Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Deepti Naval
NH 10 is about a world in which feral men hunt in packs. Honour killings are so much a part of the social fabric that the police actively participate in them. And women are largely addressed with one epithet — a particularly nasty Hindi word for prostitute.
Into this den of horrors arrive Meera and Arjun, played by Anushka Sharma and Neil Bhoopalam. This is your quintessential yuppie couple from the land of shiny apartment buildings, malls and corporate offices. They witness a double murder and their carefully constructed, sanitised lives quickly descend into anarchy. One minute they are sitting in bed with their laptops. The next, they are hunting and being hunted.
Navdeep doesn’t flinch from violence. Iron rods break bodies, women are punched and slapped. The sound design, by Subash Sahoo, accentuates each horror. The confrontation between Arjun, Meera and the murderers is triggered by Arjun’s foolhardy actions. He makes such a dumb move that it momentarily snaps you out of the film. But for the most part, you can’t look away.
Also watch: Too much drama mars NH10
Navdeep keeps you at the edge of your seat. The supporting cast — Neil, Deepti Naval and especially Darshan Kumaar — is solid. But ultimately, NH10 rests on the able shoulders of Anushka, who doesn’t hit a false note. Her transformation from confident city girl to shattered victim and eventually avenging angel is entirely convincing. The almost-silent climax is brilliant. Meera’s face — defiant, pitiless and unafraid — stayed with me.
Go, see NH 10.