Planet Bollywood
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.
 
Producer: Excel Entertainment
Director: Reema Kagti
Starring: Abhay Deol, Minissha, Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Amisha Patel, Raima Sen, Kay Kay Menon, Sandhya Mridul, Vikram Chatwal Karan Khanna, Ranvir Shorey, Dia Mirza, Arjun Rampal, Suzanne Bernert.
Music: Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Genre: Drama
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs.
Film Released on: 23 February 2007
Reviewed by: Amodini Sharma  - Rating: 7.5 / 10
 
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Public Rating Average: 5.17 / 10 (rated by 400 viewers)
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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 – it’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 there’s the Gujrati couple Hitesh and Shilpa (Ranvir and Diya) who can’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 – everyone fits their characters right down to their accents – do note Ranvir Shourie introducing himself as “Hites” and wife as “Silpa”. 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 there’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 it’s finally about what one wants out of one-self, one’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 honeymooner’s lives, feeling for them, and wishing them all happiness.

The sound track of this film is gorgeous. From the delicate “Halke-halke” (sung by “Bombay Viking” Neeraj Sridhar) to the foot-tapping “Sajnaji”, 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 “Truth is stranger than fiction”, mixes the real with the ludicrous and the funny, and doesn’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 clichéd old Bollywood formula. If this is Kagti’s debut as full-fledged writer and director, I eagerly await her next offering.

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