Best roadtrip movies from Bollywood
There is a different world altogether behind that glowing screen. One full of shine, coincidences, pretty faces, incredible experiences, slow motion walks and happily-ever-after(s). And that's the reason we go to the movies, to get out of our world for a while, to get into that parallel world, to immerse our senses in a maze of exaggerated canvases, to escape from our routine lives. Movies themselves are a road trip into the unknown, unseen and the unexpected.
Be it the glorious Bombay to Goa drive from the movie Dil Chahta Hai or Barfi and Jhilmil's incredibly beautiful trip from Darjeeling to Kolkata, we have all been on short whimsical wayward journeys right from the comfort of our couch. While these movies had short on-the-road sections, we have compiled below a list of movies from Bollywood that actually took it a step further and made the road a character in the movie making it interact, teach and learn from our celluloid stars.
Nau do Gyarah (1957)
"Ham hain rahi pyar ke, humse kuchh na boliye, Jo bhi pyar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye"
This timeless classic song is from Nau do Gyarah, one of the first Bollywood movies where the road plays a major character.
Nau do Gyarah is about Madan, who finds out that his uncle has left a huge amount of money for him and sets out in a truck to Bombay to claim his share. On the way he meets a runaway bride, Raksha, disguised as a Sikh boy. Hilarity and drama ensue and the two fall in love over the journey, and unbeknownst to them, their past, they start relishing the journey more than the lure of their destinations. This gripping movie was majorly shot on the road and the beautiful yesteryear Mahabaleshwar.
This Dev Anand classic was the directorial debut of his brother Vijay Anand who would later go on and make timeless classics like Guide, Johnny Mera Naam and Jewel Thief. Raksha, was played by Kalpana Karthik, Dev Anand's wife.
Songs to remember
Kishore Kumar's immortal melody, Hum har rahi pyar ke
Dev Anand and the entire crew, drove all the way from Delhi to Bombay to shoot the movie. On their way they stayed for a night at Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh which was then ridden by fierce dacoits. Deep in the night when everyone was asleep, Dev Anand heard a loud banging on his door. When he reluctantly opened it, he found violent-looking armed, scary man standing outside staring at him. When Dev Anand asked him what he wanted, the dacoit smiled and said that Mr. Anand was his favorite actor and he just wanted his autograph.
Teesri Kasam (1966)
While we remember it today because of it's profoundly moving songs, "Sajan re jhooth mat bolo khuda ke pass jaana hai, na ghoda hai na haathi hai, wahan paidal hi jaana hai" and "Duniya banane waale, kya tere man mein samayi, kahe ko duniya banayi.", Teesri Kasam was quite ahead of it's times. While in the 60s everyone was making colorful melodramas, Shailendra and Basu Bhattacharya made a movie painting an innocent clash between simplicity and style.
The story takes us along a bullock cart driver, Hiraman's (played by Raj Kapoor) journey after he agrees to carry a Nautanki Dancer, Hirabai (played by Waheeda Rehman) to a village fair, on his cart. Hiraman and Hirabai are two culturally opposite individuals, as Hiraman is a simple village guy with conservative values and Hirabai is an upscale courtesan with urban open-mindedness. The journey makes them see more of each other's outlook on life and the world and although the end here is not as pleasant as most bollywood dramas, the movie reminds you that whenever you decide to get out of your self-imposed shell, the world out there is equal parts delightful and scary.
Raj Kapoor and Shailendra (the film's producer) were life long friends and when the latter narrated the full script, Raj Kapoor demanded his whole salary in advance. A betrayed Shailendra's face lit up when Kapoor mentioned that he would do the movie for his friend for no more than a 1 rupee salary.
Bombay to Goa (1972)
When a movie is directed by Mehmood, you instantly know you are in for a super-fun-filled roller coaster. So is Bombay to Goa. Mala (played by Aruna Irani) ran away from her parents to become a movie star but all see finds is more betrayal and becomes a witness to a murder. Before we know it, she runs away again and boards a bus headed towards Goa. Here she meets our hero Ravikumar (played by Amitabh Bachchan) and begins to trust and (as the bollywood mantra goes) falls in love with him. What makes the movie memorable is the fun bus journey, full of adventure and comedy complete with ensemble passengers who hail from all over India, every religion and culture well represented, interacting with each other creating hilarious situations.
Songs to remember
Kishore kumar makes a memorable guest appearance in this song where the whole bus, including the driver and the conductor (played by Mehmood), breaks into a song and dance frenzy.
Oh mehki mehki thandi hawa
Oh how we wish this happened in real life as well and made bus journeys a little bit more interesting.
Bombay to Goa was Amitabh Bachchan's first movie as a main lead. Zanjeer followed soon after and the rest is celluloid history. But that's not the tidbit. Very few people know that this role was first offered by Mehmood to Rajiv Gandhi (who thankfully turned it down), who would then go on to become the Prime Minister of India.
Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002)
Directed by Aparna Sen, Mr and Mrs. Iyer is a sweet adventure love story in the times of sectarian violence and communal disturbances. Set in a bus journey and an isolated resort, the story revolves around a conservative married Hindu Brahmin girl, Meenakshi Iyer (played by Konkona Sensharma) and a handsome wildlife photographer, Raja Choudhary (played by Rahul Bose). Things get tense as a bunch of Hindu extremists board the bus, looking for Muslims and Raja tells Meenakshi that he is travelling under a fake name and is actually a Muslim. Meenakshi saves him by introducing him as Mr. Iyer, her husband. What follows is a poignant road trip and a love story of two reluctant individuals who come closer to each other and farther from their inhibitions.
Songs to remember
Although its not a song from this movie but here is a scene where the passengers sing "Kuch na kaho" from 1942 a love story and an elderly couple share a tender moment.
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007)
Reema Kagti's comedy is about six couples on their way to Goa for their Honeymoon. While the movie might not play ball with the great movies from Bollywood, this one deserves a mention just for the brilliant performances by almost all the actors and their impeccable comedic timings. It makes for a light entertainment excursion, one that you would enjoy on a lazy evening. Not only do you find familiar characters, that you see around you everyday but also realize that peculiar idiosyncrasies are not that uncommon.
Road Movie (2009)
Road movie is all about transformation. Vishnu (played by Abhay Deol) travels through the surreal Rajasthan landscape in his father's antique colorful truck to a deliver it to a museum where it has been sold to. Dev Benegal captures the beauty of Rajasthan in its most raw form, captivating and visually stunning. The film is fraught with subtle humor, concise dialogues and vast expansive landscapes all of which pull you into the journey of the characters and their trials and tribulations. Although the movie is in itself a tribute to the magic of cinema, it also takes you through the rural picturesque side of the deserts of Rajasthan and makes you wish you were in a truck with worthy companions driving away from your mental fears and unnecessary imposed responsibilities.
Songs to remember
This remix of Johnny Walker classic Tel Maalish adds a much needed zing to the otherwise beautiful but silent canvas of this movie. Very literally and ironically it points out Vishnu's disinterest in his father's profession, of selling massage oil, which gives Vishnu all the metaphorical headaches that he wants to run away from.
Zindagi na milegi dobara (2011)
And here comes the movie that you scrolled down this far for. We doubt you even read any of the previous descriptions before frenetically looking for this movie on this list. In case you did read them, here is a thank you gif :).
Zindagi na milegi dobara was hailed as the godfather of Bollywood roadtrip movies. It's rare enough to see a mainstream film with a personal message, over and above that, ZNMD (as the movie is usually referred to) managed to pull in viewers from all demographics and collectively inspired all of them to set out on their personal roadtrips as well. A coming of age movie, it deals with the story of three friends and their coming to terms with what lacked in their seemingly perfect lives. They set off on an adventure just before one of them is about to get married and re-discover the long lost thrill in their respective lifestyles. Laced with humor, exquisite locations and Javed Akhtar's soulful poetry, ZNMD is a lesson in life, self-discovery and film-making.
Songs to remember
Forget the songs from the movie, Imran's poems (penned by Javed Akhtar, narrated by Farhan Akhtar) take you on a journey of their own. Addressing the mostly under-expressed inner tussles of each character they ultimately sum up the whole movie in a way that not only lets you take a closer look at their lives but also makes you reflect on your own. All poems by Imran.
The scene where Katrina Kaif's character is introduced was shot on a nude beach (for technical reasons?). The entire crew had to jump around on their heels to keep people out of the shooting area and thus preventing them from getting into the frame.
Tell us in comments what you like or hate about these movies, or remind us if we missed any of the good ones, we will update them here and credit you.