Thursday, August 28, 2014

Am I Naïve? (Movie review: Highway)

This movie was released earlier this year but I got the chance to watch it only now. It is an emotional ride and there were some thoughts that had been lurking around in my head for quite some time and resonated instantly while watching the movie. This movie is about a girl who has been kidnapped (unintentionally) by a man and they are on the road – passing through deserts, farms, hills, valleys, streams, snow – running away from police. The girl, away from the fake bling of city life, loves the ‘highway’ and the journey. She does not want to go back home, she does not want the journey to end. She falls in love with the kidnapper. Watch the movie to know what happens in the end. Visually it was a delight to watch this movie - Indian landscape(s) at its best!

What this girl goes through is a classic psychological case of Stockholm Syndrome. I have always found this idea fascinating and wanted to write about it. Watching Highway today pushed me to finally do that. Stockholm Syndrome is a subconscious phenomenon where a hostage/victim develops positive, loving, sympathetic and/or empathetic feelings towards its perpetrator. It is an act of defense mechanism perhaps, a way of coping with the trauma.

Would you call a person naïve for falling in love with someone who is perceivably dangerous and wrong for her? A lot of people remain in a relationship not knowing what they are doing. They may not be happy, their needs may not get fulfilled but they stay. . .trapped and ensnared in that relationship. The world calls it love. Someone once called me naïve to which I took offense. I am smart, intelligent, logical, thinking person, I am not naïve. I rolled my eyes. But if you knew you were naïve then you wouldn’t be naïve. That thought somehow stayed with me.

The lead actors, Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda, have given fantastic performances. Veera, the hostage, hates the city life – the fake mask that you have to put on to be social, to impress people, to do things in the ‘right’ way, to be nice to others. She has not seen much of the world, she is indeed naïve but of what she has seen, she does not want to be a part of it. She wants to run away. Somewhere in the movie she says – I don’t want to return to where you got me from, I don’t want to reach where you are taking me, I just want this journey to go on and the road to not end.

But can you escape life?

I am reminded of a quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s –
“You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

There is no running away then :)


  1. I didn't watch the movie as yet but your words have poured life to the most painful memories of my life. I believe that Stockhom Syndrome has a lot than being just an act of defence mechanism of coping with the trauma.

    "If you knew you were naive then you wouldn't be naive !" Well said :). But there are certain exceptions to it as well like for everything else.

    I really loved your thought process. And a person who can think and feel to this degree can never ever be naive.

    1. Stockholm syndrome is a weird kind of pain. I understand what you mean.

      And thank you for your kind words :)


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