A first time director’s film is always looked at with interest; more so today where thanks to the acceptance of an urban ‘multiplex’ cinema culture, filmmakers can experiment with different ideas and genres and be fresh and innovative in their treatment. Reema Kagti’s Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. tries hard and had the fortune of being backed fully by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, the makers of Don but ultimately Honeymoon… fails to make the cut.
Looking at six married couples that leave on a Chartered Bus for Goa to celebrate their honeymoon, the script and consequently the film suffers from having a lack of focus and getting too scattered. The flow of the film is choppy and with so many narrative strands, often a track is left behind for quite some time and then brought in at some inopportune time as if suddenly remembering we haven’t seen this couple for a while. Hence while the first half still manages to flow relatively smoothly without much happening as the characters and their backgrounds are introduced (Some extremely tacky flashback sequences here), the second half is where the film starts to derail. Too many issues have been raised as each track naturally has its own set of problems and consequently wrapping them up or leaving them where they are is often contrived and far from satisfactory (the Karan Khanna – Vikram Chatwal angle for one). And the twist to the self consciously cute-cute Abhay Deol – Minisha Lamba love story just leaves one gobsmacked!
The film has its share of moments (Kay Kay observing Abhay romancing Minisha and trying to do the same with Raima, Raima’s paragliding sequence) sporadic though they are with some witty lines thrown in (If you can’t show us a dolphin,at least show us a pormpret!). The track that really works well undoubtedly is the Shabana Azmi – Boman Irani elderly romance of a widow and widower that has its share of sensitive and poignant moments. Whether it’s her teaching him to pronounce Ghalib or the story of their first meeting as they tell it to a foreigner, you cannot help but smile along. However the additional baggage of Boman’s college going daughter not accepting the marriage is tackily added on and resolved even more amateurishly. Another comparatively well thought out story is the Kay Kay Menon – Raima Sen story of her wanting to be a free spirit and him being highly strung conservative middle class man not willing to open up. Sandhya Mridhul and Vikram Chatwal’s story had fine potential but…The Dia Mirza – Ranvir Shorey and Arjun Rampal triangle is the big NO – NO here. Not one scene of this track works or for that matter much of the Ameesha Patel – Karan Khanna tale either barring its twist, setting up a potentially interesting situation to explore but then not dealing with it at all. The less said about the external track of the drug peddler driver and his nephew and the latter’s love story with the foreigner the better.
Coming to the performances, the ensemble cast pulls it off quite well. Shabana is restrained and dignified even if her preachy speech at the end has one squirming (not at her but just at the hackneyed writing) and Boman has his moments even if his English accent and its intonations come off as more Parsi rather then Christian. Kay Kay Menon once again shows what a fine actor he is. As the stuffed shirt, conservative Bengali lad, he is wonderful and his drug induced dance is a highlight of the film. Raima Sen, Sandhya Mridul, Abhay Deol and Minisha Lamba all leave their mark. Karan Khanna and Vikram Chatwal are just about adequate while Ameesha is plain irritating.
There is little to recommend on the technical side barring the production design, Arjun Bhasin’s costumes and music by Vishal- Shekhar. Sajnaji Vari Vari is the stand out composition and has been choreographed and picturized with much energy. And a special mention must be made of the Abhay Deol – Minisha Lamba dance Pyaar ki Yeh Kahaani too. Not so however, the cringe worthy Ameesha Patel looking for her ‘pearl’ fantasy song. The cinematography is nothing to write home about largely with flat compositions, eye level mid to mid close compositions with the odd long or high or low angle shot thrown in with some really poor use of the wide angle lens to cover panoramic shots of Goa.
All in all, disappointing fare.