There are movies that you like for the content,there are movies that you sit through for the star and there are movies that you enjoy simply for the fresh, young, positive, feel good energy.
London, Paris, New York falls in the third category.
As the name implies, LPNY is set in all three beautiful cities where boy meets girl and doesn’t quite move beyond that. Despite that, it comes across as a watchable, sweet romantic movie. With a cast like the talented, innocent looking Aditi Rao Hydari and an earnest and charming Ali Zafar who is also the lyricist and singer(the best part of the film),it’s impossible not to like it.
The film opens at an awkward note with young Nikhil (Ali),spoilt and pampered son of rich film producer, at London Airport starting a casual conversation with first time traveler, middle class Tam Brahm Lalita (Aditi)who is forced to wait in London before her connecting flight to New York. She is an idealist who wants to change the world and has strong feminist opinions. He is a chilled out guy who lives in the moment and has trouble recalling the President’s name. He reads Mills & Boons. She is what he calls “Lalitapedia”. He is fun, she is a bore. But both have one thing in common. They want to be away from their parents and want to enjoy their newfound freedom. So they meet, they talk, they go sightseeing, they sing and they part. A minor hitch and two years later, they meet at Paris and we are acquainted with beautiful shade of red lipstick, short hair wig ,a smattering of French sentences and an ugly goatee. Another minor hitch and two years later, the two meet in New York. A pair of thick rimmed glasses is introduced.
So what happens? Simple. Love happens. In three nights in a span of 5-6 years. What happens in between is something like a tiff that happens in every relationship. The fact that an entire script has been written around it, is itself quite a marvel and quite a challenge for any writer; more so for a debut director/writer. Anu Menon bravely takes it up and emerges as an upcoming director to watch out for. It’s best not to expect “Before Sunrise” here, which is built on spontaneity and improvisation.
Leaving aside story technicalities like a lack of real conflict and weak characterisation and not expecting answers to the mystery around Nikhil’s dead brother, enjoy the stunning cinematography(Sameer Arya) that offers great sightseeing. The film provides mild entertainment in the form of sweet, hummable songs, a refreshing cast and simple, sometimes awkward, sometimes funny, sometimes cute and normal conversation between a charming couple. The dialogues(Anu Menon and Ritu Bhatia) when not forced, are fairly fresh with good usage of regular lingo. One particular climax scene sums up how well used lingo can completely lift a scene.
Aditi who made quite an impact in supporting roles like as the bua in Delhi-6 and as an angry wife who is constantly kissed passionately by her wayward husband in “Yeh Saali Zindagi”, manages to hold her own in the main lead. Her pairing with Ali Zafar works as both carry of their incomplete, sketchy characters with complete confidence and share perfect chemistry. Between the two, Zafar lags behind as he focuses very obviously on starry charm and cute looks which does appeal, though. What he lacks in performance, he makes up with his charm and his music composition, singing and lyrics which are in keeping with the mood and the theme. The title song lyrics along with “ thehri si zandagi” and ‘aaja” infuses the movie with just the right feel good, romantic touch.
Aditi manages to be honest to her somewhat confused character and is one of the two reasons to watch the film. The lyrics “dekhne mein seedhi saadi lagti.."are well suited to her. The second reason being “unspeakable” words used in the confessional romantic speech in the end by Ali Zafar. It’s a brief glimpse into a good piece of writing, complete with characteristic, contemporary insight into the way a young, regular guy thinks, and talks. That kind of language and expression defines metropolitan youth today, in India as well as London, Paris and New York.
Watch LPNY for its intrinsic endearing quality.After all who wants to miss three romantic nights in three beautiful cities across continents?