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"Initially I had plans to make a dark film" - Reema Kagti

By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Exciting times continue for Bollywood. With newer subjects making an appearance on a regular note, one film that has managed to catch attention is Honeymoon Travels Pvt.Ltd. Produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, it is a cool looking contemporary film that promises to be a light hearted entertainer. IndiaFM gets into an exclusive conversation with the debutant director Reema Kagti to know about how 'different' is her film (that is made of numerous love stories) and how was the experience of filming a true multistarrer like this.

Reema Kagti is a fairly unfamiliar name for a common man. Care to talk a little about your background?
Of course! Before going independent with 'Honeymoon...', I have been working for last 8-9 years an assistant director with directors like Farhan Akhtar [Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya], Ashutosh Gowariker [Lagaan], Honey Irani [Armaan], Kaizaad Gustad [Bombay Boys] and others. I also gained a lot of experience in film production in the process. Not many are aware but I actually started my career with Rajat Kapoor who was making a film called 'Private Detective' then. This was the place which I would consider as a film school because apart from being an assistant director, I was working a lot on other departments of film making too which helped my growth immensely. I also worked on a few music videos and documentaries and today I can say that I have earned my place to be where I am!

And how fresh and appealing could a love story be?
'Honeymoon...' is a different take on love and relationships and when you see the film you would believe me then. It is about these 6 middle class couples who go on a package honeymoon trip to Goa. It has an unconventional narrative but still doesn't completely deviate to make it sound absurd. It says in the end that "come on, life is hard but then there are ways to find solutions to make it fun"! If I have to define the genre of the film, I would say it is a very quirky bit of comedy that you are going to witness on screen!

Why do you say that?
Because my sensibilities as a director are different here! I am influenced a lot by world cinema and am a viewer of films from places as diverse as Spain, Iran, South East Asia etc. I have observed films from directors who started off with alternate cinema and moved on to make something mainstream. This is the reason why I have made a film that balances the two worlds and yet gives audience something entertaining.

Was 'Honeymoon....' a kind of subject you wanted to debut with?
I won't say that this was a kind of subject I 'wanted' to debut with but this is how it has turned out to be. Initially I had plans to make a dark film; in fact it was darker than an average film. Then I was told by many that why not start with a lighter subject, something which could be a love story. I said fine, but then I would do it my way. Something that would suit my style of film making. Result is that I have made a very accessible film, though an attempt has been to do something in an alternate manner!

Coming to the film, why don't you take us through each of the 6 lead couples in the film?
Well, let's start with Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi. They are a middle aged couple who have married at an old age. People around them make fun of them but they are not really bothered about it. In fact why just characters in the film, even I was advised against putting such a love story in the script. And my question to them was "what's a problem if the two have gone out on a honeymoon?" Why is enjoying life a premium that comes to young only? Why can't we look beyond age when it comes to love? In the end you realize that their love was so beautiful, especially due to the fact that they came from a tough background and had faced difficult times earlier. And now, finally they are keeping their past behind and searching for a future with each other.

How about the others in the film?
KK and Raima Sen is another couple which comes from a small town in Bengal and have different sensibilities than the rest. Amisha Patel and Karan Khanna are form Delhi and are poles apart. While Amisha is a talkative sort, Karan is quieter. Story of Vikram Chatwal and Sandhya Mridul is interesting too since Vikram plays an NRI while Sandhya is a Mumbai girl. [Laughs] I don't want to get into a lot of details for these characters since by doing this I may be giving away a lot of surprises that are in store in the script.

Abhay and Minissha look like a fresh couple too.
Yes, in fact they are the most perfect couple. But then you have to watch their story unfold since there is a big twist that comes in the end. Ranveer Shourey and Dia Mirza form another young couple from Gujrat. Their story raises a question of what is more important in life - love or marriage. It challenges the social norms and traditions.

Great to hear about the couples and the rest of the cast. Now tell us honestly which is your favorite story in the film. And please don't be diplomatic by saying each of them is equal.
Each of them is equal [laughs]! Hey, but how can you expect me to pick my favorite? I have made a true ensemble film where no track is more important than the other and each of them has a story to be told. It also takes a step beyond the tracks and looks at individuals by focusing on each of the characters. I am seriously being honest here. In fact during the preview shows that were held to take the feedback from people who matter, I heard different people reacting to different stories. That's because somewhere you find a chapter from your own life unfolding in front of you.

While filming 'Honeymoon...', were you able to manage it all by yourself in spite of it being your debut film or did you feel the urge of some help?
How can I say that I did it all alone? After all film making is such a combined effort. No one can really stand up and say that I did it all alone. Yes, I was alone on the sets while shooting the film but then Farhan and Ritesh [producers of the film] were always there for support. They are such cool guys to work with and they never once made me feel the pressure in spite of a lot of it building up from so many ends. They provided me with ton loads of help and said that "Reema, you do what you want to do and we will always be there for you". There was feedback from people around us when the film was on but their [Farhan/Ritesh] point was that it is your film and you take a call on how you want to do it.

That's indeed cool.
True, and this makes you feel so good since you know that you are working with a set of people with progressive mindset who belong to today. I had been in so much of pressure earlier on when I was trying to make my debut as a film maker. It was hard while struggling for a few years to get that one elusive break and today I just can't help but thank all those people who rejected me!

[Laughs uproariously] Ya, really! Otherwise I would have ended up being a part of a setup that may not have been to my liking and would have ended up making comprises at some places. But it all turned out to be a blessing in disguise since I am associated with EXCEL movies.

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