When I first heard of Imtiaz Ali making a road movie titled Highway, it was stimulating enough to grab my instant attention. The celebrated director had shown his philia for roads and travelling in Jab We Met, paving a way for more to follow, and with Highway, it seemed as if the Love Aaj Kal director had decided to let his spirits fly high. With the songs and trailers out now on all platforms, the movie is riffling some good buzz in the country. Its premiere at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival too has notched up my expectations from it. The Randeep-Alia starrer is looking promising, a journey of discovering one’s self guarantees ample doses of drama and oozing love.
However, the film is not a first of its kind! Not only the genre is very famous in the West, the most notable ones being Motorcycle Diaries and Sideways, road movies have caught the fancies of Bollywood too. Time and again, our desi filmmakers have opted to make movies on a road trip that is unknown, unseen and unexpected. While there have been movies with short-on-the-road sections in our Bollywood, the recent ones being Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Anjaana Anjaani, here’s a list of movies that actually took a step further and made the dusty and deserted roads a primary character.
An unintended race from Mumbai to Goa to claim a treasure worth ten crores in Goa, Dhamaal was a story of four friends whose fortune takes a turn while trying to save an underworld don. The don tells them about a treasure in Goa before dying, inflaming the friends-turned-foes journey to the state. However, little did they know that competing them is a Police Inspector, Kabir. A laugh riot, Dhamaal had most part of its story on the run. Not only they race to Goa in a car or a bus or a truck, they use an airplane in the run as well, creating a laughathon for the audiences.
Bombay To Goa
A bus journey from Bombay to Goa, this Mehmood directorial was a super-fun-filled adventure film starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Aruna Irani and Mehmood. Not only the movie was a comedy one, it had a murder and running girl in it too. And accompanying the running girl in the bus are passengers from all over the country, representing diverse religions and culture. Together they create situations that are hilarious and amusing at the same time. A memorable journey for sure!
Known for its catchy tunes, the movie is best remembered as Big B’s first movie as the main lead.
Directed by Dev Benegal, Road, Movie was a story of re-invention of sorts for its prinicipal characters. Vishnu (played by Abhay Deol) is a restless man who drives his father’s old truck to a distant museum as an escape from his father’s hair oil business. And on his way, he picks some strangers, a smart kid, a bustling man and a sultry gypsy woman, and together they travel down the terrain.
Stunningly shot in the desert areas of Kutch, Gujarat and Jaisalmer, the movie is a lovely, witty and soul-stirring one experience. The battered truck, which was once a travelling cinema, gets a transformation into Vishnu which is very beautiful yet unspeakable. A fable of sorts, the movie guarantees a smile!
Mr. And Mrs. Iyer
A story revolving around two strangers in a bus who are caught amidst a communal riot, Mr. And Mrs. Iyer was a meeting of art and commercialism. While the film showed the new friendship blossoming between two strangers tenderly, the riot scenes were a haunting affair. We see Meenaksi (played by Konkona Sen Sharma), a Hindu, with her infant son with her, and seated beside her is Raja (playd by Rahul Bose), a Muslim, who is a wildlife photograph. Yes, the high caste Hindu do have a problem a Muslim but when the mob arrives to kill the Muslims, Meenaksi, the same high caste Hindu girl saves Raja by calling her as her husband – Mr. Iyer. A beautiful story of brewing romance between two complete strangers thrown together by unanticipated events, this Aparna Sen movie is a sort of must-watch!
Road was a 2002 movie starring Vivek Oberoi and Antara Mali where they play an eloped couple who are on the run from Delhi to Jodhpur in an SUV. On their way, they meet Babu (played by Manoj Bajpai) who appears to be friendly in the beginning but turns out to be a psychopath serial killer. Not only he tries to kidnap the girl, he makes sure that the couple doesn’t get out of the desert. Following some more killings and chasing, creating a hell of a journey, the film is an excitingly slick and stylish black-comedy thriller produced by the very famous Ram Gopal Verma.
Nau Do Gyarah
One of the first Bollywood movies where road played a major role, Nau Do Gyarah was a Dev Anand movie where he is on his way to Mumbai (then Bombay) to claim his share of money left by his uncle. And on his way, the young guy meets a girl who is a runaway bride. A journey where they fell in love amidst all the hilarity and drama, this gripping road movie was directed by the famous Vijay Anand and the female lead was played by Kalpana Karthik, Dev Anand’s wife.