Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Ishkq in Paris: Love gone wrong
Preity Zinta’s comeback Bollywood film features the characteristic Zinta elements her fans have loved over the years. Effervescence and her famous dimples. Both are present in “Ishkq in Paris”, albeit in heightened form. Zinta is a little too bubbly, too jumpy and flashes her dimples far too often for them to be endearing. It’s like enthusiasm on steroids.
To counter her obvious efforts, co-star Rhehan Malliek narrows his eyes each time he is expected to show some emotion.
Together, the two of them play along with a farce of a film. One that borrows liberally from every romantic movie cliché known to audiences, cobbled together by director Prem Raj in the fervent hope that his leading lady’s charm will save the day.
It doesn’t. Even the presence of French actress Isabelle Adjani doesn’t lend a credible tone to “Ishkq in Paris” – when you saddle an actress of her calibre with a dubbed Hindi accent and a half-baked role that involves her batting eyes at Shekhar Kapur, it doesn’t do your film any good.
Zinta plays the oddly named Ishqk, a photographer who hates commitment and has daddy issues. Rhehan Malliek plays Akash (or cash with an A which is how he introduces himself to Ishqk), an agent (what sort of agent, we are never told) who also has commitment issues and the ability to seem creepy when he thinks he’s being romantic.
The two meet on a train; she spends the night showing him around Paris and they decide never to meet again. But then how would Raj fit the rest of the clichés? So post-interval, we have another meeting in an Indian wedding – a Bollywood number with Salman Khan and more fake angst spewed by both characters.
Neither Zinta nor Malliek have any chemistry – even their hugs feel awkward, as if they wanted to pull away immediately. The Paris in the film is full of seedy cafes and lanes that don’t evoke any kind of romance. Adjani is completely out of place and depth in the film, making you wonder why she accepted it in the first place.
Zinta does display some of her famous charm and in places, you do catch a glimpse of her old self. She’s certainly a more accomplished and effortless actor than her co-star. Perhaps with a better leading man, “Ishkq in Paris” might have been your average romantic film – one that you could have watched without much trouble.
As it stands though, it’s a mediocre film, one that was supposed to showcase one of our favourite leading ladies, but instead just shows us what a shadow of her past she’s become.