Vijay Deverekonda is undoubtedly one of the most popular names in the Telugu film industry. The same cannot be said for his brother Anand. Although the young actor flashed his skills in Dorasaani and Middle Class Melodies, he is not regarded as an A-lister. Anand is now back with his latest film Highway which has hit the screens. The film is unfortunately a step in the wrong direction for the young actor. Highway had the potential to be a deeply edgy thriller with a strong message, but it’s nothing short of a missed opportunity.
A photographer revolving around Shose Vishnu (Anand Deverakonda) travels to Bengaluru for an assignment with his close friend. He faces an unexpected problem on the way. Soon their paths cross with a serial killer (Abhishek Banerjee). Will they survive this potentially life-threatening situation?
The plot itself isn’t bad as it has everything from a little bit of violence to the romantic sequences you would expect from a desi thriller. However, since the execution is as lenient as possible, it has no effect.
Highway begins with a scene where Vishnu talks about how traveling on a certain highway has destroyed three lives. Unfortunately, this sequence falls flat as it tries too hard to shock the audience. We are then treated to a series of unusual scenes that introduce us to other characters. As a result, one cannot really connect with the plot.
However, Highway is gaining momentum after the entry of Abhishek Banerjee. There are several inherently disturbing scenes that appeal to those familiar with slasher films.
Generally, thrillers feature at least a few twists that add a new layer to the story. Take Joju George-led Joseph for example. It made a big reveal towards the end, establishing the titular character as a brave heart. Unfortunately, the highway doesn’t show anything that even remotely resembles a twist. Highway ends with several rushed scenes that feel forced and awkward.
As for the performances, Anand Deverakonda rises above the half-baked script to shine in the romantic scenes. His sweet and shy expressions might vaguely remind people of Vijay Deverakonda from Geetha Govindam. However, that doesn’t count for much because the romantic subplot is undercooked.
Abhishek Banerjee is scary in several scenes but Highway is not another Paatal Lok for him. He deserved a more fleshed out character. Saiyami Kher, who plays a cop, is irresistible. Gets body language right.
The songs are modest but have limited recall value. The background score is commendable as it tries to add a sense of urgency to the narrative to save the film.
To summarize, Highway is the textbook definition of a low-quality thriller.