Early on in the film, after being attacked by an unruly group of men, Anushka is advised by the police officer to own a licensed gun instead of being assured that she would be protected by the police. It becomes evident, straightaway, that director Navdeep Singh is interested to expose the underbelly of the society, be it the city of Delhi or the badlands of Haryana. The story, written by Sudip Sharma, is not a groundbreaking one, as we have seen films in the past on road trips going awry. And while NH 10 definitely doesn't fall in the horror category, whats sets it apart is the journey of the audience along with the characters to guess and predict what future has in store for them, which surely sends a chill down your spine as you witness the events unfolding on screen.
Unlike his previous film Manorama Six Feet Under, which was an intelligent thriller betrayed by its slow pacing, NH 10 is brisk, engaging and seldom loses grip over its realistic tone that accentuates the state of anarchy and brings to the fore the disturbing and appalling issue of honour killings. There is a tangible sense of stinging truth when the eldest member in the house wishes to dismiss the killing of a family member surreptitiously as a personal matter. It is only the last 15 minutes or so of the film which is a bit of a let down, not least because the end twist can be guessed from a mile away and also because the final act turns out to be a tad underwhelming.
The film, in the end, belongs to Anushka Sharma who subserviently and convincingly pulls off a role, which is the most taxing of all the characters in the film. In a never seen avatar before, she delivers a riveting performance bringing the required pathos to a character whose peace of mind has been buried under the debris of helplessness and despair.
I'm going with 3.5/5 for NH 10. The blood and gore may be hard to digest for many. But I still recommend a watch for the competent direction and brilliant performances.