Cast: Preity Zinta, Rhehan Malliek, Isabella Adjani, Shekhar Kapur
Director: Prem Raj
A girl and a guy meet cute on a train going to Paris, spend a night wandering about the city, and come out on the other side with a status that’s complicated. This one line brief has resulted in so many engaging love stories, that I went in a tad hopeful. This was, after all, Paris and Preity, a city with magic and a girl with sparkle. Who knew what that combo may yield? Sadly, Ishkq In Paris comes off mostly derivative, and wholly predictable.
Preity plays Ishkq (yes, that’s her name) who lives in Paris with her beautiful French mum (Adjani). She’s the kind of girl who thinks nothing of taking off for a weekend to Rome because she ‘loves being served by Italian waiters’. She wants to have fun but is commitment phobic. Which seems just such a perfect fit with Akash (Malliek), who is exactly the same. Their meanderings around dim-lit strangely-empty Parisian cafes and streets, with the mandatory Eiffel Tower moment, are filled with chatter, all very Before Sunrise. Some of that yakkity-yak is dotted with a few funny lines; you smile. And then you stop.
Because soon enough, all the clichés that you can think of start popping up, and it all becomes downbeat. Ishkq is the way she is not because that’s who she is. The poor thing has daddy issues. Dear old daddy (Kapur, looking grizzled in a tiny cameo) left her and mum, see? Which leads to abandonment issues. If daddy scarpered, so will Akash, won’t he? So on and so forth. There’s even a cloudburst that accompanies an emotional blow-out between Ishqk and Akash: you know, the kind that used to happen in the movies of yore where the rain-water mingled with the heroine’s tears. Remind me again, we are in 2013, yes?
Preity still looks as if she could be on the big screen (not just on TV as a harried IPL team owner defending greedy players), but in a role that lets her be truer. Which she could easily have done, as the screenplay credits her. Malliek has the better lines, but doesn’t lift as much as he could have, especially as the second half gets progressively soggier. Getting the gorgeous Adjani to play Preity’s mom must have been a coup, but should have had better results: the two look as if they could be mother and daughter, but end up exchanging dialogues, merely.
This is Preity Zinta’s own production, and she could have created for herself a character that would have hewed closer to where she is right now. There are moments where you feel she was ready for it, and then the desperate-to-come-off-winsome-yet-vulnerable character takes over. So does the mandatory item number, featuring the one and only Salman Khan.