Movie Review: NH10 (Hindi)

NH10, like the Badlapur that came before it, revels in gore and brutal violence. It's after all a slasher film, a genre not so often experimented in Bollywood. Yet for all its exploration of honour killings and vigilantism, the movie ends up being a tad too preachy (referring to those mini lectures on misogyny and caste system), its climactic over-the-top avenging act marring what's otherwise a realistically and grippingly mounted road-thriller.

The story goes like this: when Meera, an urban upper-class working professional (a fiesty Anushka Sharma), is almost car-jacked on her way to office one late night, her husband decides to soothe her nerves by taking her out on a short romantic getaway. To a resort in Haryana. Only that their road trip via National Highway 10 gets awry and they get into some serious trouble for meddling with Satbir and his cohorts, who are busy butchering women in the name of honour.

Director Navdeep Singh does well contrasting the urban and rural Indian landscapes (notwithstanding the sweeping generalisations), and he keeps the tension alive and kicking as the couple desperately fight for survival in an unknown land surrounded by lawless blood-thirsty savages. And as the plot unravels, you cannot help but fidget in your seat, brimming with anticipation, trying to figure out how this terrifying nightmare might end for them. And it does end, mind you, when Meera is forced to retaliate and embark on a cathartic killing spree herself, just like the movie's tagline in the trailer: The only way to survive amongst killers to become one yourself.

All of this is good, but then the more you think about it, the story sounds unconvincing as hell. For none of this would have happened if it weren't for Meera's hot-headed (and humiliated) husband Arjun, who uncharacteristically goes after the thugs toting a gun in hand to teach them a thing or two for slapping him in full public view. A hurting of male ego perhaps, but the whole act is sketchy and underdeveloped at best. And having Neil Bhoopalam play that role wasn't a great idea either. If you were to ask me, they invited trouble and brought it upon themselves!