Movie Review: LONDON PARIS NEW YORK by FENIL SETA

Romance seems to be the in-thing as in the past 25 days, nearly 4 love stories have hit the screens and London Paris New York is the fifth one. The promos of this Ali Zafar-Aditi Rao Hydari starrer hinted that it’s a cute coming-of-age story of two opposite individuals. And with Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu getting thumbs up from majority of audiences for being different in its approach, London Paris New York couldn’t have arrived at a better time. And thankfully, London Paris New York impresses, touches the hearts and brings a smile!

The story of the movie: Nikhil Chopra (Ali Zafar) and Lalita Krishnan (Aditi Rao Hydari) bump into each other at London airport. Both are drastically different in terms of personality and approach and yet both get drawn to each other even though their future lies in different continents. However, they both meet once again 2 years later at Paris and some more years later at New York. How they grow, get attracted, drift apart in these 7 long years is what the film is all about.

With a running time of around 100 minutes, London Paris New York follows the Hollywood pattern as typical Bollywood romcom easily goes over 2 hours. Not only in terms of duration, even content and script wise, the film has Western film influences which make this film appealing and also very modern and youthful. The film deals with very topical issues of the youth like choosing the apt career, parental pressures, community pressures, long-distance relationships etc. And thanks to fine execution by Anu Menon, one feels a total connect with the proceedings of the film!

There’s hardly any dull moment in the film as it has a fine pace and is laced with some great dialogues and chemistry between the lead pair. All the three chapters of the film (each dealing with a city) have its moments and none of them going over-the-top. The best part of the film is that it gets better as it progresses. The twist in the Paris episode came all of a sudden and one really looks forward to know what led Lalita to behave in such a manner. The New York episode too was terrific, especially Nikhil’s outburst. It was not only a decisive moment in the plot, it also proved once and for all that Ali Zafar is a force to reckon with. The climax was obviously predictable but nevertheless works very well!

The focus of the film is entirely on Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari and both of them excel in sustaining viewer’s interest from start to finish. As just mentioned above, Ali Zafar delivers a bravura performance and in fact it was better than his act in Tere Bin Laden. In short, his best performance till date! The actor-singer proves that he’s capable of carrying the film on his own shoulders successfully! His comic timing is perfect and surely here’s an actor who deserves to be seen more, especially in solo hero roles! Way to go AZ!

Those who have seen Yeh Saali Zindagi, Aditi Rao Hydari had already won their hearts. And the cute actress does it yet again in London Paris New York as well! This is Aditi’s first lead role and she makes a great use of the opportunity. It would be no surprise that she’ll be inundated with offers and that too for main roles. And she totally deserves it! After all, one can’t help but fall in love with Aditi inspite of the immaturity that her ‘mature’ character shows in the film! Besides Aditi, there’s Dalip Tahil and Mantra and both were quite alright.

Ali Zafar has also written the lyrics and composed music which is good but sadly not great. ‘Woh Dekhnay Mein’ is the best song of the lot, including its female version (sung by Aditi herself). ‘Ting Ting’ (Ali with drunk ladies) was unnecessary while ‘Aaja’ (climax) was foot tapping. Dhruv Ghanekar’s background score however was apt. Sameer Arya’s cinematography was very pleasant. Anu Menon and Ritu Bhatia’s dialogues were one of the strengths of the film! It’s the dialogues that add spice and fun to the narrative and Anu and Ritu get it just right!

Finally, kudos to Anu Menon who besides writing dialogues also wrote the story and screenplay and moreover directed it too! Anu seemed totally in control and succeeded in extracting fine performances from her actor and also in keeping the film crisp and entertaining throughout its duration. The actors are shown falling in love within a day and yet it appears absolutely convincing. Also, Anu succeeded with the manner in which she provided only half explanation to viewers when sudden developments occurred in the narrative and audiences couldn’t help but wait to know the full history behind the same! The debutant director also deserves praise for being modern in her approach. Of course there would be a section of audience who would object to the fact that giving in to the temptation during ‘that weak moment’ is okay! But then the character was neatly fleshed out and that’s what mattered. 2 things that didn’t work are – Aditi’s French talks and Ali’s problems in the film school. The later could have been well established. But nevertheless, a great attempt by Anu!

And finally, a very special thanks to censor board for not laying the obsolete ‘you-beep-the-expletives-and-delete-sex-dialogues-or-else-accept-adults-certificate’ condition and instead giving out the film straightaway U/A certification! Great work and hope they maintain it!

Some of the best scenes:
1. Nikhil giving interview
2. Nikhil-Lalilta at London airport
3. Nikhil-Lalita in the rains
4. Nikhil-Lalita have red wine
5. The intermission point
6. Nikhil-Lalita roam in Paris
7. Lalita storms out of Nikhil’s room
8. The last 20 minutes

On the whole, London Paris New York is yet another indication that our filmmakers are ready to showcase new and even bold ideas to the public. The film is entirely handled by Ali and Aditi alone and they both deliver a riveting performance! Go for it with the ones you love and have a great time!

My rating-*** ½ out of 5!

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