Direction: C. Prem Kumar
Production: Madras Enterprises
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Trisha Krishnan, Varsha Bollamma, Aadithya Baaskar, Gouri G Kishan, Devadharshini
Music: Govind Vasantha
Cinematography: Mahendiran Jeyaraju & N. Shanmuga Sundaram
Editor: R. Govindaraj
After seeing Trisha as ‘Jessie’ in Gautham Vasudev Menon’s ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa’ and in many more romantic movies for years, it has been a great expectation that Trisha will be seen in a different character in ‘96’ pairing with Vijay Sethupathi for the first time on screen. Creating great feel with mesmerizing audio tracks, the movie was clearly understood that it will be the narration of childhood love story in the occasion when the whole school batch of ‘96’ reunites after 20 years. What will happen once the childhood lovers meet? Will they be moving on with their lives or will they lend their hearts like they were in their school time?
Ram who is a travel photographer, revisits his school in Tanjore and wishes to meet his 10th grade friends. He gets instincts of how he gone through his childhood love and why he had moved away from the love helplessly by visiting all the places in his school. He gets connected with his friends Subha (Devadharshini) and Sathish (Bagavathi Perumal), and makes them to arrange a reunion. Everyone meets up and there comes a surprise to meet his childhood love interest, Janu (Trisha) who straight away lands from Singapore, who also gets stunned back by seeing the giant bearded look of Ram which she hardly accepts to see after seeing in her childhood. Janu understands Ram to be unmarried and tries to talk to him in order to know what happened after 10th grade to transfer from the school suddenly without any clue. She was intended to know why he didn’t come back to meet her after that. Janu who is having her flight next day early morning to Singapore, stays in a Hotel for a night in which Ram drives her to Hotel in his car. What will happen when they drive back to hotel? Will they reunite with their genuine love? Will Janu leave him and move on with her life in Singapore? What would have been the reason for Ram to leave her suddenly and go without any reason? Did he try to come back after leaving her in childhood? Does the pure innocent love remains the same even after 22 years?
However creating the light touch of Cheran’s ‘Autograph’, ‘Azhagi’ and Premam at some instances, Prem Kumar has revived the past childhood love feelings of all the viewers through ‘96’. Seems like it might be stated as his own story since he is a wild life photographer, Prem Kumar’s screen play with silence between the lovers, with not having more dialogues and the bright cinematography of Mahendiran Jeyaraju and N. Shanmuga Sundaram, has made us to get into the childhood happenings in everyone’s schooling. Having more locations only to Vijay Sethupathi and fewer costumes with apt make over to Trisha, ‘96’ has proved in present Tamil movie making trend to a different level with the genre of matured romance. Innocent childish way of showing love to Trisha and Trisha reviving us to her performance with a character of naughty and bold questioning woman of ‘Mounam Pesiyudhe’, has created a charm to the entire movie. Having 157 minutes of runtime it might have been better if it is trimmed in the editing. Govind Vasantha’s music and soothing background score has influenced to have the thrill of ‘what will be happening’ till the end.
First of all to be mentioned the childhood Ram (Aadithya Baaskar – son of M S Baaskar) and Janu (Gouri G Krishna), they were apt to imitate the innocent face of Vijay Sethupathi, and bold and talkative girl look of Trisha with their extraordinary performances. Even though Janagaraj played a very small role as a watchman of the school, he has given his best in the character he has owed. Vijay Sethupathi who is a wild life and travel photographer with the rustic, rigid and dark looks, and Trisha who is the immersed with warm beauty and matured instincts, has wonderfully matched with their performances. As usual ‘Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom’ fame Bagavathi Perumal, Devadharshini and ‘Aadukalam Murugadoss’ has proved their tit bit parts connecting the two lovers in the love story. Overall the cast has made the beautiful journey and the link of love very colorfully with simple cast and characters throughout the movie.
2) Vijay Sethupathi, Trisha, Aadithya and Gouri G Krishna
3) Cinematography and Music
What doesn’t work?
1) Slow and narrative screenplay
On the whole, in the trend of portraying matured and adult cultured love in films these days, ‘96’ is a change over and trend setter of matured love stories by competing in the list of ‘Autograph’, ‘Azhagi’ and ‘Premam’.
Verdict : Can be ready to feel and get immersed in the childhood love through ‘96’!
Ratings : 5.5/10
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