Having been delayed for a few months, Preity Zinta’s home production ‘Ishkq in Paris’ was finally confirmed for release on 24th May; an appropriate date considering it would be the only ‘big’ release on the day. Zinta was coming back to the screens after a four-year gap – her last appearance being in an item song in 2009’s ‘Main Aurr Mrs Khanna’. Model-turned-actor Rhehan Malliek (aka Gaurav Chanana) plays Zinta’s love interest in the film and French actress Isabelle Adjani had been reported to have a pivotal role in the movie. The question on everyone’s lips would undoubtedly be whether Salman Khan’s item song would be effective enough to prove to be a lucky mascot for the film overall? Would Zinta’s first production and reappearance on the big screen have enough impact?
The story of ‘Ishkq in Paris’ revolves about Ishkq (Zinta) who is half French and half Indian. She has a carefree lifestyle due to her upbringing and in a chance meeting on a train journey she gets talking to Akash Kapoor (Malliek) when they both discover their Indian connection. Akash is travelling to Paris for just one night to get a connection train back to London the next morning. Making an agreement that, because they won’t meet again, they should spend the night together, Ishkq and Akash becoming unlikely companions and use an unconventional dice to determine how they spend the hours until the morning. Little do they know that this night would not be the last time they saw each other.
On paper, the story of ‘Ishkq in Paris’ should have been filled with picturesque romance which the audiences would be almost instantly drawn into. In reality, it is exactly the opposite. Right from the introduction of the characters to the build-up of the so-called love story, the movie very much lacks defining moments. Director Prem Raj does use the surroundings of Paris to the story’s advantage but doesn’t quite manage to strike a chord with an audience which is undoubtedly hoping for much more than is offered.
The moments of definition are not the only scarcity in the movie. In a rare occurrence, ‘Ishkq in Paris’ puts at the forefront a somewhat older heroine with a younger actor. There are scenes where this is more than evident and this doesn’t help the story at all. The chemistry between Zinta and Malliek is commendable and proves to take the story forward in an apt fashion but is less than satisfactory. Adjani is also a less-than-convincing narrator who, incidentally, is also Ishkq’s mother. Her expressionless style and voiceover in the parts that her character is supposed to speak Hindi proves to be, quite simply, laughable. Whilst one can understand that the actress would have been the perfect choice for the movie, it is little wonder why such a story couldn’t have made the most of an Indian talent rather than deliberately catering to include a performer who didn’t fit in with the ensemble cast.
The soundtrack of the movie is hugely average and, as expected, the inclusion of Khan in a special song is perhaps one of the highest points of the movie. The first half of the film is extremely short for a Bollywood movie and does absolutely nothing to set the scene and intrigue the audience for the second half. Perhaps the only positive thing is that expectations disappear and give way to a second half which is tonnes better than the first. Malliek and Zinta’s chemistry takes a welcome leap in the second half and Malliek really seems to come into his own. On the other hand, Zinta seems to come across as if desperately trying to keep hold of the days she was able to play a lead and hip character in ease but fails tremendously. Her bubbly self is apparent in some scenes but with such weak screenplay, this isn’t really what a viewer remembers too much.
‘Ishkq in Paris’ had the potential of romance that could have crossed both the Bollywood and Hollywood normalities and ticked boxes for both cinema styles. Instead, what one is left with is an uneasy and, in some places, excruciating watch with very little as saving grace. The fluffiness of a Parisian romance is dead before it’s even come to life but if one really wants to see what the fuss is about, it’s safe to say that Malliek emerges as the film’s real hero.
BizAsia Showbiz Rating: 1.5/5