Movie: 99 Songs
99 Songs Cast: Ehan Bhat, Edilsy Vargas, Manisha Koirala, Lisa Ray, Tenzin Dalha
99 Songs Director: Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy
While Hollywood has given us films around music, loss and redemption like Mr Holland’s Opus, Sound Of Metal and La La Land, when we talk of Bollywood, we do not have movies that instantly come to our mind. Of course, we have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Khamoshi and something like Saaz. So when we hear of a story about music, healing, redemption and love being written by none other than AR Rahman, our expectations are instantly sky-high. The film is his debut production and stars Ehan Bhat in the lead role of a singer-composer. Does the film leave an impression? Well, here is our review of the same…
Scroll down for my full 99 Songs review…
What’s it about
Jay (Ehan Bhat) is an aspiring musician. He has had a troubled relationship with his father when it comes to his passion. In college, he finds the love of his life in Sophia Singhania, the daughter of a tycoon. But we see the classic rich girl meets poor boy scenario with the girl’s dad putting forth an impossible condition. Will Jay succeed in achieving his goals and winning Sophia for life? Going forth, we see the trials of Jay’s life and how music heals him.
Check out the 99 Songs trailer here
The biggest highlight of the film is the music. AR Rahman’s compositions do complete justice to the emotions of the movie, which are quite diverse. O Aashiqa, Sophia and the jazz number is great. Now coming to the leads, Ehan Bhat does a commendable job as a newbie. He has a role that requires a range of emotions and he manages to deliver his best. The young man looks a lot like Barun Sobti and has a vulnerability that translates on screen. Edilsy Vargas looks gorgeous but does not leave the same impression as a tormented young woman in love. But it is mainly due to her one-dimensional character. Tenzin Dalha as one of the most complex roles in the film, and he does well. Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy tells the story in a simple manner. He uses a lot of imagery in the film, which after a point looks boring. The cinematography by Tanay Satam and James Cowley conveys the mood of the film. The portion that documents the love story of Jay’s parents looks gorgeous on screen. Ranjit Barot is pitch perfect as the tycoon.
The biggest drawback of the film is the direction. Despite having a story with a number of elements, there is not one single impactful moment that’ll stay with you. AR Rahman’s story touches on a lot of aspects ranging from toxic relationships, racism, deceit, but the narration could have been a lot better. The love story falters at many places. In fact, it is the equation between Ehan and Tenzin’s characters that is more interesting to watch. While it manages to drive home the point that music has a tremendous healing power, the treatment is rather hackneyed.
99 Songs is a treat for any music lover. If you are upset with the rampant remixes and party songs, you will love the album even more. Ehan Bhat is also extremely watchable as Jay. If you ignore the glitches in story-telling, you can easily watch this one due to the music.
2 out of 5
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