I think this will be my first review for an out and out musical. And so I have just finished watching the Hindi Film 99 Songs which is out on Netflix. A film that I was looking forward to watch in a theatre, sadly came out when theatres were already closed in Maharashtra and on the verge of closing elsewhere. The story which is penned by the music maestro AR Rahman along with a soulful soundtrack(ofcourse composed by him) is what I was looking forward to. But more importantly this was a musical and that intrigued me more. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
99 Songs follows the story of a musician who is challenged to compose a hundred songs before he can settle down with a girl of his dreams. The story is a routine love story with a few twists along the way. But the way it is showcased is nothing short of being outstanding. The screenplay is magical and meditative. There are songs that are in the narrative to describe the emotions that the main characters are going through. I cannot remember such a unique screenplay that I have watched recently. It is just a pleasant movie watching experience. The chemistry between the leads is soft and beautifully portrayed in the first hour. The proceedings are slow which allow you to absorb the emotions pretty well. Once the action shifts to Shillong, things get a move on with a few twists at the halfway mark that keep you engaged. The second half is completely meditative and in certain portions philosophical too. You are almost exported to a trance that you wish to make it your own. Certain portions of flashback give a complete picture of the story that ends in a crescendo. Very well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are excellent and add another layer of trance to the drama. The music is simy outstanding and it is the maestro who delivers yet again. Had the music been average, the movie would have fallen flat. But here it is a memorable soundtrack with an even brilliant BGM that will sooth your nerves as you find yourself absorbed into the drama. The film is visually very appealing and almost magical in the way it has been shot. Director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy had done a terrific job here. His direction is outstanding and it really transports you into another world.
Warina Hussain and Diwakar Pundir shine in their cameos as parents of Jai. Rahul Ram(from Indian Ocean) as the servant is first rate. Manisha Koirala adds a lot of star value to the film and it is always a pleasure watching her onscreen. Lisa Ray as Sheila looks gorgeous and has done a pretty good job. Tenzing Dalha as Polo is simply outstanding. I had earlier watched him in Axone and he was quite charming there. Here he has quite a layered role and he shines brilliantly. Edilsy Vargas as Sophie has done a good job here as a mute girl. She gets better particularly in the backend of the film where her role has little more substance. Ehan Bhat as Jai is subtle in a nuanced role. His stoic expressions actually work well here and he definitely leaves his presence felt.
99 songs is magical and meditative with a soulful soundtrack. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.