Film: Highway (Streaming on aha), Duration: 163 minutes
Director: K.V. Guhan, Cast: Anand Devarakonda, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Sayiami Kher and Abhishek Banerjee
IANS Rating: **
People expect highway rides to be fast, racy, and smooth. But on screen, Telugu movie 'Highway', ace cinematographer KV Guhan's third directorial venture in Telugu, suffers on all three fronts. Interesting in patches but largely predictable, 'Highway' could yet appeal to die-hard fans of the 'cat and mouse' type serial killer genre.
The movie's basic premise is set around a serial woman-killer and a determined lady cop in Hyderabad. 'Highway' shifts scene when a young village lass lands in his clutches, with her new love hot on their tracks. Despite the initial promise of a taut thriller, 'Highway' ends up meandering along to a rather unbelievable ending.
Vishnu, a promising photographer in Vizag sets out on a wedding coverage assignment in Bengaluru. On the way, he and his friend come to the aid of Tulasi, a village belle from near Amalapuram, in search of her father in Mangaluru, Karnataka.
They promise to drop her off at Kalyandurg, from where she can take a bus to Mangalore. Although it confuses the mind as to why she can't tag along with them till Bengaluru which is closer to her destination.
Parallelly, in the city of Hyderabad, female cop Asha Bharat is on the trail of a serial killer who keeps leaving cigarette butts and tyre tracks at the crime scenes.
Das, played by Abhishek Banerjee, is the smouldering villain, who keeps staking out potential victims, as he keeps cruising around in a beat-up ambulance van, right under the cops' noses. All the while, the female cop keeps snarling and mouthing the b****** and f*** words to vent out her frustration and determination.
How Tulasi lands in Das' clutches, Vishnu tracks her down, and finally rescues her, form the crux of 'Highway'.
The cast comprising Anand Devarakonda, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Sayiami Kher and Abhishek Banerjee try their best to do justice to their roles.
Anand Devarakonda as Vishnu, and Manasa as Tulasi, appear naturally rigid and restrained as a young couple who are waking up to their mutual attraction.
Sayiami Kher is passable as the lady cop intent on catching the serial killer. Abhishek Banerjee, with a perpetual sneer writ on his face, is the bad guy in the movie which happens to be his Telugu debut.
The technical excellence that Director K.V. Guhan brings in with his cinematography, fails to lift up the weak story line.
There are instances where the director makes it too easy for the antagonist to kill and escape. Similarly, other inconsistencies in the storyline add to the overall inadequacies of the movie.
As can be expected, Guhan handles the camera with panache, while Simon King's music score helps maintain the story tempo.
For thriller movie fans willing to overlook the details, 'Highway', despite the plot-holes, may still prove to be an interesting watch over the weekend.
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