NH10 Movie Review

nh10 Anushka Sharma lights up a cigarette at a critical juncture before going for the kill. That one moment does a lot for a woman breaking the shackles of a warped male dominated mindset in the heartland of India. Navdeep Singh’s NH10 is a highly relevant film in these times of a necessary need for women empowerment. It strikes like a bullet and the stinging odor of revenge stays with you for long, even after the film gets over. At the same time, the excessive detailing of the violence doesn’t make it an easy watch.

Meera (Anushka Sharma) and Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam) are a happy couple, safely ensconced in their cushy corporate jobs. Meera gets a taste of Delhi lechery when there’s an attempt to molest her. Arjun, in an attempt to get her over the trauma, plans a getaway for her birthday. As they hit the dusty ‘NH10’, they become embroiled in a case of honor killing in front of their own eyes. Their ugly run-in with the killers headed by Satbir (Darshan Kumaar) takes a nasty turn, the conspiring policemen are of no help, Arjun gets seriously injured and Meera has to slug it out on her own through extremely tough circumstances.

Sudip Sharma’s writing is soaked in the blood-n-dirt of Haryanvi villages and the big city milieu. The screenplay is taut and the pace zips along. Jabeen Merchant’s editing is sharp and the edit patterns surprises you with its sudden innovativeness. There are interesting nuances that establishes the path-breaking attempts in a very subtle manner. Arjun gifts a cigarette packet to Meera to smoke only on her birthday. Meera rubs off a derogatory word written on a toilet door in a Dhaba. Ammaji (Deepti Naval) disdainfully clearing the wardrobe of her murdered daughter Pinky.

Anushka Sharma packs in an incredibly strong performance laced with intense vulnerability. Her character graph shows a natural progression stemming from uncertainty, fear, inherent intelligence and how she gets forced into pumping steel-in-her-veins. The physical conditioning through the rough terrain must have been very difficult. When she hysterically screams ‘F**k You’ to the killers, you can feel her cumulative agony. Neil Bhopaalam, as the supportive husband with an immature streak delivers a solid performance. Darshan Kumaar is a totally violent contrast to the calm-n-collected husband of MARY KOM. He’s a pleasant revelation. Deepti Naval shines in a cameo. Her dramatic shift from empathy to antipathy is electrifying.

Music has been used in a matter-of-fact manner and at no point;it takes anything away from the narrative or the pace of the film. ShilpaRao has outstandingly sung ‘Le ChalMujhe’ in an unplugged format. It literally digs its claws in your heart with the sheer authenticity of angst. The flagship number ‘Chil Gaye Naina’ isn’t a part of the film, and, thankfully, the makers didn’t use it in the end credits either. Arvind Kannabiran’s cinematography is brilliant as he expertly captures the jilted images in spite of difficult lighting conditions.

Director Navdeep Singh is at the top of his game. After many years in the wilderness post the critically acclaimed MANORAMA SIX FEET UNDER and a failed production plan with Abhay Deol, Singh retains his sanity and doesn’t compromise on his or writer Sudip Sharma’s vision. But, in spite of a water tight plot, one can question Arjun’s motivation to go after rogue killers even though he’s with a lady in tow. Was he that naive? Also, the climax seems somewhat rushed and way too sudden.

On the whole, NH10 is a wonderfully made film with an outstanding performance by Anushka Sharma. It will be well appreciatedby an intelligent audience that’s gunning for women safety and empowerment. The sound cinematic credentials and gripping narrative is the high point of the film. But, as mentioned earlier, the glorification of violence isn’t easy to stomach. You need to be really motivated to absorb it. This National Highway has its shares of potholes, but, it is a must visit. Do go the NH10 way!

Rating: 3/5.

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14 Comments
  1. MGT 5 years ago

    Hearing very poor things about this movie and too dark for general public. Also a bit of immature take on the issue.

    • MGT 5 years ago

      ” It will be well appreciated by an intelligent audience that’s gunning for women safety and empowerment”

      ” you need to be really motivated to absorb it. ”

      Basically for the yoyo crowd jinki real life mein phatee hai par internet and forums par they act maadahr chord na yaar type !!

  2. Author
    aryan 5 years ago

    Movie Review By Shubha Shetty-Saha/Mid-day

    Fancy a non-stop, relentless, edge-of-the-seat experience for close to two hours with your heart perpetually parked in your mouth? ‘NH10’ is that kind of a rare movie.

    Navdeep Singh, who gave us the delightful ‘Manorama Six Feet Under’, is thankfully back after eight years with this gritty, edgy, uncompromising film. The story (written by Sudip Sharma) is about an urban couple Meera (Anushka Sharma) and Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam), two young professionals from Bangalore, staying in Gurgaon. Otherwise capable and independent Meera gets the first taste of fear when she is attacked by a group of men while returning from work late in the night. Arjun plans to take her away to a holiday resort to get over the trauma. But on their way back, they happen to witness something absolutely unimaginable yet so disturbingly real that in an instant their holiday turns into a relentless horror story, as they desperately struggle to keep themselves alive.

    Half of Navdeep’s battle is won at the scripting stage itself, as here is a story guaranteed to jolt most of us living in urban cocoons out of our reverie, forcing us to look into certain grim truths that exist right outside the city limits. Through a powerful, gripping narrative of a desperately helpless couple struggling out of their nightmarish situation, Navdeep strips down the flimsy safety net of urban civility that we delude ourselves with, and boldly takes us through the rampant lawlessness, mindless casteism and sickening patriarchy that leads to honour killings.

    Anushka Sharma plays Meera with admirable conviction. She goes all out to play this well fleshed-out character of an independent professional who is suddenly and violently thrown in a situation where she has to not only save her and her husband’s life, but also more importantly, hold on to shreds of her dignity as a woman. Neil Bhoopalam gives good support. Darshan Kumaar is excellent as the ruthless Satbir. Deepti Naval’s small but powerful role is beyond her comfort zone but she delivers it with a punch, literally.

    If one has to point out drawbacks, some of the twists in the story seem too convenient and the second half dips a wee bit in energy as compared to the first half. But, overall, the choice of locations, the performances and the brutally honest take on a story that needed to be told, makes this film a hell of a scary ride but absolutely worth it. Don’t miss it.

    Rating: 4/5

    http://www.mid-day.com/articles/nh10—movie-review/16056180

  3. Author
    aryan 5 years ago

    Movie Review by Rajasen

    Bad things happen in NH10.

    That statement is both warning and promise: because Navdeep Singh’s new film is a tough film to stomach, a frightening and disturbing beast, and because it should be just that brutal, given how loyally it adheres to slasher/thriller genre conventions.

    The thing about Singh is the way the director takes a familiar script or setup and makes it very Indian and very much his own — his first film Manorama Six Feet Under is a highly innovative grass-roots take on Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, and the new NH10 is many parts Eden Lake mixed with some I Spit In Your Grave, and yet a far scarier and more socially impactful film than anything slasher has a right to be.

    The primary reason NH10 works as well as it does — and it works with smashing edge-of-the-seat flair — is the context Singh gives it. The idea of two young urban lovers finding themselves in very harsh rural territory is a basic one, but Navdeep is strikingly credible when it comes to dialect and flavour, and turns the Haryana belt outside Gurgaon into the most believable of badlands: everyone in those parts might not actually be evil incarnate, but from where we’re sitting, comfortably far away and constantly assailed by news of imperilled women and fundamentally messed-up defence lawyers, we’re all too willing to believe the nightmare Navdeep sets us. NH10 is more a pure horror film than any of its companions in the slasher genre simply because we believe what we want to, and it feeds our fears.

    Meera and Arjun are a young couple who aren’t quite on top of their game: she looks at him with regret in her eyes, he looks to be constantly seeking some form of escape from the hard parts of a relationship, and when in bed they wield individual laptops and send each other on-screen messages. Things aren’t perfect, clearly, but sometimes a holiday can be potent tonic, and they head out to a small getaway not too far from the Gurgaon border. They run into some honour-killing violence, and end up angering the killers. Things turn ugly… uglier than one might think.

    I admit to wincing frequently as fresh, more violent misery was piled onto Meera’s helpless lot, and that is because of Anushka Sharma’s amazingly committed performance. The movie’s masterstroke is to keep the audience squirming and the tension relentless by setting nearly 90% of the film in overwhelmingly linear fashion, pretending that the events are taking place in realtime, but this takes its toll on Sharma who — also brave enough to produce this film — features in virtually every frame of the film and carries it on her athletic shoulders. It is a bold choice as an actress and Anushka is at her absolute best as her eyes widen in disbelief at the growing horror around her. A moment when she realises the preposterousness of goading a policeman into “doing his duty” is particularly stunning, as is a rousing scene later where she yells at her attackers. She’s beaten down, on the run, powerless and defiant, and Anushka changes gears with immense authenticity, creating a character we can’t help but love. And, more importantly, one we can’t help but feel for.

    Neil Bhoopalam’s Arjun has a tougher climb, a harebrained character who doesn’t just graze the hornet’s nest — as convention demands — but rather goes and treads on it, deciding rashly to engage in macho oneupmanship, a choice NH10 made that I can’t completely fathom. Bhoopalam is a likeable actor, but here seems a bit out of his depth. Darshan Kumaar is terrific as Satbir, especially when he’s slaughtering a girl as a rite of passage, and Ravi Jhankal is even better as his savage uncle, reproachful about Satbir using a revolver when tradition demanded a rod for the job.

    The film isn’t as gory as its English counterparts, but the sadism comes across very strongly and effectively. It is a taut ride, one that scares us by providing a world of well-etched detail: the way a cop dismissively refers to the Gurgaon jungle of glass-and-chrome as a growing child, a “badhta bachcha”; the way the vibe in the badlands is noticeably hostile every time Arjun rolls down his car window, be it at a tollbooth or to ask for directions; a chilling conversation about caste that doesn’t entirely add up in terms of logic — we’re told that rules and structure matter but that the land away from the cities doesn’t need rules — but sounds more familiar than it should.

    Well shot and featuring mostly minimal background music, NH10 is starkly different from what we are routinely served up at the movies. It is a scary, compelling ride featuring an actress who surpasses herself.

    One of my favourite shots in the film is where Anushka Sharma is riding a police jeep hard and fast, impressively adroit with the turns and momentarily getting the better of her pursuers. Then she skids onto the left, gets onto two wheels and, instead of gliding a la James Bond, topples her jeep into an ungainly heap. The frame before the crash shows her fleeting, well-earned smile turn into a wide-eyed and helpless “whoops” — another excellent Sharma moment — and that whoops is the best metaphor for NH10: it lets us know we’re on the edge and that one misstep could flip our lives around in an instant.

    Buckle up.

    Rating: 4/5

    http://rajasen.com/2015/03/13/nh10/

  4. MGT 5 years ago

    Movie is doing terrible on real box-office and would not even collect 2 Cr on day one….that too due to a bit of hype of getting nailed by that maniac Viraat Kohli.

    She was badmouthing big stars and their movies after having gained access through them. A real opportunistic specie and now today she will realize her true worth in the market. Not what was being hyped by the anuraag kashyaps of the world who were pumping her against the big stars.

  5. sputnik 5 years ago

    NH10 Review by Sukanya Verma – Rating 3

    Anushka Sharma is at her most impressive in the chilling NH10 but the climax is a bit of a letdown, notes Sukanya Verma.

    Night seems to transform Gurgaon’s claustrophobic traffic into a magical bokeh of glimmering signal lights where aloof skyscrapers line up to embrace.

    There’s deceptive comfort in its inanimate vibrancy.

    For a long time the camera reports this urban scenery, forming the evocative view of a car window, against the tête-à-tête between a husband and wife driving to a friend’s bash.

    We don’t see their faces immediately — only giggling, whispered exchanges from a strictly private conversation.

    But as night grows older, it gets dark.

    And dangerous.

    Navdeep Singh’s NH10 ventures into an unsafe, unsettling space where shock quickly changes into survival and the brutality of a world you dreaded about from the fringes punches you right in the face.

    Singh took Chinatown’s template to Rajasthan and moulded it as Manorama Six Feet Under.

    In NH10, he borrows the basic framework of Eden Lake and sets it in Haryana. He does a nifty job of it too until the problematic third act.

    NH10 does what a good thriller ought to, without wasting a single second.

    He gets us acquainted with Meera (Anushka Sharma) and Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam is affable but doesn’t look short-tempered enough for the part) — well off, working professionals married to one another, people we are supposed to invest in right at the onset.

    They exude charm, humour and familiarity; you wouldn’t want a fly to hurt such nice folks.

    Ten minutes in the movie, Meera’s attacked by a bunch of hoodlums while driving back alone from a late-night party but narrowly escapes owing to her presence of mind.

    “Yeh shaher badhta bacha hai ji. Kud toh lagayaga hi,” is the only ridiculous explanation an apathetic Gurgaon cop can offer.

    It’s terrifying how easy it is to believe the authenticity of this scene.

    As is the rudeness of the security guard who makes life hell if one holds a no-parking space for a second extra longer than his patience.

    Singh also unflinchingly observes the disturbing misogyny that prevails in North of India as well as the game of genders but expresses it better when not forcefully creating moments to highlight it.

    Like the scene where Meera’s colleague randomly remarks on how women have it easy following a presentation gone well.

    But he scores in the subtlety with which he conveys Meera’s disappointment and Arjun’s guilt over the afore-mentioned mishap.

    Arjun and Meera head out for a getaway trip to celebrate the latter’s birthday.

    If you’ve seen a bleeding, blasting Anushka on the poster of NH10 with a tagline that reads ‘No Turning Back,’ you know it doesn’t end in a picnic.

    It does not.

    Navdeep Singh’s build-up to the horror is striking and, more importantly, chilling.

    A stranger taps on the windscreen and the camera zooms above the text of the passenger side-mirror — “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” even as the car moves away from his ominous figure.

    A Turkish nazar charm dangles furiously as if to warn the travellers of the danger lurking ahead.

    Even an innocuous cup of chai covered with wrinkled malai on its surface smacks of toxic air.

    Eventually a violent fight involving honour killing drags the duo unwittingly into it. What makes it frightening is the plausibility, the commonness of such extreme ideology and the social acceptance of this savage lifestyle.

    Things get awry and hopeless.

    Meera is forced to fight to escape, to rescue, to survive and to retaliate. And Anushka Sharma confronts the worst day of Meera’s existence with steely nerves and throbbing intensity.

    It’s a role that expects her to constantly change emotional pace and strategy but co-producer Anushka delivers it with a veteran’s accuracy.

    An underwhelming climax, sadly, dilutes the triumphs of the stark thriller.

    Its consistently realistic tone plummets into standard avenging angel territory full of over-the-top theatrics and stylised rage.

    This compulsive need for a last word kills the impact of many a strong, better-off-silent scenes in Hindi films.

    There is a standalone interesting moment between Anushka and Darshan Kumar (quite a range from Mary Kom to NH10, I’d love to see more of this guy) as she lights up a smoke and observes him struggle in a body language that’s uncannily Bachchan.

    But in context of the film, it just doesn’t sync.

    What ultimately matters is NH10, even in its inspired form, is a reality we both live and deny.

    Are men the protectors? Can women protect themselves? Are men the enemy? Are women the enemy? Will we ever get past caste, creed and gender? Are cities worse or villages? Is India too convoluted? Is anyone safe?

    NH10 doesn’t provide easy answers.

    Can anyone?

    Link

  6. sputnik 5 years ago

    NH10 Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 3.5

    March 13, 2015

    Cast: Anushka Sharma, Neel Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumaar, Deepti Naval

    Director: Navdeep Singh

    NH10, directed by Navdeep Singh, is about a road trip that goes horribly wrong when a young married couple crosses paths with a gang of ruthless killers on the national highway. It’s a standard genre movie on the surface, and Singh does a good job of creating edge-of-the-seat tension. But he also layers the narrative with rich subtext, delivering so much more than your average thriller.

    Meera (Anushka Sharma) and Arjun (Neel Bhoopalam) head out to a weekend getaway on the outskirts of Delhi to bring in Meera’s birthday. While snacking at a dhaba on the highway, they witness a group of men (led by Mary Kom’s Darshan Kumaar) savagely attacking a pair of helpless eloping lovers. When Arjun intervenes, their romantic break quickly takes a violent turn.

    Through the nightmarish chain of events that follow, Singh and writer Sudip Sharma reveal the stark contrast between the urban India these protagonists inhabit, and the vast lawless badlands that exist just around the corner. The film puts the spotlight on such ugly realities like the parochial attitude towards women in these parts, the apathy of the local police, and the helplessness of the migrant laborer – but it does so without once resorting to heavy-handed speechifying.

    Admirably, the film trains the same critical eye on those sitting comfortably at the other end of the socio-economic divide. Through a scene in which a local from a nearby village approaches Meera, possibly to hitch a ride with the couple, Singh exposes our instant suspicion of, and deep-set prejudice towards those that are less economically sound. When a hapless girl pleads with Meera for help, she walks away, not wanting to get involved. Yet hours later, when Meera frantically scours for help, she rages at passersby who ignore her. The film subtly hints at the unmistakable sense of entitlement felt by privileged folk.

    The violence in NH10 is brutal and uncompromising, and it serves the plot well. Early on in the film, it becomes clear that their pursuers mean business; as a result, there’s a very palpable sense of danger that looms over the scenes in which the couple struggles for survival in the wild, unfamiliar terrain. For extended portions of the film, I found myself holding my breath, concerned for the safety of the protagonists. Singh transports you front and centre to the heart of the action.

    There are occasional holes in the script, and twists that aren’t entirely convincing. What are the chances of Meera only encountering people who cannot or will not help? Or of a village so conveniently deserted because every single local is watching a tamasha troupe? Cinematic license perhaps, but they jar in a movie that otherwise feels so real. The film’s final coincidence, strikingly similar to the British thriller Eden Lake, is also a bit of a stretch. ((pause))

    What NH10 gets bang on is the milieu: the atmospherics, the language, and the tension that creeps up on you that you can’t shake off. The performances too complement the storytelling. Neil Bhoopalam brings charm, and then genuine fear to the part of Arjun, a city slicker who realizes too late that dropping names scarcely works in a strange land. Darshan Kumar is ruthless and menacing – the kind of man you’ll wish you never cross on a lonely highway. The always dependable Deepti Naval is fittingly creepy, cast against type in a small cameo.

    The part of Meera is a terrific opportunity for Anushka Sharma, who sinks her teeth into the character, an educated professional thrown into a violent world, and called upon to respond with both physical and emotional courage. Watch her eyes and her body language in a scene where she lights a smoke and watches dispassionately as her offender struggles to get on his feet. Her performance powers the film. Kudos to the actress also for putting her strength behind the film as a producer, and for backing Singh’s bold vision all the way.

    I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for NH10. It’s often terrifying on this highway, but you’ll be glad you were there for the ride.

    Link

  7. Anjanpur685Miles 5 years ago

    @sputnik – pls can you ahead and post my post? I think I am mostly done.

    Thanks.

    • sputnik 5 years ago

      Done.

      • Anjanpur685Miles 5 years ago

        Thanks. It was mostly as a rebuttal but a true opinion. Nonetheless I am not sure how many will understand it. Abt true individualistic music in asia.

        But its ok.

        Thanks for posting it.

  8. sputnik 5 years ago

    NH 10 Movie Review by Anupama Chopra

  9. sputnik 5 years ago

    NH 10 First Day Business
    Saturday 14 March 2015 12.00 IST
    Box Office India Trade Network

    NH 10 grossed around 3.25 crore nett on day one as evening shows were a bit better in the major cities. The collections are okay as a bigger film like Shamitabh did a similar number a few weeks back but still NH 10 has a long way to go for recovery and Saturday will have to jump big.

    The film did best in Delhi/UP and East Punjab with East Punjab getting around 40 lakhs nett thanks to a very good 12 lakhs nett in Gurgaon which probably did well as film is set in that area. Delhi/Up was 70 lakhs nett plus.

    Mumbai circuit was around 1 crore nett with a non performance in Gujarat and collections mainly coming from Mumbai city and Pune.

    Link

  10. sputnik 5 years ago

    NH 10 Shows Decent Upturn On Saturday
    Saturday 14 March 2015 23.00 IST
    Box Office India Trade Network

    NH 10 has shown decent growth on saturday in the 40-50% range with the business likely to come in at around 4.50-4.75 crore nett. The film is heading for a 13 crore nett weekend which will be decent especially looking at the low opening.

    The film is not happening in the mass markets as it was limited growth from low levels but Delhi/UP, East Punjab, Mumbai and Mysore have shown good gains on Saturday.

    The advantage the film has is an no major competition in the enxt two weeks but will need a strong Monday to take advantage of those two weeks.

    Link

  11. sputnik 4 years ago

    NH 10 Holds Well On The Weekdays
    Friday 20 March 2015 12.00 IST
    Box Office India Trade Network

    NH 10 held up well on the weekdays to gross around 20.25 crore nett. The film managed to 55% to its weekend total when 50% is normally decent. Overall the first week is fair and looking at the weekdays figures it should hold over week two.

    The best business has come in Delhi/UP as Delhi city and Noida have done well. The first week business in Delhi/UP is nearly 5 crore nett. East Punjab was next best with business a little short of 2.50 crore nett.

    The film has chances to go to the 30 crore nett mark as it will stay in theatres for next two weeks. For comparison of similar films, Mardaani grossed 35.75 crore nett and Highway was 28.25 crore nett.

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