NH10 is terrifying from start to finish. Even when the film is in its lighter moments, you feel a constant pinch of something extremely wrong lurking somewhere in the vicinity. This feeling is what makes this film the horror story that it is. The story gets to its point within the first fifteen minutes of the film when Meera (Anushka) is brutally attacked by a gang during one of her late night visits to her workplace. She escapes because of her presence of mind but that is not the end of things. Soon she and her husband, Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam) decide to retreat to a private villa to celebrate Meera’s birthday. We know for sure that the retreat would not be what it promises to be.
Meera and Arjun find themselves pulled into a situation involving a young couple who are pursued by a gang of marauding men for reasons unknown. Arjun has a tryst with one of the guys and gets slapped. He feels insulted in front of his wife and wants to get back at them. After driving for a distance from the spot, he feels compelled to teach the men a proper lesson. What’s also lurking on his mind is the previous night when his wife was all alone and was almost consumed by the “badhta baccha” that is Gurgaon, and comes back to the crime scene only to be overwhelmed by the gang. It is now left to Meera to find a way to save her husband and herself from the ruthless gang of adversaries who would stop at nothing to finish off what they had started.
Taking obvious inspiration from Eden Lake, director Navdeep Singh once again dishes out an out and out Indian film which is almost original in its subject and treatment. The film may draw some commons with Eden Lake but the script is indianized to the extent that the similarities are almost unnoticeable. The film never lets go of the tension and as the story builds up the film turns into a horror film. Yes you read it right. Horror is not always the fear of the supernatural. Humans pose a greater threat and are capable of far worse acts than Ghosties and Ghoolies. NH10 stands testimony of this very fact. The film comes at a time when its content and material is of utmost importance and I believe this is also one of the reasons which makes this film un-missable.
There is a scene in the film in which a police official asks Meera about her caste and sub-caste and she is unable to answer. The man in a most calm and steely manner replies her by telling that the constitution and democracy in Gurgaon ends with the last mall of Gurgaon. Democracy and constitution has no chance of reaching places where there is no electricity and water. By his speech he tries to justify the actions of the people responsible for the brutal attacks on Meera and Arjun. This is one scene which will certainly get you in the wraps for the simple reason that if the protectors are supporting the perpetrators and actually believe in their ideologies, how is the victim supposed to react then?
Later in the film another aspect of our common beliefs is shattered when we see a woman posing a great threat to another woman taking into account the belief that women are in general tender at heart and always compassionate with the others. Here you see a woman who slaps her son for not being able to dispatch off Meera and her Husband cleanly. The film, in one poignant scene shows both sides of the womanhood in a clash with each other. Towards the end, we see the protagonist shed all her inhibition and take the brutality of her oppressors head on with never seen before carnage from her side.
Anushka Sharma excels in a role which is a far cry from her role in PK. As the film progresses her character metamorps into a person who take the world she is in for what it is. From a scared to death girl who never really wanted her husband to get entangled in the chaos at the first place, she transforms into someone who literally bludgeons her perpetrators to death. After running for cover for most part of the film, when her character finally fights back, it is a treat to watch. Anushka successfully conveys the emotions that makes her essay real and noteworthy. Neil Bhoopalam is passable as her husband. He doesn’t appear as someone who would do what he does and that is the only weak link of the film. Darshan Kumaar as the principal baddie is wonderful. He instills fear in you and looks the part. Deepti Naval in a brief essay is stunning.
Overall, NH10 is a scary and edge of the seat thriller which should not be missed. It is a relevant film in today’s context and yet the major reason for it to be seen is entertainment and aesthetic values and not the social message. If you can stomach violence then NH10 is a superb watch for you. For those who have an issue with violence and gore, steer clear of this one.