99 creative remake of 96, says director Preetham

Ganesh-Bhavana starrer is director’s tenth film, and first remake

Bhavana and Ganesh in ‘99’, the romantic drama that hit the screens today.

Director Preetham Gubbi’s movies have always had very colourful with flamboyant themes. But now it looks like he wants to defy getting stereotyped and experiment a little more. The director is confident that he has broken fresh ground in his latest venture ‘99’, featuring actors Ganesh and Bhavana in the lead roles. The film, that released today, is a remake of highly successful Tamil film ‘96’. This is also Preetham’s 10th film as a director. In a quick chat with Metrolife, he talks about the making of the film, why he chose a remake and more. 

What inspired you to choose ‘96’ for a remake?
This is my first remake. We have taken the original as our source and have worked on our own screenplay. I loved ‘96’ as an audience. I casually spoke to Ganesh about it and asked if he would like to do it, if it is remade in Kannada. Producer Ramu also started thinking on similar lines. Since all of us were on the same page, we decided to make ‘99’. 

Was it a challenge since the original did so well?
The story is the same, but it has been shot in a different way. The casting was a big challenge because the actors in the original film had performed so well. I was confident that Ganesh would be able to pull off the character. Bhavana too is a very mature actor with vast experience. The two perfectly complement each other.  

What changes have you brought into the script? 
We have added a song and treated the scenes in a different way. We have also added a lot of humour and the made some subtle changes in the dialogues. The locations that we have shot in are also exclusive. We shot at SOB in RR Nagar and at an apartment on the 35th floor. I also enjoyed shooting on Brigade Road and MG Road. It felt like old Kannada films where actors walked down these streets. We have also shot at St Philomenia School in Puttur. It is an 80-year-old school, and I really liked it because it creates a nostalgic feel; the benches and chairs have an old feel about them. 

Ganesh and you are college buddies...
Ganesh and I met in 1999 at Adarsha Film Institute and have been together since. He was there to become an actor and I was there to become a technician. We were the last benchers. The success that he has tasted today is the result of the hard work he has put in from the beginning. 

On working with actor Bhavana... 
She is one actor I would want to direct again and again. On the sets, you would find her mugging up a four-page dialogue. And when she’s in front of the camera, she delivers her lines without a hitch. She has the perfect skills to match Ganesh’s capabilities. It was a war of emotions when they were together.
 

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