Romance is the most favored genre in Bollywood, but love stories have undergone a metamorphosis in the recent past. Films like EK MAIN AUR EKK TU, LOVE AAJ KAL, WAKE UP SID, LONDON PARIS NEW YORK and COCKTAIL have redefined romance in our movies. The anguish which germinates from heartbreak, the outburst of emotions when matters of the heart fail and making peace with oneself and the loved one eventually... the storytellers are in a mood to push the envelope further.
ISHKQ IN PARIS is yet another addition to the new-age, urban setting love tale. The film is significant because, besides its theme, it marks Preity Zinta's tryst with film production, besides signaling her return to the big screen after a hiatus. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the romantic fare BEFORE SUNRISE [Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy], ISHKQ IN PARIS also brings back memories of LONDON PARIS NEW YORK, which released a year ago. Needless to say, ISHKQ IN PARIS is different from the above-named films in terms of story development and execution.
When an entire film centers on first getting acquainted and then going separate ways, it puts enormous pressure on the storyteller to make every sequence vital. He/she needs to glisten relentlessly. Even accomplished writers/directors find it most demanding to portray a couple falling in love and drifting apart within a few hours of meeting each other... Prem Soni does have a tough task on his shoulders to depict the wobbly relationship between the protagonists.
Prem borrows the attitude from BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET films, but he makes sure he affixes those delicate touches that appeal to the Indian cineastes. Since the film is chatty in nature, there are times when weariness sets in and the lines seem contrived [the first hour is strictly okay!], but, eventually, this one springs a pleasant surprise!
ISHKQ IN PARIS narrates the story of two strangers, Ishkq [Preity Zinta] and Aakash [Rhehan Malliek], who meet on a train from Rome to Paris and end up spending an evening in Paris. Sparks fly, the two share some wonderful moments before they go separate ways... only to meet again!
What goes in favor of ISHKQ IN PARIS is the vibe and the chemistry between its lead actors. The love story has its moments, the humor is subtle and believable and the writers [Preity Zinta, Prem Soni] make sure they spike the narrative with energetic episodes and clever lines. There's an invigorating honesty in the way the couple discuss love and the twist in the pre-climax saunters in slickly. The build-up to the climax, coupled with the mature execution of the written material, keeps you hooked.
On the flip side, the writing meanders from stimulating to wishy-washy. There are times when the film tries to be different from movies of its ilk, but doesn't really thrive. Sure, it begins with a bang, but it continues to taper as it moves forward. The director uses melodrama to depict anxiety and trauma, but the trouble is, haven't we watched it all in movies earlier?
The DoP [Manush Nandan] endeavors for a certain look and feel and which he maintains all through. The stunning locales of Paris and Prague augment the visual impact. The soundtrack [Sajid-Wajid] is wholesome, with the composers coming up with tracks that capture the mood of the love story. 'It's All About Tonight' is racy, while 'Kudiye Di Kurti' is foot-tapping and the presence of Salman Khan acts as the icing on the cake. 'Saiyaan' is melodious to the core.
It's difficult to take your eyes off Preity and Rhehan. Whether bickering or flirting with one another, the actors catch your eye in those tiny little moments that capture their charming chemistry well. What makes the performances work is that the characters are bona fide and credible. Preity is exquisite in every frame. Her eyes emanate genuine warmth and her performance is captivating. It's great to see this supremely talented actress back in top form! Rhehan too infuses energy into his role and compliments Preity at every level. He looks perfect for his part and carries his part with poise and composure.
Isabelle Adjani is good enough in the few sequences she appears in. Sanjay Lafont doesn't get scope. Shekhar Kapur shines in the song-sequence. Chunky Pandey is up to the mark in a cameo.
On the whole, ISHKQ IN PARIS is a decent fare, but its fate depends on word of mouth completely, for the film to carve a niche for itself. The delay in release [the promos had been on air for quite some time] coupled with lack of strong face-value might mar its prospects!