Interview

Practice makes you better: Reema Kagti on her first film Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd


The filmmaker made her directorial debut with Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, which was released on this day in 2007. Kagti spoke to Cinestaan.com about her film completing a decade and how it has held up.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Sonal Pandya

Reema Kagti was one of the dozen or so filmmakers, which include the likes of R Balki, Shimit Amin and Aanand L Rai, who made their directorial debuts in 2007. Kagti's first film, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, which she also wrote, featured an interesting cross section of couples embarking on a honeymoon to Goa.

The six couples of Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd

Following six couples as they adjust to the next phase of their relationships, the film's ensemble cast comprised Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Kay Kay Menon, Raima Sen, Abhay Deol, Minissha Lamba, Ameesha Patel, Karran Khanna, Sandhya Mridul, Vikram Chatwal, Ranvir Shorey, Dia Mirza and Arjum Rampal.

Cinestaan.com spoke to Kagti as her film completes 10 years and she talked about how the journey actually went quite smoothly.

Kagti hasn’t seen her film in entirety recently but has caught it in parts when it airs on TV. “I have seen bits and pieces on television, I haven’t sat and watched the whole thing in a long time," she said. "I think it keeps coming on TV and it was on Tata Sky for a while, but I think it has a charm of its own, even though I would change a lot of things today. It’s what happened at that time. It’s my first film and I’m really proud of it.”

Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd combined conflict and humour with emotion as each member of the cast confronts problems in their lives. Kagti tackled the issues of an older couple remarrying (Azmi and Irani), a long-term couple that gets along too well (Deol and Lamba), and newlyweds who don’t know each other at all (Shorey and Mirza).

When Kagti wrote the script, she took it around to a few people and finally Excel Entertainment decided to produce it. “I did about two, three drafts, but you know, with gaps in the middle, and I had a lot of help from Zoya [Akhtar]. In retrospect, it feels smoother,” she recalled.

Kagti also worked on writing her male and female characters equally, saying, “I approach and write them as rounded as possible, try and give the viewer a sense of their motivations, journeys and conflicts.” Prior to this script she had written something else, which eventually did not make it to film.

Making a road movie must have been challenging, but Kagti felt that “Mumbai as a location is overdone in our films. So the minute you go out, you have a bit of advantage of newer frames, things that people haven’t seen before. So the fact that the film involved travel certainly worked to its advantage, I think.”

Additionally, Kagti said, “All the actors were just wonderful and it was a superb experience. I also had some very senior actors. I think they were all superb to work with and very graceful with a first-time director. But because I had a great cast, it feels like it went off really smoothly.”

Looking at the credits of the film, there are many women on the crew, from the executive producer (Zoya Akhtar) and director of photography (Deepti Gupta) to the editor (Aarti Bajaj). But Kagti insisted that “it so worked out that there were that many women on the crew. When I met people and considered options for jobs, I met both men and women. I wasn’t looking to hire an all-woman crew. That’s just the way it panned out.”

After Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, Kagti directed Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor in the thriller Talaash (2012) and is planning to start shooting for a sports drama titled Gold, with Akshay Kumar, which is due to be released next year. She said, "There is a lot of difference between Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and Talaash and practice makes you better. I hope Gold will be a big leap there too.”