Tuesday, June 23, 2009


99 isn't the funniest film of the year, nor is it always 'pure fun' as the black and red posters of the film would have us believe. It is however a smart, warm and generally amusing piece of work in the crime caper genre and is worth a watch.
The film revolves around 2 small time scamsters, Sachin (Kunal Khemu) and Zaramud (Cyrus Broacha), who are forced to work with the endearingly phsychotic bookie AGM (Mahesh Manjerakar). When the bookie sends our boys out to Delhi to collect payment from a congenital cricket gambler Rahul (Boman Irani), things get interesting. The money is lost, then found, then lost again and then.. err..you guessed it.. found again. The last gambit involves the gambler and the 2 crooks teaming up against a big time cricket match fixer/bookie to recover the lost money. Thrown into the mix is the scene stealing Kuber (Amit Mistry), a small time Delhi bookie to whom Rahul owes money..(is there anyone in the film that he does not?), the pretty hotel receptionist Pooja (Soha Ali Khan), who wants to break out on her own, preferably to open her own coffee shop, much like Sachin, the disconsolate Mrs. Rahul (Simone Singh), who has walked out on her husband because of his compulsive gambling habit and the big boss of the cricket match fixing game, JC (Vinod Khanna), who desperately wants to beat Rahul at cards after having lost to him earlier.
Things take some time to pick up here, so don't expect a laugh riot from the word go. The first hour is spent etching out the characters and their motivations. Its towards the middle of the film that the real action starts with the boys reaching Delhi. Not to say that the film is beyond flaw. The romantic track involving Sachin and Pooja is totally unnecessary and slows down proceedings considerably. The music isn't phenomenal either, with only the song 'Delhi Destinty' being airplay worthy. Direction wise, the debutantes Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK are pretty good and the film is well shot, slick and well packaged. But its the actors that come up trumps here, with natural performances from Khemu, Irani, Mistry and Manjerakar. Khanna is functional while Khan is adequate. Broacha is perhaps the only weak link this ensemble, but shows significant promise in some scenes. One wonders why there was a need to further pad-up an already XXL Cyrus?

Time well spent, this film. Watch.



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