Cast:Abhay Deol,Minissha Lamba,Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani,Kay Kay Menon,Raima Sen,Amisha Patel, Karan Khanna,Sandhya Mridul,Vikram Chatwal,Ranvir Shorey, Dia Mirza,Arjun Rampal,Suzanne Bernert,Naseruddin Shah,Direction:Reema KagtiProduction:Farhan Akhtar,Ritesh SidhwaniMusic:Vishal Dadlani,Shekhar Ravjiani
“I like men, I am gay,” Bunty (Vikram Chatwal) tells his wife Madhu (Sandhya Mridul) when she attempts to initiate sex on their honeymoon. Has Bollywood finally come out of the closet? It appears so. It is rare for an Indian film to address this topic, in a country where homosexuality remains illegal.
The film has a lively and contemporary premise. Six newly wed couples take a coach from Mumbai to Goa for a package holiday honeymoon. In addition to the aforementioned Bunty and Madhu, we also encounter mature couple Oscar (Boman Irani) and Naheed (Shabana Azmi), both on their second marriages. We also meet conservative Partho (Kay Kay Menon) who believes his wife Milly (Raima Sen) should always dress in saris and childhood sweethearts Pinky (Amisha Patel) and Vicky (Karan Khanna). Then there is Shilpa (Dia Mirza) who elopes with her lover leaving husband Hitesh (Ranvir Shorey), and Aspi (Abhay Deol) and Zara (Minissha Lamba), who hide a secret. Over the course of four days, as the couples get to know each other, cultural differences are revealed and the cracks in their own relationships emerge.
First time female director Reema Katgi has fashioned a groundbreaking movie which adopts a light hearted approach in order to convey a message of tolerance. This generally works as some of the themes addressed are still taboo topics in modern India. It is commendable to see a fair representation of gay love in a Bollywood movie: past movies like ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ (2003) tended to include gay subplots for cheap laughs. Katgi also shows that a mature couple can be sexually active: Oscar and Naheed kiss on the lips in public.
Although the film is short by Bollywood standards, it could have benefitted from the cutting of unnecessary frequent flashbacks and an annoying voiceover. There is also a heavy reliance on references to classic Bollywood flicks which will be lost on those not familiar with Indian films. Some of the characterisation is odd: Madhu is presented as a sexually precocious Mumbai girl who meets her man on the internet, yet when her husband reveals his true sexuality to her, she turns weepy.
Despite its imperfections, this modern Bolywood rom-com is worth the journey. It represents how far Hindi cinema has travelled in recent years with young filmmakers, like Katgi, willing to address new subjects.