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'NH10' review: Unrepentantly dark and gruesome!

'NH10' review: Unrepentantly dark and gruesome!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Friday 13 March 2015

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Movie Title

NH10

Director

Navdeep Singh

Star Cast

Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Ravi Jhankal

Revenge seems to the flavour of the season, as this film, quick on the heels of Badlapur, proves.

Both the films have similar elements - sudden tragic incidents, a central protagonist that appears normal but is teetering on the edge of sanity, and interestingly crafted formidable antagonists.

We see our central protagonist, the Delhi-based Meera (Anushka Sharma) with a new gun. Her husband Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam) insisted she keep it, after she encountered random, street violence one night on her way to work.

To lighten the shock from the incident, the couple decides to take a vacation break on Meera's birthday, and set off with the gun in tow.

The ominous texture of the film is present from the beginning. There is an uneasy tension between the couple to start with - there is love, we understand, but not the warm, happy sort. We barely see Meera smiling in his presence.

As they make their way through winding roads to lead them to their vacation getaway, they lose their way. The people they encounter make us uncomfortable. There is already a sense of foreboding in the air.

It is at a roadside dhaba, that the couple encounters a group of ruffians kidnapping a young girl and her husband. There is stark violence, as the ruffians use force and aggression to get them in their car.

Arjun tries to stop them, but they get away. Not to be outdone, the couple follows the van, where they witness their barbarity. They turn to run away, but perhaps it's too late.The story is pertinent because it puts an honour-killing favouring populace against a city-bred couple, and there is friction because of the diametrically diverse way of thinking. As one character puts it, 'after the last mall in the city ends, a different world exists.'

Everyday misogyny is depicted behind a rundown ladies bathroom door that has a derogatory term scrawled, to the brutality with which a family attacks their own daughter in the name of tradition. The brutality is so primitive and ingrained that a violent thrashing takes place as a child watches.

The film is excessively violent, and some of it is gratuitous. But there are some action scenes that are brilliantly executed. Among them is the scene where one character is sitting and smoking a cigarette with a weapon in hand, waiting patiently for the other person to get up, so the attack can be completed. And it begs the question, under the slick city veneer, are we all as primal and inhuman, as the people we claim to fear?

The open-haired, kohl-eyed Meera, who till some time back was making silly talk with her husband on their way to a celebration, and is now caught in the wilderness between ruthless murderers, is a powerful and challenging character to render. And Anushka Sharma gives it all she's got. Bringing in unbelievable grit and resilience, that is as much a surprise to the character itself as it is to the viewer, Sharma brings Meera's character alive. On the edge of our seats, we're with her through her ordeal, and she makes us root for her even in her questionable choices.

Neil Bhoopalam plays his real and flawed character perfectly. Darshan Kumaar packs in a punch as the aggressive ruffian. Perhaps the most delightful surprise is Deepti Naval who appears onscreen for a short while, but leaves a solid impact.

The film, partly inspired by Eden Lake, is an engaging watch throughout. But it does get repetitive intermittently, when all one sees are the chaser and the chased engaging in a cat-and-mouse game. The finale is a powerful one, but one wishes the makers had set it against a more fitting, intense song.

The film is technically adept – everything from the dialogue, cinematography, editing, sound design and art-direction is an absolute treat.

Director Navdeep Singh who made the delightful Manorama Six Feet Under, whips up a film that's unrepentantly dark, gritty and gruesome. And you still watch with rapt attention, as the story that is unfolding is so deliciously intense and the performance by the leading lady so earnest and untethered. This is a jolt-filled ride you don't want to miss!

Rating: 3.5 stars

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