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Movie Review: London Paris New York

Published Mar 05, 2012 11:31am


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London Paris New York stars Ali Zafar and was directed by Anu Memon.

With “London Paris New York”, the new film starring Ali Zafar, directed by Anu Menon, I’ve concluded one question that has been hanging over my head since last month: This isn’t Bollywood’s month in romance movies.

Hot on the heels of “Ek Deewana Tha” and “Ek Main AurEkkTu”, both romantic dramas aiming at urban audience, “London Paris New York” has Ali Zafaras Nikhil Chopra, who when we first meet him, aspires to be a filmmaker.

At London airport, he meets-cute Lalitha Krishnan (Aditi Rao Hydari), a young woman with an amateurish outlook on feminism and politics – and whose maturity never levels up in the film’s passage of time.

In their first meeting, highlighted by two very long steadicam-takes, one notices a spark gradually, and innocently, developing between Nikhil and Lalitha.

She has missed her connecting flight to New York and Nikhil, on his first day of un-parented “freedom”, suggests they spend her remaining time adventuring through London. So like backpackers, they ride up the city, get soaked in the rain and have a few glasses of wine.

A few years later, in 2007, they do this exercise again in Paris. Nikhil now sports a goatee and Lalitha has chopped her hair. The two also have a brewing conflict about infidelity, the reason for which I found lacking. They, of course, separate — again.

Finally years later, today, Nikhil, now a filmmaker, tracks down Lalitha and they spend another night in New York oblivious to the severity of their differences. If anything, fracases are painlessly, contended in this story.

Yes, “London Paris New York” is a variation of “Before Sunrise” and "Before Sunset", with three episodes packed into little more than 90 minutes. However, there’s a transparent dissimilarity between the two. Even with a short running time, this film’s screenplay (also credited to Anu Menon), forgets to add any spontaneity to its plot.

The London bit starts out welcomingly fresh, where both characters are guided by their youthful convictions. When they do grow up, two years later, their lives are a train-wreck of misguided adulthood. By the time New York happens, we see the film pacing itself for a climax, and little else.

Despite Ali Zafar’s alluring on-screen personality, and his monotonous-sounding voice with the slight Punjabi-drawl, we never build a connection with Nikhil. Lalitha, sheepish and misguided by the pragmatism of her nature, is even more departed to our emotions.

“London Paris New York” has seven tracks on its album, with Music and Lyrics predictably by Ali Zafar. The soundtrack is a snug fit within the overall structure of the film. They, almost never, interrupt the flow of the story.

With his third major Bollywood feature, I can safely assume that Ali Zafar is now a bona fide Bollywood commodity. There’s obvious, untapped, star-power here and this raw resource puts him right up there with the best of Bollywood’s next generation.

Like “Tere Bin Laden” – the finest work in his current resume – one can spot the work he’s molded into his character. Ali Zafar has a definite Pakistani naturalness to his performance. Despite our shared heritage, there’s a vivid contrast between our body languages, and this gradient uniquely deviates him from what we expect of Bollywood leads.

If anything, that unmistakable freshness suits the movie just fine.

Comments (6) Closed

HS Mar 06, 2012 02:44am
Is this is a movie review? Doesn't seem like one. It seems more like a commentative article on the film! Where did the writer analyse the script, performances, direction, choreography, dialogues, etc etc. This is really amateur work...
Saad Mubeen Mar 06, 2012 03:40am
Mistake: The name of the movies are "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" There is no movie named “After Sunset” as mentioned by you.
mani Mar 06, 2012 09:23pm
lol really?! I didn't know Bollywood films value those aforementioned filmmaking imperatives. They are usually vague and superficial - all about the STAR. Put Shah-rukh Khan in anything and it's gonna sell.
arman Mar 07, 2012 05:46am
If producer goldie Behl have caste his beautiful wife sonali Bendre in the movie then it would have been good response.
Priyanka Mar 14, 2012 05:35pm
The music is awesome and Ali Zafar looks stunning. I watched the movie at Wave Cinemas along with some of my friends and overall its not a bad movie to watch. But I think Ali can still do better work.
Nasser Ali Khan Jul 11, 2012 06:00pm
95% + of Bollywood movies are actually a very serious embarassment. I wouldn't dare take non-desis to bollywood movies; otherwise I would have to hear remarks like; why are they talking in English or talking like Americans using words like dude, and cool etc?; or they would say why need English subtitles? All very true indeed! Bollywood is very superficial and rubbish acting by heroes and heroines. My reply is simple and factual. "The Indians have a serious inferiority complex - not that Pakistanis are much better". Look at the Arabs, Persians, and Chinese for example, They are so proud of their language, culture, and history.