Kunal Khemu and Soha Ali Khan starrer Hindi film '99' has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, which has hailed its "funny and inventive" story.
The film is the only major Bollywood release after April 4 strike by the producers-distributors over the issue of revenue sharing. "Funny, assured and inventive enough, '99' is a refreshing sign that commercial Indian cinema has room in its big tent for more than one kind of storytelling," the New York Times said in its review.
Titled 'Bollywood Without the Song and Dance', the review compares '99' with American independent films, which have found commercial success but are not the usual Hollywood material. "Bollywood loves a hybrid, so there's nothing necessarily unusual about a comedy-adventure-romance-musical. But '99,' with bits of all those elements, mixes them up in a way that has more in common with American indies than with standard Hindi-movie fare," the newspaper said.
"There's a jaunty, tango-y score and a montage set to a song, but as for that great Bollywood signifier, the song-and- dance sequence, '99' basically just says no," the review said.
Boman Irani, playing a gambling addict businessman and actor Amit Mistry a Delhi operator, steal the show, it said.
"Directed by first time filmmakers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, the film favors a kind of naturalism, both in its comedy, which is character-based rather than slapstick, and in its look," the newspaper said.