'96' movie review: All about love and memories

A still from the film '96

Film: '96
Director: C Prem Kumar
Cast: Trisha, Vijay Sethupathi
Rating: 4/5

Just as the popular Kathale song from the movie predicts, ‘96 is all about love.

A strong script which is beautifully cinematographed and filled with a canorous background score that will bring out all your emotions. The debut of the Trisha- Vijay Sethupathi pairing leaves you with a smile on your face and a heavy heart, at the same time.
 
Unlike other love stories, ‘96 gives as much importance to the female lead, S Janaki Devi alias Janu (Trisha), as to the male protagonist K Ramachandran alias Ramu (Vijay).
 
Ram, a renowned travel photographer (a much-romanticised career in the recent times) visits his hometown Tanjavur. As he reaches his school where he had first met his love Janu decades ago, Ramu finds himself brimming with emotions and contacts all his school friends.
 
Through a WhatsApp group of the '96 alumni batch, they plan a grand reunion in Chennai where Ram meets Janu after 22 years. The second half of the film unfolds the reason behind their separation years ago, through emotional melodrama which revolves around the heat of moral sentiments as well as affection. 
 
While the evergreen Ilaiyaraaja songs play an interesting sequence till the climax, the songs by Govind Menon compliment the pace of the movie.
 
The well-crafted characters of bashful Ramu and dauntless Janu are conveyed through the sublime performance of both the actors. We are given a clear picture of their social backgrounds through their appearance. However, the film doesn't delve deeper in that angle. Actors  Adithya Bhaskar and Gouri G Kishan who play the roles of younger Ram and Jaanu also deserve credit for their performances.
 
You will travel with the duo down the memory lane, of their relationship and yours too.
 
The writer has decided to play with the nostalgia of school life, which is relatable. The connect will be deeper if you have ever had a high school crush. Ram’s revisit to the school, the relationship of Ram and Janu and their reunion scenes were received with applause in the theatre.

The sharp sense of wit at the right places and the importance given to minute details in every frame by the writer and the director are also remarkable.

This film is a huge relief for the Trisha, as her comeback movie, Mohini, which released in July 2018, received high criticism and was a dud in the box office. '96 is the comeback that Trisha deserves as the actor, who is 10 years senior to Vijay Sethupathy in Kollywood, plays a strong character in the movie. Her performance in this love story can be compared to her golden times in 2005-2013 including the masterpiece Vinnaithandi Varuvaya. '96 is a reminder to everyone that after all, her time on the silver screen is still not up.

The 40-year-old Vijay Sethupathy did not disappoint this time too. The 'unpopular' path he picks with directors, starting from his first commercially successful movie Pizza and realistic characters gave him the title Makkal Selvan (people’s man). ‘96 is the work of a debutant director, C Prem Kumar who made his presence felt in Kollywood through cinematography.
 
Though the supporting actors were cast well, they do not have much to do on the screen. Both the actors took the whole movie on their shoulders. 
 
Watching the Trisha-Vijay combo is entertaining, though some may feel the movie to be a bit stretched as it goes on for 158 minutes.

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'96' movie review: All about love and memories

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