Life would be a hollow lane if one wasnt given a window to travel. It would be montonous to the core, if there werent entertaining stories/ anecdotes in it.
Without spending much time on the intro, I intend to combine the two pleasures and create, possibly, the BEST EVER list of travel-movies to you. As the proud author of travel-fiction series The Roadtrippers ; I assure you that below list is as much researched as my book(s), and is of the highest quality.
Also the list is thoughtfully forged and focuses on movies where travel is an essential element of the story — and not used to only lend beautiful backdrops. So read the list, watch the movies and continue spreading love for travel —
The original, or should i say, baap of travel-movies for Indians. Lets just also say, it is a cult-movie for travel when it comes to bollywood. There were four main protagonists here; Hrithik, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol and Spain!
Yes, Spain was captured breathtakingly (minus Barcelona and Madrid though former’s iconic airport grafitti did make an appearance) and the country soon emerged as one of the most sought-after tourism destinations from India.
But the movie didnt just include travel for the sake of it — their road-trip helps our “buoys” rediscover their bond and re-ignited themselves for this life which happens to you only once.
(2) EAT, PRAY, LOVE
This movie is the epitome of travel for global viewers, because of its popular main lead (Julia Roberts). And rightly so too.
This is the journey of a woman which exists in every single one of us — we expect so much from life and yet when we get so little, are disillusioned and looking for an escape. Well, she does just that and goes to Italy (eat), India (pray) and finally to Indonesia (love).
The movie is feel-good, divided neatly into three parts and each of them depict beautifully (though slightly cliched) of what is promised from the title. I was especially charmed by her Bali escapades, and it featured its beaches very soothingly. Once again, travel was a big hero.
(3) Into The Wild
I think of this movie and i think of the word “quintessence” to speak of it. This is the film where spirit of travelling, living a nomadic life and importance of journey is shown in the right way. Or should i say, the best possible way. Except for its ending.. (not giving away anything at all here!)
So this lost over-promising boy, decides to dump everything to live a minimalistic, gypsy life and goes hitchhiking through US, Mexico and to Alaska. His adventures are risky yet fascinating. His trip is almost a delusion, yet some of his fundas do make sense, “I dont need money, makes people conscious.” But in the end of it all, as he inscribes — Happiness real, only when shared, you realize the folly of his plan.
Wait no further and watch it if it can be the only travel-movie you could see.
(4) The Beach
This is my personal favourite (although in no way saying that it is the best of this list — the list is in no particular order) movie because of its simple, yet all encompassing message for searching-souls.
It showcases a mystery beach in Thailand (possibly Koh-Samui) and Leonardo DiCaprio (shown as a thin-pin adventure seeking guy). He and a French couple go there in search of a paradise which is isolated from the rest of the world, and breeds on a culture of its own.
The movie beautifully shows how we humans are looking for that perfect place (it could be a place for real or as a metaphor) and in its quest are willing to by-go everything that makes us ‘human’ in the first place. Yet in the end, we realize the emptiness and shallowness of it.
The gorgeous scenery is a big plus ofcourse.
(5) Dil Dhadakne Do
Only Zoya Akhtar really makes movies in India that have travel as an important element (few exceptions, nothing major there). And thats why the second entry on my list is also a movie by her.
She portrays bohemian people here, born to business families. She shows a dysfunctional family. She shows a cruise through scenic Mediterranean destinations. She shows Istanbul. All that works. (though what doesnt work is the title — the movie promised that it will be about letting people chase their career passions, but ends up begging for freedom about their life partners).
Still a deserved, worth-watching travel movie.
(6) The Way
I must admit, I found first twenty minutes of this movie quite boring. But by the latter half, i was amazed at how the simplicity of this feature-film had captured my spirit.
A simple storyline of a father who goes on a pilgrimage foot-journey to Camino Santiago in Spain (again Spain!) to honor his dead son, who died due a storm on the same terrain. He makes few friends and shares amazing memories with them, and by the end decides to dedicate his life to trail-walking.
There is fewer noise in this movie, less words spoken yet something magical about the whole portrayal that keeps you binding. And by the time THANK U song appears, you actually start feeling grateful for the life you’ve got.
Initially I was skeptical, Americans have a strange obsession with Italy and Italians after all. But the movie has so much to offer.
So there’s this recently divorced lady who goes on a gay-group tour to Italy and ends up buying this abandoned mansion in Tuscany to start her life afresh! Where does she gets so much guts from! i ask myself (before quickly realising its a movie).
Anyway Italian sights are gorgeously captured. And so is her life hereon. Its a light, feel-good movie and very watchable for the travel alone!
Okay strange things first — all 3 bollywood movies on my list have a common connection, Reema Kagti. While the previous 2 had her as co-writer, this one also has her as Director. Kudos to her!
So here are 6 honeymoon couples to Goa, in a bus especially designed and chauffeured for them. How they explore each other (as is expected on a ‘honeymoon’) and their complexes in a funny+convincing way, form the core of its story.
The movie works for me for its simplicity. A bit over-the-top too, but relationships can be wild and what better place to get your first te-ta-te with them than your honeymoon 🙂
(9) A Good Year
Spain and Italy ticked. So how can France be left behind?
This not-so-hit movie has Russel Crowe, an unethical, cocky investment banker from London temporarily moving to France to take control over his late uncle’s vineyard. There he brushes with the resident vine-maker for years, his family, uncle’s illegitimate daughter and a feisty cafe owner in neighbourhood. He ends up realizing how life’s beauty lies in simple, small pleasures and chucks his high-profile brit-job to settle in this French town.
Again a sappy, feel-good/not-real kind of a storyline but it consumes you. No less because of a beautiful estate house in France, with a huge vineyard. If only I too had an uncle living there…
Okay, I have saved the best for the last. Firstly, this is the third movie on list with Spain in it — officially explaining why i am travelling to this country asap.
Ofcourse the movies main parts are given away in the title itself. Where it worked for me was in showing love-relationships in a totally new light! Guy loves girl, girl is confused, her friend loves guy, guy loves her friend, girl loves guy, her friend loves guy’s ex-wife, ex-wife loves guy and friend, it goes on and on. And no, i am not making its fun at all! I am just giving a glimpse of this relationship paradox!
The movie must be seen if you are looking for something totally out-of-the-box.
But the biggest take-away for me was — how travelling to a new place (Barcelona here. Japan in another movie, ‘Lost in Translation’) can spoil you and suddenly corrupt your senses into this make-belief world that often doesnt exist.
— — — —
As the list ends, I know I couldnt possibly finish this post without mentioning a few more names. I thought long and hard about them, but finally couldnt include in this list atleast. they are —
- Bill Murray’s LOST IN TRANSLATION and GROUNDHOG DAY (my fav fantasy film!)
- Secret Life of Walter Mitty
- Dil Chahta Hai (only a small part to Goa and Australia)
- Up in the Air (brilliant movie! very very sorry not to include it!)
- Queen (again brilliant! my bad luck as I am not a Kangana fan)
- Hector and the search for happiness (my no.11th in list above)
- The Bucket List (technically not a travel movie)
Thanks for reading. please add your comments with your favorite travel-movies too.
ps: i love to be criticized and argued with, for my choices;)