Directors: Raj Nidimoru-Krishna DK
Cast: Kunal Khemu, Cyrus Broacha, Soha Ali Khan, Boman Irani, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vinod Khanna
Storyline: Two conmen who owe money to a Mumbai-gangster are sent to recover money from a compulsive gambler in Delhi, only to lose it and try to find ways to replace it.
Bottomline: 99 per cent original but finally, it’s the ‘Snatch’ of inspired Ritchie-ness that makes the director-duo’s gamble pay off.
Well, there are 99 reasons to watch this film:
1. It’s by the guys who gave us that wonderful little film called Flavors
2. Crime+Comedy+Ensemble=Always Interesting
3. Boman Irani makes even a compulsive gambler adorably human
4. Cyrus Broacha’s improvisation show. He keeps complaining he never gets to do anything because he’s always in the loo… Or are they all out-takes?
5. Refreshingly laid-back, light-hearted storytelling
6. The smart conceal; twists towards the end. Predictable but fun
7. A dash of romantic comedy. Especially, the scene in the lift
8. The Ocean’s Eleven Master Plan vibe
9. Guy Ritchie’s interconnected motley-crew of characters
10. Tarantino-ish random conversations
11. Coen Brothers-signature of believable larger than life characters
12. Cyrus Broacha makes even running into a pole funny
13. The huge henchman called Dimple
14. It’s a period film set in 1999
15. Isn’t it funny to look back and see how we first took to mobile phones?
16. The Delhi-Mumbai divide, not milked enough for humour, but works
17. Amit Mistry’s broken English as Kuber
18. The moral of mobile phones being injurious to health played for laughs
19. Soha, a tad over-enthusiastic and deglamourised, is not so-hawt but delivers Pooja
20. The opening lines of the film
21. Mahesh Manjrekar does another variation of playing don, at his comic best
22. A wicked Vinod Khanna makes a rare appearance
23. Kunal Khemu arrives as an actor
24. Experiments with non-linearity
25. Tongue in cheek razor sharp lines – the bargain scene with Boman in the climax
26. The funky opening credits
27. Pretty Simone Singh is endearing
28. Cyrus Broacha’s makes even fat-people jokes funny
29. Delhi plays a fine supporting role
30. Catchy songs that make you forgive the Rang De Basanti hangover in picturisation
31. Etching of support characters and extras – the supercop, the bald superstar, the Bengali Foreign Exchange customer, the taxi driver, the bootlegger, et cetera
32. Clever digs at cricket and cinema
33. Audacity to mix fact, fiction and controversy
34 – 99: Has any film ever given you 33 reasons to watch it? Also, since you don’t have any other choice of Hindi films in the cinema halls, isn’t each reason is as good as three?
The one reason to not watch it:
The DVD should be out in a few weeks.
Yes, despite the reasons, 99 is an inspired fanboy tribute to crime comedies the filmmakers seem to have grown up on. Also, some of the emotional scenes overstay their welcome, slow down the already laid-back narrative and stick out sore in a film whose sense of humour ranges from physical comedy and toilet-humour to the understated and cerebral.