Top 10 Travel Movies!

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 —

(1) Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

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.

(7) Under the Tuscan Sun

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!

(8) Honeymoon Travels pvt. Ltd.

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…

(10) Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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 —

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;)

Top 10 Food-Fan Moments!

I respect what i eat, food is one of the few pleasures of life which stimulates all senses — taste, smell, look, feel and sometimes hear too (ever heard the sound of coffee machine in action?).

So food deserves more attention that it gets, due to our chaotic lives and pompous egos.

Here is a list of my top ten food dishes thoughtfully created, amply supported by visuals. This is a ‘list of personal favorites’, more like my homage to them and doesnt necessarily feature any newbies/ wow dishes.

Read it, see it, and like me — rush out for your second dinner for tonight!!!

(The list is in no particular order. Distinguishing good food on basis of ranking is a crime, after all)

This humble looking dish can set you back by a thousand bucks!

(1) Dal Bukhara — ITC

Every North-Indian kid grows up eating his rotee with dal makhani; isnt even a news anymore. But once you taste the real blood.. err.. dal makhani from god’s home (ITC Bukhara, Delhi or ITC Peshawri, Agra/ Jaipur); you understand the phrase — “the difference between lion and wearing lion’s skin”.

Their dal is so delicious, i often end up eating their packeted-versions at home (with all its preservatives etc). Pity that these superficial five-star-restaurants do not allow kids for dinners anymore, else I’d be spending half of my income on Dal Bukhara every month!

Domino’s garlic bread with jalapeño dip

(2) Garlic Bread — dominos

Poor Domino’s Group and their management wouldnt even think in their worst of nightmares, that somebody living in a remote Delhi house could actually think of cheating them, ransacking their premises or lie point-blank to their home-delivery staff to eat their garlic bread+ dip combo! I have no shame to admit that i have done it, and will do it again and again (if need arises!)

I dont want to end up with legal bills here so wont reveal what had happened. But to sum it up, i can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the month.

(3) Alkauser’s kakori kebab roll

Its funny but a self-proclaimed food connoisseur (me) hadnt even heard of this place till a couple of years back. But having “found” it during a random conversation, I couldnt help but ending up there every other day to gorge-up their super-spicy, soft kakori kebabs.

It is said that Indian gods are vegetarian, and christian gods are not. I dont know about who’s who but certainly the former are missing some real stuff! I am agnostic anyway 🙂

Singapur Chowmein- Hot Pot, Rajinder Nagar

(4) Singapur Chowmein — Hot Pot

This is a true story. A Singaporean was once having a work-conversation and I ended up telling him about “Singapur Chowmein” and how is it different from “Hakka Noodles”. Believe me — we did not do any work for the rest of that day and he fell nano-meters short of booking his India-ticket to try out this chowmein version!

Above dish is sold at a food-truck near my abode, the place is so tacky (to some) that conservatives may not even try their food. But try reasoning this to folks who have tasted their singapur chowmein, and they will tell you the difference between living and breathing.

Sushi Platter

(5) Sushi — Wasabi by Morimoto

Japanese food is the latest craze in upmarket Delhi food scene and rightly so. Their food is light on the stomach, simple and super-healthy!

But beware of the fakes. Again going by Dal Bukhara example here of separating real lion from the unoriginal one. And so before sushi becomes the bread-pakodas of 2035; try it out at Wasabi by Morimoto.

Any gratitude will be accepted by me in form of food vouchers…

samosas — local patel nagar

(6) Samosas — local East Patel Nagar market halwai

I tried real hard on google; then Zomato; Swiggy; EasyDiner; Burrp; and 58 other food-sites (i almost ended up creating one of my own after this search!) but couldnt find the REAL NAME of this shop.

never mind, this halwai has been selling samosas before British came to India. Actually before Mughals. Lets just say, the samosa is still the same. and so is the chutney. And so is his shop set-up. We’d be happier if price was the same too…

But the samosas are worth every penny spent!

Image not attractive, the food is!

(7) Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce — Amici Cafe

Pardon the image here. I couldnt find anything better. If anglicised fish is your scene, Amici is the place to be. They have two versions, Lemon Butter Sauce and Pizzolia Sauce. It is difficult to pick a winner of the two (thats why i said — it is unfair to compare good food).

You find me a better angrezi-fish and I will end up treating you there!

Baihtak’s Navratan Korma

(8) Navratan Korma — Baithak

This one is for personal nostalgic value. It must have been the first restaurant I’d have frequently visited as a child and so their dishes stuck to my five senses ever since. I will reserve any eloquent description here, as they may not be pioneers of this dish. But again, this one is for memories.

Murgh Lababdar Biryani — Moti Mahal Delux, Rajinder Nagar

(9) Murgh Lababdar Biryani — Moti Mahal Delux, Rajinder Nagar

Haha, caught you! Now if you have read this far, you‘d know that a foodie’s list wont be completed without something out of his own den.

But again, the Murgh Lababdaar Biryani (with yakhni) cooked at our kitchen is like none other. I can tell you that the secret lies with spicy-sweet yakhni, or the caramelised onions, or the “dum” our chefs put in while preparing this one. But all this is crap.

We actually pick our chicken with great love, tender and care. We make sure that livestock is well-fed and is appropriate for slaughter, and then preserved along the right temperatures… Tell you what — all that is crap again.

The biryani is real good. period.

Tiramisu — Bigg Chill

(10) Tiramisu — Bigg Chill

All good meals end up with dessert. I could probably choose 10 other reasons (and dishes) to dine repeatedly at The Bigg Chill, but if i was 89-year old, confined to my bed and waiting for death to take me; I’d ask my nurse to get me a bite of this pastry.

Enough said…

Okay, i started out this piece with my personal top 10, but there’s always scope for more. So i include (11) Hazelnut Cappuccino from CBTLTechnically, its not even a dish. Its a drink. But its a drink that beats whisky, beer or rum for me. And all heavy meals usually do end up with a coffee which is often the case here…

Hazelnut Capuccino

Thanks for reading. Please spread your love for food by commenting with your fav dish and its source too. And yes, continue reading The Roadtrippers.

 

******* EDIT ******

From last 4-months I have turned into a “vegetarian” by-choice. The list however is reflective of my food experiences over last 34 years of my existence. I intend to do a re-post soon, an exclusive-veggie one!

******* EDIT ******