What did you think when director Reema Kagti and Farhan Akhtar narrated the script of Honeymoon Travels...?
You know after Parineeta, I wondered if I would get to do some new and interesting cinema again. Then came Reema with this stunningly refreshing script in hand which was so different from the star-studded extravaganza I am usually offered. Reema had taken these six honeymooning couples on a package tour and put all their stories together in a mesmerizing narrative which was not larger than life to make it look foolish, yet not so close to real life to make it boring. It was just what the actor in me was looking for!
How did the idea of there being more than 12 actors in the film, including Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Kay Kay Menon, Raima Sen etc appeal to you?
The film was not about heroes and villains, about the good guys and the bad, but about a whole bunch of newly married people with stories woven around each couple's love and relationship. The script was so path-breaking that I did not take me a minute to say yes. I have already done my share of main leads, and I am not an insecure actor to be intimidated by the presence of my co-stars.
What's your take on your character in the film, Shilpa Shah the newly-wed Gujarati girl?
I have played a variety of characters in my films, but what made Shilpa's character so endearing to me was that it was so real to life. While Reema had gone into the details of the characterization of the Gujju girl who loved her Hindi cinema and bhel puri, designer Arjun Basin had designed the clothes exactly what a lower middle class Gujarati girl from Mumbai would wear. And the twist is that unlike the very docile girls from this community who are brought up thinking that husbands should be treated like God, she hates her husband!
What was your rapport with Ranvir Shorey who plays your husband in the film?
On reel he does the most despicable things for me to hate him, but off screen Ranvir is a riot! He made everyone laugh with his miming and jokes.
What about the rest of the cast of Honeymoon...?
It could not been more perfect! Each character is strongly etched and will draw the audience attention. But my favorite track is that of Kay Kay and Raima Sen who play a Bengali couple from Kolkata. Theirs is an interestingly shaded plot with layers of emotion, and both the actors have taken it to a new level by their amazing performances.
Which was the most perfect couple of the lot?
Abhay Deol and Minissha Lamba who play a Parsi couple are picture perfect. They are childhood sweethearts and the made-for-each-other types. But on the sets they were the most tormented! To put across their compatibility, they had to be shown perfectly in tune with each other whether it was the way they swam together or the way they ate. We would all go hysterical when Reema would throw them back into the pool again and again to synchronize their swimming!
What is Reema's forte as a director?
Oh, she is a master craftsman. She knows exactly what she wants and and no one can force her to do anything she does not want to. Even if the idea came from a veteran like Shabana Azmi or Boman Irani she would brush it aside curtly if she did not like it. The only time we felt she is a woman was when she would get hysterical and start yelling to get the attention of all the12 actors!
What are your expectations from the film?
Very high! Not only has the film taken me to a new level as an actress, it is sure to redefine Bollywood and take Indian cinema to a new future. Honeymoon Travels... will break the boring monotony of our films and make us proud!
Do your future plans include a honeymoon?
Noooo, but they do include films like Bits and Pieces with Rahul Bose, Sanjay Gupta's Alibagh and Shootout At Lokhandwala!
(Studio 18 releases Honeymoon Travels internationally on February 23)