her car from behind. Somehow Meera manages to escape in the nick of time but is disturbed by the events. Arjun is guilt ridden as to why he let Meera go alone that night. Thanks to their high profile connections, Meera is now bestowed with a licensed gun that she carries with her all the time for protection.
To take Meera's mind of this incident and most importantly to lift the guilt of his shoulders Arjun plans a roadtrip for Meera's birthday. He has booked a private villa, packed all her clothes and everything has been set. But little did they know what was in store for them. A little while into the journey they argue about the directions and soon just like every other man in the world Arjun decides to go the way that he thinks is right. And that is when they are welcomed to NH10. As they stop to eat on the way, they see a couple being dragged by a group of people and Arjun gets slapped in the process of intervening. To prove his manhood to Meera he decides to follow them and soon he and Meera get to witness an honor killing. Arjun accidentally shoots one of the people involved in the killing and thanks to this they now have death lurking over their head.
Arjun and Meera run to save their lives. Arjun soon gets stabbed in the thigh and is unable to move around. Meera somehow garners strength and leaves Arjun under a railway bridge and goes in search of help. Her struggle forms the story that shakes the very core of humanity. Her transition from a timid girl to the courageous woman stumps you and you take notice of the brilliant actress hidden in her. She emotes beautifully and her facial expressions change in every scene. You cannot help but notice her lip job in almost every scene. She can deny it all she wants but the truth is out there for all to see. Meera runs and runs and runs until she finds help. She begs and pleads with a police officer, his senior and the village sarpanch but each one of them comes with an agenda of their own. Will Meera and Arjun be able to survive this night? Will this be Meera's last birthday? Watch the movie to find out.
The script is tight bound and brilliant. The heroine is the hero of the movie and this goes on to prove why Anushka chose to act and produce this one. It was refreshing to watch her as a non-bubbly character this time. Her acting is realistic and she holds on to her own in every frame. Neil Bhoopalam as Arjun could have been anybody. I heard that Rajkummar Rao was the first choice for this role and I'm glad that it did not work out. He would have been wasted in this role. Neil does exactly what is expected off him and brings nothing new to the table. His yellow teeth in his closeups were cringe inducing though. I pity Anushka who had to kiss him. Darshan Kumar aka Onler Kom from Mary Kom is the main antagonist who punches and kills people like it is his hobby. His simple looks do not do justice to the role he plays. They should have cast someone who is menacing and wild. Gulshan Devaiah is the one who comes to my mind when I think of this character. Remember his act in Ramleela? He would have been perfect for this role. Veteran actor Deepi Navel is wasted in her two scenes and just like Neil, this could have been played by anybody.
There is no big face in the movie apart from Anushka and yet the movie succeeds thanks to an interesting script with precise detailing. The situations are crafted beautifully and the direction is good. I'm not using great here because in a few scenes the direction is shoddy. The villains apart from Darshan over act and take away the actual essence of the scene. The movie sure is flawed in its own way, but somehow it adds on to the beauty of the script and the strength of the story. I loved the movie but then again I like anything that is off beat.
My verdict: If you are a fan of commercial entertainers, then this one is not for you. If unconventional does it for you, it is a must watch.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5.