HONEYMOON TRAVELS PVT. LTD. : THE FEEL-GOOD FILM OF THE YEAR !
Finally ! After wading through the duds of 2007, this film is one I actually enjoyed watching. I had expected HTPL to be good, seeing that it came via young producers (Farhan & Zoya Akhtar) known for their different film treatments. And it is â€“ itâ€™s different, fun and quirky, weaving together the stories of 6 couples on their honeymoons on the same tourist bus.
There are old-timers Nahid & Oscar (Shabana & Irani) on their second marriages, reflective and forgiving of live. Then thereâ€™s the Gujrati couple Hitesh and Shilpa (Ranvir and Diya) who canâ€™t get anywhere near each other without scrabbling, the super-compatible Parsi couple Aspi and Zara (Abhay and Minissha), and the oddball NRI husband Bunty(Chatwal) with his desi, fun-loving wife Madhu (Mridul). Kaykay Menon plays an uptight and insecure Bengali man Partho very much in love with his beautiful, free-spirited wife Mili (Sen). And rounding off the sextet are the Kapoors, the Punjabi couple comprising of talkative Pinky (Patel) and contemplative Vicky (Khanna).
This is a fantastic cast â€“ everyone fits their characters right down to their accents â€“ do note Ranvir Shourie introducing himself as â€śHitesâ€ť and wife as â€śSilpaâ€ť. The film starts off with the start of the bus journey, and Kagti throws us a couple of red herrings, like Shilpa crying her eyes out at going on the honeymoon. Then thereâ€™s a opinionated bus driver, and a mysterious motor-bike rider following the bus. And while everything looks lovey-dovey in the beginning, with familiarity and time, problems crop up. Kagti deals with each couple and their quirks without letting go of the momentum, and ties together each story nicely into the larger narrative.
This tale is firmly rooted in reality, in that itâ€™s finally about what one wants out of one-self, oneâ€™s significant other, and life. However Kagti is not above taking forays into the fantastic, adding to the pep quotient, and giving us wonderful snippets like Pinky rising out of fur-lined clam-shells, and a demure wife beating the crap out of hoodlums while her husband watches open-mouthed. I was at times amused, at times surprised, at times moved, and at other times laughing my head off. All in all, I was thoroughly engrossed in these honeymoonerâ€™s lives, feeling for them, and wishing them all happiness.
The sound track of this film is gorgeous. From the delicate â€śHalke-halkeâ€ť (sung by â€śBombay Vikingâ€ť Neeraj Sridhar) to the foot-tapping â€śSajnajiâ€ť, vocalized by Sunidhi Chauhan, the songs suit the mood and situations of the film. Direction is good, and the film veers from the beaten track in that it is not afraid to experiment and take chances. The script while banking upon that old adage â€śTruth is stranger than fictionâ€ť, mixes the real with the ludicrous and the funny, and doesnâ€™t hesitate to laugh at itself. Something which very Bollywood films do, and do well.
To sum up, this is a clean, fresh, and enjoyable film, moving away from the clichĂ©d old Bollywood formula. If this is Kagtiâ€™s debut as full-fledged writer and director, I eagerly await her next offering.