Friday, December 4, 2009

99:An Underrated Gem!

Yet another re-post - you can blame Ajnabi for these! And I've said this a million times but it still remains baffling: why isn't Kunal Khemu a major super-star?

As all the gossip rags reported, the New York Times called 99 “Funny, assured and just inventive enough.” Well, I have to agree! 99 is funny and assured and well worth seeing.

Set against a backdrop of cricket, 99 is the story of Sachin (Kunal Khemu) and Zaramud (Cyrus Broacha) – two petty crooks who also happen to be best friends. They manage to get on the wrong side of AGM-bhai (Mahesh Manjrekar) who puts them to work collecting money.

And then there is Dilliwallah Rahul (the always welcome Boman Irani). He likes to bet. One day he bets too much and Sachin and Zaramud are dispatched from Mumbai to Delhi to get the cash.

The film follows Sachin, Zaramud, and Rahul and their various money problems.

First of all, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t understand why Kunal Khemu isn’t a huge super-star already! The guy is majorly handsome; dances well; can do melodrama; romance; and has great comic timing. Why is doing art house and B-movies?! This guy should be on billboards 50 feet high!

In 99, he charms up the screen like nobody’s business!

Soha is okay as the love interest in the film. She plays a normal girl very well and that’s all that was called for in this role. Cyrus, on the other hand, is great comic relief and works very well with Kunal. I would definitely watch the two of them paired together in another film. It’s not just that Cyrus has a large… girth and Kunal is buff. Cyrus uses his large build very well to comic effect – like John Candy, he’s big but still somehow light on his feet.

Rounding out the cast was a veritable treasure trove of character actors – and Vinod Khanna in a small but pivotal role! For someone like me who is always watching the faces of the junior artistes, I really appreciated the interesting people rounded up to fill out the cast - from small time bookie Kuber and his hulking henchman Dimple to AGM-bhai’s gang and the people sitting around Rahul’s conference table.

Along with the performances, the dialogues were also very funny and the story kept me on the edge of my seat. The observational humor spouted from the Mumbai guys about Delhi was particularly funny. I don’t want to give too much away but a joke may have been made about those guys in Delhi who drive around with their windows down blasting bhangra re-mixes…

Now, I have to speak up about my love of song picturizations. I think they’ve gotten a bad rap as ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘for the proles’ or ‘un-realistic.’ Okay, so, yes, song picturizations are unrealistic but narrative by its very definition is unrealistic. Songs are enjoyable and can contribute to the narrative in a variety of different ways – from condensing character development, adding emotional resonance, or just a breathing space for the audience to process what just happened. That said, if you are not going to be giving me song picturizations, I demand a good soundtrack – like Johnny Gaddar and, thankfully, 99. So, while the songs aren’t explicitly picturized, they are very present and quite good! The soundtrack is a hybrid between some of the funkier Western genres and modern filmi songs – very enjoyable!


veracious said...

Utterly agreed. Everybody should watch this movie, it deserves to be rated among the bigger movies of 2009.

Filmi Girl said...

Woo! Let's start a campaign to get everyone watching 99!

shell said...

I tried watching this last night at my sister's but the subs wouldn't come on (my dvd for some reason didn't even have a menu) and she refuses to watch anything without subs. I'll have to give it a try by myself I guess.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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