The last time I saw three Tamil movies on the big screen in three weeks was some three decades back, when I was working in Chennai. The first of these movies was the Nayantara starrer KOLEMAVO KOKILA, a quirky and hilarious dark comedy, which was on the recommendation of a good friend of mine. The second was the Mani Ratnam directed CHEKKA CHIVANTHA VAANAM, the decision to see which was solely mine, hoping that one could see the man who directed the immensely taut thriller dramas like NAAYAGAN and DALAPATHY come back to form. It wasn’t disappointing, but nevertheless, wasn’t a very satisfying experience. I chanced on 96 quite by accident, when I was reading about the new movies in town, and since it featured Vijay Sethupathy (who had performed very well in CHEKKA CHIVANTHA VAANAM) and Trisha Krishnan (who literally swept me off my feet in her portrayal in Gautam Menon’s VINNAITHANDI VARUVAAYAA) , I made up my mind to watch it. There were no reviews to refer to, since this was a new release in Tamilnadu. In 2010, when I reviewed VINNAITHANDI VARUVAAYA (Will you leave the skies for me?), I remember that it was a beautiful love story. For those interested in the review, here is the link:
96 is directed by Prem Kumar, whose maiden attempt at presenting a simple love story is extremely laudable. The movie moves slowly, and at times (particularly in the second half), when there is no background music, the director causes the silence and the expressions of Trisha Krishnan and Vijay Sethupathy to convey a myriad emotions. I do not watch Tamil movies with as much frequency as I watch Hindi movies, and therefore cannot judge as to whether it is Trisha’s and Vijay Sethupathy’s best effort, but even without making comparisons, I would rate their performances as truly outstanding.
What also comes as a big relief is that there are no raised voices, no fist fights, and no gory blood dripping scenes, no maudlin sobs, no screeching tyres, no acrobatics or jerky dance moments. Instead of that, we have real life depictions of infatuation developing between two school classmates and growing into unspoken and undeclared love. There is always pain in an unfulfilled love story, but that pain doesn’t drive the characters on a road of destruction. The reawakening of the platonic relationship which respects the current circumstances has been brought about so beautifully that it drives home the point that true love doesn’t have to end up in bed.
The music and the songs created by Govind Menon are mellifluous adding value to the narration; the supporting actors also do a fantastic job. This movie reminded me of the other soft romantic movie which I had seen earlier in this year; the Varun Dhawan starrer OCTOBER directed by Shoojit Siircar. I must caution my friends who are perpetually on missions, both possible and impossible, that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you have ever been in love, fulfilled or unfulfilled and if you like to sip and savor your tea slowly in a quiet remote place, you will get immersed in 96.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5
October 7, 2018

About The eternally happy Vijay

A cheerful person who loves watching and reviewing movies and indulges in random writings!
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