I loved Kahaani while it was unspooling, but once it ended and I had all the facts of the story I was extremely unsatisfied with the way it had been set up. There was something about the tone of the truth, so to speak, as compared with that of the rest of the film, that did not work for me at all. The movie was totally gripping and exciting, and the acting and characterizations were BRILLIANT. And don't you just want to sink onto Parambrata Chatterjee's shoulder on the bus one warm, glowing, tired night and take him home with you (your motivations for doing so are your business)? But I was disappointed once everything was in place. Whether understanding the dialogue better would have changed this, I'm not sure.
The other note I want to make about Kahaani is that of any Indian film I have seen it is the most amazingly evocative in capturing, generally, what it's like to be in India and specifically to find yourself arriving in a new-to-you Indian city. I haven't spent enough time in Kolkata to comment on how the film depicted that city, but the overall feel of the film perfectly expressed much of my experience in getting into and becoming even a little familiar with a new place. The people who will instantly help you and offer you kindness, the people who refuse to answer your questions, the people who explain at length why they're doing something different than any reasonable interpretation of their self-described duties would suggest; the crowds and isolation; the noise and music; the heat, the softness, the richness of the air; the dirt, the color, the discovery (for better or worse) at every corner.
As for London Paris New York: there are far worse things to do than stare at Ali Zafar for a few hours, even in the vaguely tiresome and uninspiring context of pretty privileged twentysomethings figuring out their love lives, but my biggest pleasure in the film was experiencing a singing voice that perfectly matches the actor's speaking voice and his whole persona/character. As expressive as some actor/singer pairs throughout Hindi cinema can be, there is nothing quite like letting someone sing for himself, especially someone who has the chops and knows how to sing. It felt so fresh and different. The other highlight is some probably unintentional hilarity in the painfully awkward choreography in "Ting Rang." Perhaps it was supposed to realistically suit the setting of our hero just wandering into a pub and being fawned over and forced to dance by a group of drunk English bimbos? Whatever, just watch it and laugh. Everything else in the film is forgettable, though in a very pleasant timepass sort of way.
Now, back to Parambrata Chatterjee....