Somewhere towards the end of ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd.,’ an intoxicated Kay Kay Menon breaks into an improvised jig as the chartbuster of the song ‘Sajnaji Vari Vari’ sneaks into the proceedings and before you know it, one by one, all the characters in this ensemble join in to dance what will be known as Hindi cinema’s most spontaneous dance choreography. They characters are all on a high. And you just can’t wait to join the party.
That is the trip that ‘Honeymoon Travels’ is all about.
Bonding, love, caring, sharing and letting your hair down.
Everything else seems to be an excuse to get to that point in the story where six couples with different dynamics to their relationship discover each other and themselves in this sequel in spirit to ‘Saalam-E-Ishq.’
‘Saalam-E-Ishq,’ though episodic, was long-winded and conformist, sticking to the mandatory angst-ridden song before the final act (but then even Reema Kagti’s mentor and producer of ‘Honeymoon Travels,’ Farhan Akhtar, couldn’t do away with that in his own ‘Dil Chahta Hai’) whereas ‘Honeymoon Travels’ is far more simple, crisp and snappy, using quick flashbacks to give us the back-stories of the love stories in an unconventional narrative structure.
Reema only tells you what you need to know, leaving the rest to your imagination, playing her cards smartly all through her narrative laden with clever twists and cheeky turns. Though you can see some of these coming, the director still manages to keep you engaged in the stories by random, yet, fluid inter-cutting between the couples and their respective stories.
Amisha Patel finally makes her acting debut (Yes, we know she’s appeared in films before, pretending to do the job but failing miserably) as one of the film’s most vivid characters, Pinky. But it is Kay Kay Menon who once again surprises you with his range and energy, paired opposite an immensely likeable Raima Sen. Shabana Azmi and Boman Irani are reliably solid in their roles, playing it with the right sort of sensitivity and refreshing zest. Abhay and Minnisha are adorable as the perfect couple with a secret each. Sandhya Mridul’s track makes up for the overdose of feel-good in the film and the fine actress acquits herself without overdoing the histrionics. And trust Ranvir Shorey to breathe life into even the most single-dimensional of characters. He’s brilliant in a role cut short by the screenplay, paired opposite his reluctant bride Diya Mirza, looking pretty in a rather ‘filmy’ role that ironically challenges the very institution of marriage and the validity of a wedding.
Given how refreshing her story-telling is, Reema could’ve done away with the lecturing on love in the end, making Shabana Azmi deliver the message of the film in the middle of the road, to the driver, who probably represents the old-fashioned people who run the system. The new generation is on her side literally and the driver has little choice but to abide by democracy. “We have paid for these tickets. If you can’t drive, step aside. One of us will,” she says, emphasizing on the right of every individual to decide how to live his/her lives.
But for these minor quirks, ‘Honeymoon Travels’ is a refreshingly delightful trip exploring the complexity of human relationships with the disarming simplicity of everyday life. The mood is light all through and life is beautiful.
Just one word of caution. Don’t take any of the storytelling too seriously. And don’t take it at the surface-level either. If you find it difficult to accept the cinematic liberties taken, ask yourself this: Is there anything called a perfect couple or a couple that has never had one single fight? That should make you see the brilliance of the larger-than-life elements in the film.