Friday, February 23, 2007
Sometimes, small films [in terms of canvas, budget, cast] have a lot to say than supposedly big films. Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., directed by Reema Kagti, is one such film!
One might be tempted to ask: Can Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. be clubbed with films like Darna Mana Hai, Darna Zaroori Hai and Salaam-E-Ishq? Sure, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. talks of six couples and their individualistic stories, but each of them are woven in one thread. Let's get one more thing right: This one's not inspired by BOMBAY TO GOA either. The similarity ends when a bus-full of passengers embark on a journey to Goa.
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. holds your interest at most times because of its unpredictable plotline. The stories seem straight out of life and the characters are identifiable. If you haven't encountered people with similar traits, you may've heard of them from someone for sure.
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. is Reema Kagti's debut vehicle, but there's clarity in her vision. It's a difficult task to narrate six stories in 12 reels/2 hours and Kagti does it quite well. A few moments linger in your memory. Yet, there are times when you feel that the debutante could've given a truly satisfying culmination to a few stories.
In a nutshell, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. is a notch above the commonplace. You don't expect the moon when the lights are switched off and the reels unfold, but it does succeed in bringing a smile on your face when the lights are turned on after the end credits.
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. is about six married couples on a package honeymoon to Goa. This vacation is a subsidized option for a lot of dreamers on the brink of their new life.
The film opens with six couples, a guide, a driver and a handyman riding in a bus from Mumbai to Goa. The narrative humorously unfolds different stories that explore the nature of love and human relationships. Woven into the hectic four-day honeymoon schedule is a radio show. The jockey plays the role of an omniscient narrator and discusses individual characters, revealing secrets about them and their past.
From the time the bus leaves Mumbai, a man on a bike follows them all the way to Goa. This mystery man is dressed in leather and a helmet throughout, until one day...
Six stories. Twelve people. Varied emotions. That's the apt way to describe Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. Let's dissect the six couples one by one...
- Shabana Azmi - Boman Irani: The reasons that bring these two lonely people together are justified. The turning point in the story -- Boman accidentally meeting his daughter in Goa -- gives the story an interesting twist. But the daughter's re-emergence [she complains of her boyfriend two-timing her] in the end looks amateurish. However, what elevates the story are the delicate moments between the two adults.
- Kay Kay Menon - Raima Sen: This one stands out. It's perfect. The pangs of jealousy [when Raima's sari opens up as she enjoys a sea-sport] or Raima's suggestion of having their own home is a reflection of the current times, what with more and more people believing in the concept of nuclear families.
- Amisha Patel - Karan Khanna: This one takes you by complete surprise. Again, the twist in the tale -- Karan getting attracted to Vikram Chatwal -- catches you unaware. But why doesn't Karan listen to his heart? If the writer had the guts to show the attraction between two males, why didn't she take this story to its destination? Why strand it midway?
- Sandhya Mridul - Vikram Chatwal: Fine writing elevates this story. Vikram's admission that he's gay comes as a bolt from the blue. But, as mentioned above, the story between Vikram and Karan deserved some culmination. Sandhya's previous relationship is beautifully restructured and sensitively handled.
- Abhay Deol - Minissha Lamba: Very cute. Blows your mind to see this perfect couple. You are awestruck until you discover that they aren't ordinary mortals. They possess super powers and have the potential to be desi Superman and Superwoman. Yet, despite the unbelievable factor, the sequences between them are cute.
- Ranveer Shorey - Dia Mirza - Arjun Rampal: Starts off very well and reaches the crescendo when Dia elopes with Arjun. But their re-entry in the final reel and the forced stunt-n-chase looks straight out of 1970s Bollywood masala film. Ms. Kagti, why this ghisa-pita angle to this triangle? Also, Ranveer deserved more footage!
Director Reema Kagti shows promise as a storyteller. She knows the grammar of film-making right and has handled a number of sequences smartly. But it's the writing that could've been stronger. The sequence involving Shabana and the bus driver [Darshan Jariwala] in the end is brilliant, but the ending seems slightly abrupt. Vishal-Shekhar's tunes are catchy and hit the right notes. 'Sajnaji Vari Vari', 'Halke Halke' and 'Pyaar Ki Yeh Kahani' are numbers that sync well with the narrative. The choreography of 'Pyaar Ki Yeh Kahani' [filmed on Abhay-Minissha] is splendid. Cinematography is arresting. Dialogues [Anurag Kashyap] are well-worded, especially the lines delivered by Shabana in the end.
The ones who leave an impression are [in this order] Shabana Azmi [superb], Kay Kay Menon [brilliant], Boman Irani [first-rate], Sandhya Mridul [excellent], Raima Sen [natural], Abhay Deol [admirable] and Minissha Lamba [likeable]. Amisha Patel does an average job, while Karan Khanna is nurturing into a fine actor. Vikram Chatwal is strictly okay. Ranveer Shorey is wasted. Dia [looks very pretty] and Arjun are also relegated to the backseat. Darshan Jariwala is up to the mark.
On the whole, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. is a decent entertainer that has something worthwhile to say. At the box-office, this one's for the multiplexes completely. Its business in Mumbai, Delhi and South should be the best!
Eklavya - The Royal Guard