Film Overview: 99 Songs begins with a father telling his son, “Indha ulagathula irukkara ketta pazhakkangal vyaadhigal ellathayum vida kodumayanadhu… music.”. It’s the sort of surprising assertion that makes one sit up and listen right away, particularly as a result of the movie’s story is by AR Rahman!
The son, Jay (Ehan Bhat, who appears to be like the a part of a brooding musician), is inexplicably drawn to music. As he says, “Music oru bodhai.” And the movie narrates his journey to show that music is, as one character places it, the final little bit of magic on this world. Jay’s journey to this finish is led to by his girlfriend, Sophia’s (Edilsy Vargas, who’s introduced as somebody as unique as her artwork) father, Sanjay Singhania (Ranjit Barot), who sees music extra as a commodity. When Jay tells him he needs to compose songs, he tells him that individuals who have gone in pursuit of artwork have solely ended up ignoring their households. He challenges Jay to show that one music can change the world, and the latter takes it up. However the catch… he can’t meet and even speak to Sophia till then!
It’s no shock that music is the driving power of 99 Songs. The movie is essentially narrated by songs, and director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy shoots each the scenes and the songs extra like a music video, with glossy visuals (Tanay Satam and James Cowley are the cinematographers), fast cuts, minimal dialogues (the Tamil strains are by Gautham Vasudev Menon) and shiny manufacturing design (Aparna Raina). In reality, this method can be the movie’s downside as a result of the scenes do not linger lengthy sufficient for the feelings to linger with us. The photographs fleet throughout the display, like in a dream. This method appears intentional and whereas this ensures that the surreal components within the movie do not stick out, the breathless enhancing (by Akshay Mehta and Shreyas Beltangdy) lessens the emotional affect. In reality, it makes the essential sub-plot about how Jay’s father got here to hate music really feel underdeveloped.
The non-linear narrative is difficult to the viewer, at the least initially, as a result of we do not get scenes that present an emotional anchor for us to care concerning the characters. For this reason when Jay breaks out into the songs, Sophia or Punnagai Maayai Ival, we really feel a way of one thing amiss, as a result of we neither know who Jay or Sophia is. The movie asks us to instantly purchase into this romance, however provided that this turns into one thing epic (along with the thought of a musician and a speech-challenged artist being in love, it additionally has echoes of the Ambikapathi-Amaravathi legend when you think about Jay’s journey to create 100 songs whereas staying other than Sophia), we want the movie had given us a number of scenes establishing the romance, at the least by a few the romantic songs that pepper the primary half). In reality, the arc involving Jay and Polo (Tenzin Dalha, a stable presence), his school pal, is best developed and feels way more healthful.
However then, later within the movie, we realise that greater than the romance, Rahman and Vishwesh try to make a bigger assertion, concerning the energy of music and the way it can change the world. The movie by no means lets go of this core thought, and consistently finds new methods to say this repeatedly, succeeding largely, and showing naive at instances (like within the scenes involving a politician). We even get a scene — between Jay and Sheila (Lisa Ray), a jazz singer, who helps him broaden his musical boundaries — the place music is proven as one thing sensual. And as soon as we settle into the fractured narrative rhythm of the movie, issues get higher. There are even some transcendental moments, just like the scene which exhibits how a younger Jay got here to imbibe the music from round him, and the one the place we see him play with the threads of kites imagining them to be the strings of a music instrument. And although the ultimate parts, like the start, really feel rushed, Rahman’s entrancing music and the spectacular visuals hold us glued until the top.