With the release of People Picture’s 99, the great filmi depression has finally come to an end.Three cheers and a huge round of applause for that! Cinema can breathe in peace for now.99 reminded me of Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can.It isn’t as brilliant as Spielberg’s film but it does have that tinge of wickedness, one that is thoroughly entertaining and rare in Hindi cinema.99 is about match-fixing, bookies and people who spend fortunes on illegal betting.The film takes reference from the 1999 cricket match-fixing scandal to create a delightful comedy of errors.
99 is an original story inspired by real events – well, very liberally inspired – it is more fiction than fact. It is the story of two men in two cities, who are bound by a common feeling of always being stuck at ’99’. They never seem to make it to a ‘century’ – in life. It is an unpredictable and hilarious ride spread over two cities with colorful characters, unbelievable circumstances, small-time crooks, big-time conspiracies, fateful car crashes, a briefcase full of money… and a historical controversy brewing in the background!
The actors are a real asset to this film. Kunal Khemu and Cyrus Broacha are immensely successful in spicing up every frame that they occupy.Quite possibly, their characters, Sachin and Zaramud are inspired by Laurel and Hardy.Boman Irani is at his usual best and his trademark comic timing is visible throughout the film.Mahesh Manjrekar, Soha Ali Khan, Simone Singh and yesteryear-actor Vinod Khanna essay their roles with ease.That said, the biggest scene-stealer of 99 is a relatively less known actor called Amit Mistry.His delectable act as the flashy Delhiite and his hilariously awkward English dialogues will entertain you completely, thanks to the crisp dialogues by Sita Menon, Chintan Gandhi and Raja Sen.
If you are tired of the clumsy, slapstick humour that Bollywood churns out so frequently, then 99 is for you. Highly recommended to all those film buffs who yearn for a good entertaining comedy. I’m honestly thrilled that those unbearable ‘sex comedies’ are finally losing steam in the film business.