Director: Anu Menon
Cast: Ali Zafar, Aditi Rao Hydari
London Paris New York is a romcom that demands neither much time nor patience. You may not love it, but chances are you’ll find yourself mildly amused and entertained along the 100 minutes it plays out over.
The template is familiar — boy and girl meet for a day in London, fall in love, meet years later in Paris, fight, then meet again in New York and realise they want to spend their lives with each other. Inspirations range from Richard Linklater’s Before series, as well as David Nicholl’s novel, One Day (the movie adaptation of the book was so bad, I can’t see how that could have been an inspiration).
What makes London Paris New York (LPNY) tick is its lead pair. Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari are both relatively new, eager to make a mark and confident at their craft. Their personalities are contrasting, chemistry interesting, and their conversations believable.
Zafar plays Nikhil and, as seen in his earlier two films, has an easygoing charm and love for the camera (which reciprocates too). I’d like to see him work with a more seasoned director though; sometimes you feel the actor gets carried away, going slightly OTT, and you want him to be reined in. He’s good in most parts of LPNY, especially in a crucial scene towards the end.
Hydari, on the other hand, is a delight to watch from first scene to last. Her character Lalitha’s transformation over the course of the film is more believable than Zafar’s, and she takes the role a step ahead of what debut making writer-director Anu Menon would have imagined. She’s got an immensely likeable persona, and will hopefully get other author-backed roles in the future.
The frills are minimal in LPNY, the film getting down to business right away, and ending quicker than you expect it to. The three chapters are each shot in hues of red, green and blue each, cinematographer Sameer Arya giving each city a life of its own.
Menon gives her two lead actors some great lines (dialogue credit shared with Ritu Bhatia), and ensures her characters remain relatable. What she loses due to lack of originality, she makes with her honesty in telling the story straight. She’s got a young, vibrant voice and is someone whose films you’ll want to watch out for.
My favourite moment in LPNY comes when Nikhil and Lalitha are riding a carriage in New York, much older than the first time they met. There’s a visible comfort that belies the fact that it’s only their third meeting. And you really do wish the two get together eventually.
LPNY is a short and sweet romcom that will leave you with a smile. Go for it.Aditi Rao Hydari Ali Zafar Aniruddha Guha Anu Menon DNAIndia London Paris New York Reviews