<Review by: Tushar A Amin>
Directed by Anu Menon. Starring Ali Zafar, Aditi Rao Hydari
Refreshingly contemporary and brimming with charm, London Paris New York is as good a date movie as you can expect from Bollywood.
Before Sunrise showed this over a course of a day. The more recent One Day, took 20 years. So if you are balking at Bollywood attempting a film that relies heavily on chemistry between newbies and smart writing, take heart. While London Paris New York does have the feel of these exemplary (and inspiring) films, it stands its ground by being sincere in its voice and modest in its ambition. Debutant director Anu Menon has woven an immensely believable and refreshingly charming love story between two adorable characters. She wins half the battle by keeping the pace of the film swift and the writing sharp (and the length short). It only helps that the lead actors, Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari have a very natural ‘in the moment’ chemistry.
The two central characters – Nikhik (Ali Zafar) and Lalita (Aditi Rao Hydari) – meet, strike a friendship, fall in love and part ways spanning six years and three cities. They meet thrice in these six years, for a day each. It is their interaction during the course of these days that poses a challenge as this aspect could have made or broken this film. Thankfully, it works. And largely so because this film steers clear of being pretentious or wannabe. Anu Menon and her co-writer Ritu Bhatia have done a brilliant job of tapping into the attitudes and voice of India’s gen-next.
There is a certain freshness to Nikhil and Lalita’s characters. Their aspirations and hang-ups, attitudes and prejudices are something not seen in Bollywood till now. While their backgrounds are stereotypical, their interactions are not. Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari add to the charm of this film, simply because they are so believable. While Ali Zafar does carry a huge Shah Rukh Khan complex, he has the charisma to pull off this brattish character. Aditi Rao Hydari marks a confidant solo debut and realises the promise of her previous appearances in Delhi 6, Yeh Saali Zindagi and Rockstar. She blends the vulnerability and the strength of an ambitious, contemporary young woman with grace. With the three cities serving as the backdrop for this romantic caper, the film’s visual appeal is another plus. The writing is crisp and just when you think it will fall into a cliché mode, a sharp line or a witty observations lifts it again.
On the whole, this rom-com is worth a watch. It is nothing path-breaking but has an easy charm of a film that knows its limits and shines within those.