NH10 makes you cringe.
It reminds you that it is not safe for woman to be on the roads alone in Delhi suburbia. It strikes a fear that roads to hinterland getaways feel like less of a haven and more hell. And above all, it brings to cinema the idea that there exists an extremely regressive cult, where honor is above blood relations. and “karna zaroori tha” is reason enough for Honor killing, even if it's your own child. Take these brutal realities and soak it in realistic portrayal, and what you have in the end is a film so shocking, so disturbing that makes you hope and pray that this parallel universe exists only in cinema. It is so true, that I am surprised the film is not banned yet!! (Sarcasm) J
We all know those posts on Facebook where people share their treachery, or say they have some illness or share something disturbing and you are lost whether you should hit the “like” button. Because you clearly didn’t like what you saw and yet you want to acknowledge that you have noticed it - and just say something. Ditto with NH10.
I think NH10 could be the beginning of asking how much is too much. Was it too violent to be entertaining? Or was it not meant to “entertain” in general. (Sidenote: Glad that our movies have moved to these times when this movie wasn't classified as a "art film" and didn't die a unnoticed birth/death).
By no means is this a bad film, but I would NOT recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to see raw brutal action – no, there is no gore, but if direction is a visual medium, kudos to the director for making you cringe without too many close-ups of the brutality.
Anushka Sharma and Neel Bhoopalam play the quintessential cosmopolitan couple – smooching in an elevator, chatting on messengers even when they are in the same room, juggling between friends, party and Work.
She is a feminist (stretched too far to be working on female hygiene products), she smokes, strikes back at sexist comments and wants to erase abuses in washrooms, (even those that are not hurled at her).
He is the typical egotist charmer, who cant even be told he is on the wrong road, forget be slapped in the middle of the road. He might not so much as skip a late night party to take his wife to her office for an emergency, but makes sure he buys her a gun for self defence and make up for all the bad times by booking a “private villa” somewhere in the hinterland.
So then, armed with recent trivial (?) trauma, love and a gun, they set off for what is supposedly a birthday weekend for the Protagonist. What follows on NH10 is a crazy turn of events and it isn’t long before the couple is in the middle of a nightmare – who could imagine that a seemingly random street fight would end in honor killing. From being innocent travelers, to concerned citizen to eventually being unfortunate victims, the couple would have hoped they never wanted to leave the city.
With a runtime of just under 2 hours, NH10 is a gripping watch. With adept cinematography, brisk editing and just the right amount of background music, the director manages create an eerie, haunting atmosphere that is almost like an invisible character in the narrative. The film is also backed by stunning performances, especially by the support cast (villains) who make you hate them from the very first time they appear on screen. Dipti Naval does justice to a tricky cameo. While Bhoopalam does well in the little that has less to do, the film is somewhat of a showreel for Anushka’s dramatic performance. Having almost only played unidimensional characters so far in her career, NH10 is the first time we see Anushka shed her bubbly girl next door image and be rough and brutal. Her characters journey gives the actor a canvas to portray her acting acumen, which she does reasonably well. Although it seems as if she put bit too much effort at places.
But for me, the film's real winner is the smartly woven story and a screenplay that keeps you at the edge of your seat. While the disturbing violence makes you cringe, the interesting twists in the story keep you hopeful that somehow, something might finally come to the protagonists rescue.
It is a scenario so unfortunate that you find yourself rooting for the protagonists guilty triumphs in the end – when she herself becomes a murderer. Just like ill minded crime lurks right outside posh metropolitan city like Delhi, a deadly murderer can be camouflaged by sophisticated looks. NH10 is a story of how a good human being can’t help but everything bad, when pushed to the unthinkable extreme.
It's raw, blunt and scary. Thank god it’s just a movie. Or is it?
I don’t think I personally can ever watch this movie again. But thank God I saw it once – it is not to be missed for the sheer audacity with which it discomforts you.