I’ve been looking forward to NH10 (National Highway #10) ever since news emerged that Anushka was turning producer for this script. In short, NH10 is a film about survival. A couple start a car journey from Delhi and during a break, witness a young woman beaten and forcibly taken. Rather stupidly (this is the weakest part of the script), Anushka’s husband noses in, gets slapped and unable to bear the humiliation goes after the violent gang with his gun. One thing leads to another and Anushka is on her own to get help for her husband and must fend for herself against the murderers.
NH10 sort of reminded me of the Japanese film Battle Royale. There is a lot of violence. Anushka’s character is struggling for survival. Anushka takes the meaning of acting a notch higher with this film. She’s superb and impressive, especially in the very final scene. I don’t generally like a lot of violence in films but I did not mind it so much in this film. The script was so upbeat and exciting with something new happening constantly, that I didn’t get the time to think about it. The story really does grab the audience.
I also found some of the early scenes very interesting. Before the actual story takes place, Anushka is driving late at night one day to the office and these guys trap her with their car and motorcycle. But Anushka’s character has great reflexes and instead of panicking and freezing after her window is smashed, she hits the gas and drives out of there. I like this scene because it tells us a lot about her character from the beginning. We know she’s strong, brave and can manage well in stressful, fearful situations. And she maintains that stand throughout the film, always making the right decisions, acting intuitively and without hesitation.
After this incident and in the beginning of the car trip, Anushka’s character has a lingering sadness and moodiness. It’s almost as if she’s having a premonition of what’s coming her way. Anushka performed so well that I could feel the character’s anxiety. It’s that feeling that something bad is about to happen but you’re not sure what. And all those little quirks of her character — her smoking in secret, her anxious play with the pen. These were themes that came up again and again in the story. I must say that the writer and director did a brilliant job with these.
It’s possible that you may not share my viewpoint of NH10. I cannot make any guarantees because this is not a conventional story-line and performance. It’s quite unique for Hindi cinema and for a woman-centric film. You’re not going to get cheesy romance and item songs from NH10. You’re going to get something very real, dramatic and personal. I enjoyed NH10. It was full of adrenaline and I think it was definitely worth my time.