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99 Movie Review

With the Indian Film industry finally coming of age, it has seen many new entrants trying their luck and making films of varied taste for the niche and the discerning audience who wants something more than the usual being dished out in the name of entertainment. 

One such effort is the People Picture's 99, starring veteran actor, Vinod Khanna, Boman Irani, Kunal Khemu, Soha Ali Khan and Cyrus Brocha. It is comic thriller belonging to the genre of smart crime comedies. Handling the music department are four composers, Ashu, Roshan Machado, Shamir Tandon and Mahesh Shankar. 

Ashu (along with his partner Dhruv) was excellent in DRONA. Roshan Machado is an upcoming music director and more of a musician himself. Shamir Tandon has composed for Madhur Bhandarkar films like PAGE 3, CORPORATE etc and has already shown his capabilities as a composer. 

Mahesh Shankar is an extremely talented composer down South and has composed for films super hit films like VENNELA FLAVOURS, PRAYANAM etc. So, let's see what the collective effort of these highly talented composers has to offer.

Some lovely guitar strums and superb classical alaaps along with Raja Hassan's fresh crisp vocals heralding 'Ba adab, Ba mulaeza' commence ''Delhi Destiny''. Well, well, its not some number out to praise the Indian capital New Delhi, but one that is definitely heart warming. 

Ashu had already shown his potential as an innovative composer in DRONA and here he simply breaks all the rules as he goes in for a scintillating fusion, a classy mix of Western and Hindustani classical. The classical part in the background along with superb western rhythm is fantabulous.

The fusion part is carried forward by the DRONA lyricist, Vaibhav Modi, as he stylishly fuses simple Hindi, English, Urdu and Persian into one hilariously punchy number. So, he deserves as much accolades as the composer for making the song interesting as well as highly entertaining. 

Note all the Persian and Urdu words like 'Ba adab and Ba mulaeza', (meaning stand with respect and attention) 'Takhlia' (leave) etc are taken from the evergreen classic MUGHAL-E-AZAM and movie buffs are quite acquainted with them. The song highlights the youth power, as it effectively brings to fore their over-confident, carefree attitude and their thinking along with the camaraderie shared by the friends. 

Both the singers have done a fabulous job and their vocals gel perfectly with each other highlighting the friendship between the lead protagonists played by Kunal Khemu and Cyrus Brocha. All in all a fantastic number first up.

Rocking and rolling rhythm greets the ''Delhi Destiny Spice Mix'' by DJ Whosane! and this is one remix that should be heard as it has been tastefully done without corrupting the original.

Some nice organ sounds and lavish orchestra in the background kickstarts the 'dhamal' number ''Soch Mat Dobara'', a number more befitting the Ram Gopal Varma or Sanjay Gupta style of dark noir cinema. The song is a culmination of rap and reggae, with rap (Hindi) interludes more like conversations between the protagonists.

Although the English rap part by URL (EARL) is done in the usual style that is quite popular with lovers of Hindi film music. The style of singing by Bonnie Chakraborty underlines the tension, the suspense brought about through some purposeful hoarse vocals. 

Amitabh Bhattacharya who is ruling the charts with his ''Emosanal Attayachaar'' (and other songs from DEV D) comes up with yet another winner, although since this is more of a situational number, it would appeal more after the film hits the screen, like ''Kalloo Mama'' from SATYA. The tagline of the song, ''Soch Mat Dobara'' (Don't think twice) fits in like a glove in hand and the essence and spirit of the film is highlighted properly through the lyrics. Nice work by upcoming music director, Roshan Machado and Amitabh Bhattacharya.

As Sunidhi Chauhan croons, ''Main hoon pinjare wali muniya, Baiyaan na marod'', we were prepared for a typical 'desi mujra', but an anti-climax was in store as the song progressed. True to its title, ''What's Up'' is more of a hip hop, Western dance number and the two seasoned artists, K.K and Sundhi Chauhan come together to regale us with their superlative combined efforts. 

Composer Shamir Tandon comes of age and he composes a song more in the league of Vishal-Shekhar and new age composers. Normally a sober Shabbir Ahmed too needs to be commended for moving ahead with times and penning lyrics that are youth oriented and entertaining as well. 

Tabla and thaap sounds commence, ''What's Up Grooving Blues Mix'' by DJ Whosane! and its an apt remix with a whole lot of bongo and bead sounds accompanied by high string guitaring. It adds a good novelty value especially with all the Afrikaana reggae vocals thrown in to good effect.

With no definite plot, the film meanders to its evident end. There are a few scenes though that are well thought out and the man who stars in them is Amit Mistry. I saw him first in January in BAD LUCK GOVIND and was impressed with his talent. I had referred to him as ''a versatile, volatile performer. A good talent.'' He reinforces that belief.

Cyrus Broacha is confused. Being on the small screen for so long, he feels all gags are being done for television and ends up repeating his Bakra acts. Kunal Khemu is a lambi race ka ghoda. Boman is impressive but as confused for lack of script. Simone Singh in her bit role is endearing.

If you have been a cricket buff like me, and who lost interest in the game post-1999, you will clearly see Zulu (Lance Klusener) dropping a sitter as India needs six of the last over to win in one of the matches in 1999.

There's a close-up of the late Hansie Cronje and you wonder why Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja were the only casualties.

Just a thought!

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