Though there is still some more time to go before the tumultuous phase at Bollywood comes to an end, there is little respite in store with the arrival of a new movie at the least. It is Kunal Khemu and Soha Ali Khan
starrer 99 which would be seeing a release at single screens as well as multiplexes.
The film comes at the time when Bollywood is reeling under three way pressure. a) Producers v/s multiplex stand off is still on which means premier multiplex chains would have to wait for a while before films start screening there. b) Keeping aside this strike, 2009 has been a horrific year with barely a couple of movies managing to be successful at the box office. c) Recession, which showed its ugly face in 2008, has started showing its uglier side as hardly any new projects are currently being announced.
In such context, even if 99 turns out to be a moderate success, it would be some reason to cheer at least. Not that it would make much difference to Bollywood score card since this small budget film is not expected to become a 50 crore super success overnight, hence bringing in good moolah back to the industry. In fact if the film manages to bring in even 20% of the stated figure, it would be celebration time for Bollywood.
So what kind of opening are we looking at for this comic caper which also stars Cyrus Broacha along with veterans Vinod Khanna, Boman Irani and Mahesh Manjrekar. Well frankly, in spite of 99 being the first decent new film releasing after 6 weeks (8X10 TASVEER was the last film with known names that arrived before the strike took off), there aren't many expectations of an opening per se.
Moreover, promotion of the film has been below average, both on television as well as print media. Songs too haven't been popular hence not really contributing to the buzz around the movie. What surely can be mentioned though is that the talkie promo of the film looks interesting, hence promising to be on the lines of a Guy Ritchie caper. If the entire film is as slick and interesting as the theatrical promo, we may actually have a film in hand that may go on to cover some distance in days to come.
Nevertheless, from an opening perspective, it would be a win in itself for the film if it manages to touch 50% mark on Friday. Fingers crossed and here is hoping that in the second quarter of 2009, 99, which is directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, brings back some smiles into Bollywood.