So what, if Bollywood movies burst into a musical sequence at significant moments or have gravity-defying fighting scenes, it’s our guilty pleasure. It is fair to say that the celluloid has the power to manoeuvre viewer’s emotions and decisions.
Be it DDLJ’s timid Simran who was looking for one last hurrah, Queen’s bold Rani who went solo on her honeymoon, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’s badtameez Kabir who couldn’t be tied down, or Highway’s naive Veera who unwillingly crisscrossed the country, the silver screen has given us enough reasons to hit the road.
If you’re planning a holiday with friends or a romantic rendezvous, here’s a spotlight on some of the movies and the destinations they take our imagination to.
Dil Chahta Hai
If there is one stand-out movie that captured the very soul of Goa, it has to be Dil Chahta Hai. This coming-of-age story of three friends and their camaraderie and shenanigans influenced a whole generation. Having a fabulous title, this trend-setting film defines the meaning of “having fun in Goa” and the values of friendship. In the later half, as the characters mature, it also takes us to Sydney in Australia. Only Finding Fanny, that depicts a rustic side of Goa, comes closer.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
If road trips and outdoor thrills are your cups of chai, ZNMD has all the ingredients. Whether it is painting the town red during La Tomatina (our improvised Holi), seducing a señorita in Valencia, or running with the bulls in Pamplona, this 2011 movie is like an authentic tourism ad for Spain.
What happens when two characters from completely different backgrounds travel together by road and train? Their final destination is Delhi, but the paths they take and decisions they make are truly fascinating and hilarious at times.
This movie is about a cinema troupe which is on the road. Abhay Deol plays a man travelling through villages in Rajasthan to deliver his father’s antique truck to a museum. Close your eyelids, spread your arms, and let the wind run your imagination wild in the otherworldly scenery of rural yet enigmatic Rajasthan.
Queen is a film that breaks all the norms of Bollywood and Indian culture. It sets a bucket list for solo female travellers. Although the essence of the film is finding your place in the world and living life on your own terms, but as the colour of protagonist’s mehandi fades through Paris and Amsterdam, before coming back to Delhi, the film reminds us that life is to live.
In nearly all the films of Imtiaz Ali, the characters, if not the story, end up in the Himalayas and Highway is no exception. From the scorching plains of Haryana and Rajasthan to the valleys of Himachal Pradesh, it’s a journey of a kidnapped girl and a goon that we wished to go on forever. It has got all the essentials of a road trip as well, whether it is licking your fingers at dhabas, encountering new cultures, or dancing on the top of trucks.
Jab We Met
Were your train journeys of Shatabdi or Rajdhani more interesting before Jab We Met? The movie reels from railway tracks and snakes through highlands and hill stations of Himachal such as Manali and Shimla. On the way, it oozes with the smell of the narrow streets of Ratlam and aroma of the mustard fields in Punjab, quite notably Bhatinda.
Dil Dhadakne Do
A tale of a rich and dysfunctional family, even though all members have 50 shades of tan, boards a cruise travelling through sunny southern Europe. Never mind their fights and gossips, mind the destinations they visit, especially France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Tunisia. The grandeur of cruise ship and the calling of the sea are tempting enough to have your own Titanic moment on a deck.
There’s a good chance that many of us have watched this film on a VCR. Along with powerful performances by Sridevi and Kamal Haasan, the beautiful landscape of the town Ketti near Ooty (now Ootacamund) is worth remembering.
Haider, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, was set in the beautiful Kashmir Valley. Srinagar, Anantnag, and Sonamarg feature in this film with brilliant cinematography. The sights of Kashmir reign over the screen as loudly as the torn apart soul of Haider.
The Japanese Wife
One of the most memorable films by director Aparna Sen, it transports you into a different world altogether. It was shot in Kolkata and the Sundarbans in West Bengal and the Japanese city, Yokohama.
For those who prefer the golden age of Bollywood, Nau Do Gyarah, Bombay to Goa, and Hare Rama Hare Krishna are equally inspiring.