Film: 99 Songs
Director: Vishwesh Krishnamoorty
Cast: Ehan Bhat,Edilsey Verghese
Ratings 4 stars
A constant tune plays in his head, makes him restless, he senses music all around him, in nature, in his surroundings, in isolation and at gatherings. As a little boy, he charged towards his window, every time a wedding band passed by. He wandered on the street, followed a flute player, observed his moving fingers on the bamboo stick. He was drawn to the sound of the mridung and rushed to make it in time for the aarti, attracted to the sound of Sufi song rendered in the mosque. He found peace inside the church humming with the choir.
From the beginning, little Ehan was different. On his birthday, his father escorted him to a toy shop and said he could pick whatever he liked. The little boy unearthed an old guitar hidden in the rear shelves that amused the shop keeper but the boy’s father was furious! ‘Out of all the vices in the world, melody is the worst, music is a curse in the family’ and he warned his son to stay away from it.
The child promised to obey, but melody haunted him, followed him; from the clouds, from the waves, from the clanging bells and the chirping birds in the sky. Director Krishnamoorty’s narrative unfolds amidst dry trees fluttering with orange fabric in the breeze and a little boy stringing kites onto an ancient boat parked at the seashore.
99 Songs is about music but also about imageries, of skylines, art and architecture that intermingle and dissolve into sensual frames as if the cinematographer and the composer strike a symphony in silence. The aesthetics are breathtaking and the wounds caused by distrust crackle like crystals. Pain is expressed in charcoals on canvas and when anger overtakes, melodies turn into flames.
The film is the journey of a creator and his creation, about the people who touch his life, the demons he has to fight and strangers who rekindle faith. A tutor taught him that feeling is more important than vision, another music lover said, music is truth. Ehan remembered both!
The darkest emotions, deception, drug or death unfolds like a symphony and through the maze of conflicts, Ehan finds himself. resolves that music isn’t a curse, but the only magic in this world.
99 Songs is not a regular film and the review cannot be regular. This is a cinematic, sublime experience, a must watch for all Rahman lovers and released in Hindi, Telegu and Tamil.