Plot & Narration
Technical Aspects & Music
An artistic, captivating romantic musical!
96 is a lovely romantic experience that’s a rare wave in our industry. The film might seem too thin on paper, but the magic lies in how Prem Kumar creates many fantastic moments that turn out to be really cute. If you already have the push to see this film, it will not disappoint you.
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Trisha, Aadithya Baaskar, Gouri G Kishan, Murugadoss, Bagavathi Perumal, Devadarshini Neelakandan & others
Cinematography: Mahendiran Jeyaraju & N Shanmuga Sundaram
Music: Govind Vasantha
Editing: R Govindaraj
Art Director: Vinoth Rajkumar
PRO: Mounam Ravi
Written & Directed by: C Premkumar
Produced by: Madras Enterprises
Distribution: 7 Screen Studio
Release Date: 04-10-2018
Run Time: 02:37:00
After Mani Ratnam and Gautham Menon, there are barely any directors who bravely go ahead with the idea of pure romantic films in Tamil cinema. In a space where romance is only used as a tool in the first half, making a whole film on the relationship between two individuals is a risky business. But we can now hold our hope, with Prem Kumar churning out an achingly beautiful experience in 96 – an out-and-out romantic ride that largely focusses only on the exchange of emotions between two people.
For starters, 96 is a complete romantic film. This genre is almost absent in Tamil cinema, and is only popular in Hollywood with films such as Before Sunrise leading the list. But down here, the director avoids any sort of inspirations, and only concentrates on etching the characters genuinely. Keeping them rooted, he makes it so easy to connect with the characters of Ram and Jaanu. The story is narrated in two timelines – while the early days are depicted in a school setting, the present deals with a reunion of the batch. There’s a seamless integration between the two tracks, and that’s where the beauty of 96 lies – it’s so minimalistic yet so beautiful.
And this comes together because of the performances of Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi. Calling up Trisha first, because she holds this film to herself like a pot of gold, and gives it her best ever. Credit to her for making inroads into a role that needs her to play her age. With absolutely gorgeous looks, 96 is another staunch example of how the actress would do great with such mellowed characters. On the other hand is Vijay Sethupathi, who is a complete natural. His impeccable comic timing while still maintaining the class is his superpower here, and this goes into his never-ending list of solid shows. It would be a crime to go away without mentioning the actors who play the younger versions of the actors, for in this case, all the four have nailed it to the T.
96 also has a really strong pillar in Govind Vasantha’s music. There’s a sublime level of enchantment in both the songs and the background score, which never break the flow of the emotional value. His work deserves towering praise, hope that does come by after release. The cinematography too, is phenomenal in bringing us memorable frames, especially the last shot.
Toting up, 96 is a lovely romantic experience that’s a rare wave in our industry. The film might seem too thin on paper, but the magic lies in how Prem Kumar creates many fantastic moments that turn out to be really cute. If you already have the push to see this film, it will not disappoint you.