Movie Reviews

London, Paris, New York review

Cast: Ali Zafar, Ali Zafar's 33 teeth, Aditi Rao Hydari

Directed by Anu Menon

Rating: 0.3 * (0.1 for each city)

Often directors believe the city their film is set in is a character in itself. By that logic, this one has three and if you watch this movie, they perform better than the lead cast. ‘Accidently in love’ is the most jaded theme in Hindi films and orchestrating that in foreign locations is like a prototype. But this celluloid catastrophe trashes tried and tested formulas to prove that sometimes even marking all the ticks can produce a big cross at the box office.

The duo that laugh, cry, make love, sneer across the three megacities include Nikhil Chopra (Ali Zafar), an aspiring filmmaker and Lalitha Krishnan, a stereotypical social activist. Nikhil and Lalitha meet by chance (about time we have a premeditated love story!) at London airport, where the latter is stalled as her New York flight gets postponed. Nikhil decides to grin his way into playing tour guide to Lalitha. Clearly working on the opposites attract theme, Lalitha believes in covering the highlights in her Lonely Planet, while Nikhil exposes his pearly whites every 10 seconds and offers pearls of wisdom like, ‘Kisi ne mujhse kahan tha, be true to yourself and yehi meri zindagi ka sabse bada sach hain.’. From lying at a park and staring at the sky to doing the bhangra with the Brits to waltzing in deserted churches, they pack their day with every such activity that represents a bootleg free spirit. And yes, they also scream out to no one in particular to announce they’re free. Now is when you’re concerned about your own freedom, which is snatched away in the confines of this movie hall.

Anyway, Lalitha jets back to New York after confessing love and swearing to not utilize any form of communication till the next time they meet (for a reason you can’t be bothered to care about). Years sweep by, pop corn becomes soggy and we’re in Paris. Lalitha’s curls have been reduced to an untidily fashionable bob, while Nikhil continues his electrocuted clenching of teeth which is supposedly a smile. Differences are sorted momentarily as passionate love-making in a cheap hotel room follows. But hold on, one more city to go and it can’t be as smooth. So, Lalitha suddenly realizes that she has to lash back at Nikhil over something she had discovered and they part again.

Finally, New York. The big apple excites you, not because it’s the chapter where differences will be creased out and kiss and makeup will be executed. But you’re mostly comforted by the idea of getting back to the world outside this multiplex. Will Lalitha give in to Nikhil’s 33 dental soldiers pleading for her love? Will Nikhil discover that inexcusable grinning can cause cheek muscles to tear? To find out, you have to suffer this film.

Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari have both done a couple of films each and cannot be discounted for their performance. While Ali seems to be swinging sporadically between spitting-with-every-dialogue theatrical and casual, Aditi is consistently and unreasonably grim. The music, vocals and lyrics by Zafar may not exit the cinema hall or atleast you hope it doesn’t. Many argue that this one is a Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V of ‘Before Sunrise’ and ‘Before Sunset’, but here the sun doesn’t rise or set, not on the script atleast.

The title promises, apart from other things, a chance to see three iconic world cities. But the production has managed to zero-in on the worst and most clichéd locations. Paris: Eifel Tower. New York: drive past the neon billboards and so on. But this can’t be an allegation against the film, after all, ‘Itne paise mein itna hi milega’.

As multiple brain cells commit suicide while enduring this film, you ponder over a scary thought: travelling to these world cities can earn the crew enough frequent flyer miles to make a sequel. Be scared. Be very scared.

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