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99 May 18, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Thanks to the Film Producers-Multiplex Owners stand-off, there hasn’t been any new Bollywood offering for a while now. Citing the relevance of it being released during the IPL season, the producers of 99 somehow managed to get it out. 99 claims to be the the “coolest crime comedy of the year” – a claim which it admirably lives up to. I noticed that in a few reviews/articles about this film, the directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK have been mentioned as debutants. For those who are not aware, a few years back these guys made a wonderful “crossover” film called Flavors which you should definitely watch. Their latest effort just proves that they are here to stay.

The basic narrative of 99 is similar to Guy Ritchie’s caper flicks – so you have people chasing money, people chasing other people and money jumping places before everyone finally gets what they deserve. The crime backdrop in this one centers around betting and match-fixing in cricket – that’s why it is set in the year 1999. A rather interesting insight which the film constantly seems to allude to are the nascent birth of now ubiquitous pop cultural phenomenon like mobile phones, the Internet, Coffee shops and Bhojpuri Films! 99 is smartly scripted with great humor and unlike similar themed flicks is a lot more believable as there is quite a bit of time devoted to detailing individual characters and their actions. Some have complained about the long runtime resulting because of this but I had absolutely no problems with it.

Most importantly, the primary reason everything in this film works so well is its delectable cast. Kunal Khemu and Boman Irani have the greatest screen time and are delightful. The former is also looking quite good sans his long locks. Mahesh Manjrekar as the local gangster AGM impresses once again – this is the only kind of role he seems to excel in effortlessly. Cyrus Broacha is quite hilarious with his usual brand of humor. Despite having short parts Vinod Khanna and Soha Ali Khan are very impressive. The best accolades should however be reserved for newcomer Amit Mistry who never fails to bring the house down. His scene with Kunal (a glimpse of which is seen in the promos) is the highpoint of the movie.

Technically too the film looks good. The musical score (Roshan Macado, Mahesh Shankar, Shamir Tandon) suits the tone of the film perfectly. The title sequence seemingly inspired from Watchmen is also quite catchy. Going by Bollywood standards 99 is an almost flawless work which is immensely entertaining and equally clever – go for it!

Happy Days November 11, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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It has turned out to be his biggest box office success till date but I consider Sekhar Kammula’s “Happy Days” to be his least accomplished work….which does not mean that it’s a bad film. It just didn’t strike a chord with me unlike his previous films.

Supposed to be a nostalgic look at the director’s own happy days at his alma mater CBIT, the plot is about a group of friends and the time they spend together during their 4 years of college. More specifically, one half the film deals with their first year and the interaction with their seniors while the other is about their heartaches and strained relationships. It is the first half which I found quite disappointing and that’s what gave me a less favorable impression of the movie as a whole. The complete handling of the juniors vs seniors thread (except for the senior guy falling for the junior girl angle) is very juvenile. All you have in it is a guy (the character Tyson) who concocts unbelievable stuff in his lab to trouble his seniors. This part really put me off. It was seriously unfunny and unrealistic to say the least…and especially coming from a director of Kammula’s stature. However, he is is in familiar territory when it comes to handling the interactions with his lead pairs. It does remind you of his previous films Anand and Godavari but nevertheless pleasant to watch.

What works most for this film is the fresh cast and the musical score. Sandesh and Tamanna stand out among the cast and the way they emote is excellent. I however had a hard time listening to Rahul (who plays Tyson) speak (but I must admit that in real life I have come across people who speak like that). Mickey J Meyer’s score is brilliant. It is an understatement to say that this film would have felt half as good without it.

One of the main reasons I could not appreciate this film as much as others have is because personally there was hardly anything I found here which I could relate to my own college life. I am sure others would have different perspectives and that’s probably why it is still running to packed houses even weeks after its release. On the whole, this is a film which has its moments and is definitely watchable but it would do good not to go and see this with high expectations.