Quickview: '96 The Movie

by Rinku Gupta

Not everyday do you come across a love story so refreshing and breathtaking in Indian cinema as Director Premkumar 's '96.

The story is simple. A reclusive photographer Ramachandran ( Vijay Sethupathi) happens to re-discover his school in Thanjavur during one of his several travels. This opens up a pandora's box of memories with Ram calling up his best school day buddies in a moment of nostalgia. The result is that they decide to all meet up and  a school reunion is soon organised for the class of 96 in Chennai.

At the grand reunion at a resort, who should walk in last, all the way from Singapore, but Janaki ( Trisha) who had once been the love of the adolescent Ram's life.  As the duo meet after 22 long years,we get to discover with them, a journey that takes us back and forth in Time, tracing the innocent but powerful love of these 2 individuals.

Without revealing spoilers ( for the movie is  experience in which each moment is to be savoured ) suffice it to say that the one evening stretching into the wee hours that  they spend together, will make you laugh, cry, smile, feel regret and hope all at the same time.

Do these lost lovers meet? What caused them to separate? How do they feel for each other after 22 years of separation, will they ever unite, forms the story.

The sound and music is exemplary, matched equally with the camerawork. Watch put for the introduction shots of Sethupathi.

Sethupathi carries off every  nuance of his role,  of the shy Ram holding a love so deep for decades, in a delicately balanced act fine-tuned  right down to the smallest look, smile and body movement.

For Trisha, its among her career best performances especially in the emotional  scenes. The yearning , the regret  and yet the dignity she displays are well brought out. The youngsters  who play thier school-going counterparts are highly talented , making us feel every heartbeat, every emotion of thier discovery  of love. In fact each student actor seems to have been carefully chosen to fit their role to a T.

Director Premkumar's unusual climax scene , his handling of the power, intensity and innocence of true love is so refreshing and beautiful, that it can melt even the most hardened of hearts.

 96 is a love story that will make you scramble for your school yearbook, old photo albums and  reach out to your old friends. A movie that leaves a lingering smile and a tear...96 easily tops the list of  best films of the year.
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