Review: London Paris New York

London Paris New York
 
There is very little you can hold on to when a film that positions itself as a romantic comedy is unable to deliver either romantically or humorously. Debutante director Anu Menon’s three-city based time and continent travelling film which explores a circumstantially and geographically challenged love affair is rife with problems.
The film opens in present day New York where director Nikhil (Ali Zafar) is premiering his debut feature film. It soon flashes back to London 2005 where he first meets feminist student of politics Lalitha (Aditi Rao Hydari) at an airport. The chance meeting and Lalitha’s missed connecting flight to New York means they can now spend the day enjoying the sights and sounds of London, ending the day with the promise of meeting in New York six months later. Cut to Paris 2007. Nikhil now has a questionable French beard; Lalitha has a slightly less questionable new hairdo (wig). Nikhil finds Lalitha and they spend a passionate and heady day in Paris.
And now we are back in present day New York. The pair is older — the naiveté of the 20s replaced by wisdom afforded by age. Yet their behaviour is anything but mature. She stills speaks in a child-like cutesy voice, and on the eve of her wedding spends a night out with her former lover; her chic Parisien avatar has been replaced by a frumpy relaxed look. He still behaves like the victim even though he has been far from honest in the past. 
The problem with this film begins with the very first scene. Ali Zafar, giving an interview to a TV reporter, immediately reveals how aware he is of his looks and the presence of the camera. This is something he, and the director, are unable to shake off throughout the film. He is awarded many close ups and a long topless scene. He sings and dances and romances – he looks great. If only he had bothered to get into the character of Nikhil. This is one of the reasons for an absolute lack of chemistry between the lead pair on whom the entire film hinges. Rao pitches in with a little more effort but it also too focused on being either cute or glamorous, infusing neither with impact. 
The lead is pair is further burdened by a dull script, boring scenes, appalling choreography, literal styling and collegian editing. Worst of all is the stilted politics of the filmmaker who positions Lalitha as a feminist but in the final analysis paints her as weak and fickle. So what works? Seeing a fresh pairing on screen, a few realistic and well acted scenes, the three city locations and the length – its less than 100 minutes!
 
Rating: ** 

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