‘London Paris New York’ Review
A fresh and charming romantic comedy with a likable cast.
Though romantic comedies has become a very cliched genre lately, Bollywood romantic comedies have been getting more and more youth-oriented and slick lately. ‘London Paris New York’ may look like the run of the mill romantic comedy you’re used to seeing, but is actually an entertaining and inventive film than that which manages to remain light-hearted and charming fun throughout.
The film follows Nikhil (Ali Zafar) and Lalitha (Aditi Rao) as they meet on a trip to London and form a lively bond among each other. At different points of the movie, they happen to meet again in Paris later but the context of their meeting is entirely different. All this culminates in the beautiful city of New York.
This is Pakistani singer turned actor Ali Zafar’s first major solo project and the filmmakers clearly depend on his inherent charm for a lot of the film’s first act where he dominates. As we are introduced to Nikhil, he’s that cocky fun loving guy while Lalitha is the more reserved modest girl and their dynamics are interesting to watch. The film has been divided into three distinct acts, each taking place in a different city. London is the segment which is the most light-hearted of them all, and it’s the witty dialogue in the screenplay here that keeps it fun to watch. It’s a very dialogue driven first act, which is unusual for a Bollywood rom-com but that’s what makes it fresh. What also makes it fresh is that there’s no supporting characters throughout the film (except for two scenes) and the film is entirely focused on the journey of these two characters. It keeps the film very focused and devoid of bloat. The actors are charming and the songs are catchy in this act and manage to keep you smiling throughout, which is asking a lot from movies of this kind.
The second act is set in Paris and the dynamics of the relationship have changed. While this segment is darker in tone and doesn’t really come together as well as the first half did, it still does a good job in re-uniting the characters and talking about how their lives have changed since they last met. I was constantly reminded of the excellent indie romance ‘Before Sunset’, but that’s a good thing and the film doesn’t rip that film off. Just when you think you’ve figured the film’s plot out, it hits you with the first big surprise in terms of plot and that’s what makes this film so interesting. It’s not satisfied with being just another romantic comedy and constantly adds unique new plot twists into the mix so that the plot ventures into new territory. The plot twist is unexpected and adds a lot of stake to the film all of a sudden, which leads to a very exciting third act. The third act is more in line with the light-hearted tone of the first act with more maturity in the characters, and the results are authentic and entertaining. There are a lot of surprises packed in here as well, including a blow-up speech that’s extremely well-done and memorable. By the time the film ends, it feels like a worthwhile journey. My complaint? The film skips a lot of character development between the different acts which makes it hard to identify with the characters and they feel like different people each time they re-appear, which is a problem that another romance of last year ‘One Day’ faced (it also had a similar plot).
Ali Zafar is the star here and obviously carries the movie on his shoulders, being the highlight of the film. The first act has him playing a very outspoken smart-ass, which is a shtick that gets old before the end of the act and Zafar clearly has to work on his dialogue delivery still. It always sounds like he’s stressing his words and singing them out rather than naturally delivering them. But his performance majorly improves in the later acts and esepcially during a powerful speech at the end which will get him a lot of praise. Aditi Rao is the better performer here and is completely in tune with her more layered character and not only plays a reserved girl well, but in the later acts nails the bad-ass female personality as well. She has a long way to go in an industry which needs more actresses than just pretty faces. The music is fully composed and sung by the actors themselves and the songs are memorable without ever being separated from the narrative of the film itself, which is a huge plus.
‘London Paris New York’ is a fresh and charming romantic comedy that subverts many cliches and delivers a worthwhile experience with a likable cast to boot. It may not become a classic in its genre, but certainly does far better than some of the more recent entries in the genre.