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Movie review: 'London Paris New York'

This Bollywood romance treats places and people as postcards, colorful but sort of flat. But stars Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari are fun to watch at least.

March 05, 2012|By Robert Abele, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • A poster for the Bollywood film "London Paris New York."
A poster for the Bollywood film "London Paris New York." (20th Century Fox )

In the airy Bollywood romance "London Paris New York," the thrill of spending a long day in a faraway city with someone you're growing smitten with is taken to a bubble-like extreme: Maybe only a handful of lines go to anybody else besides attractive leads Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari.

Pakistani pop singer Zafar plays a wealthy Bollywood scion and aspiring filmmaker named Nikhil, who at a London airport meets Lalitha (Hydari), a politically minded college student on her way to university in New York. On three separate days over eight years in the titular cities — with monuments in the background, for picture postcard's sake — they spar, flirt, fall in love, share a bed, betray each other and finally reunite as slightly older, sager individuals. Writer-director Anu Menon puts such total faith in her stars' ability to draw us into their emotional ups and downs that the simplistic nature of the touristy setup — and the conventions of their romance — escapes her.

That said, Hydari fares better as a complicated mixture of guardedness, freedom-seeker and unwitting tease. There's a lot going on in her enchanting, brilliantly expressive eyes. Zafar, on the other hand, seems stuck in self-satisfied gear from early on.

"London Paris New York." Rated PG-13 (for sexual content and smoking). Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. At Naz 8, Laemmle Fallbrook.

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