96 movie review
There is a nervous energy among the audience throughout the movie somewhat reflecting one of the lines from the film.
“Something wrong won’t happen, right?”
Delivered by one of the best friends of the lead pair as she looks at them.
96 is about a school reunion for the batch of year 1996. Ram (Vijay Sethupathi) is a single, 35 year old travel photographer. He seems to be enjoying his solitude lifestyle but one day on a whim he decides to visit his school.
Thus begins the movie with all the friends from the 96 batch deciding to hold a reunion. The story moves between 2016 and 1996 where we see younger versions of the same batch mates. Ram has a girl he likes in his class, Janu. He realizes that he more than likes her at one point and there begins his first love. He turns jittery, shy and silent around her so much so that three people hold him down make him talk to her.
Janu is quite bold and clear headed than Ram as she lets him know that she too is fond of him without as many words. But their high school love comes to an end without actually coming to an end.
22 years later, Janu walks into the reunion and Ram turns back into his jittery old self. Janu is now married, has a daughter and is settled in Singapore. To their best friends the sparks are visible as they lament to each other if the old sweethearts are going to pick up right where they left.
Mirroring these lines Ram too says to Janu later on that he is standing right where he left her ( where he dropped her but the meaning holds) We see them spend their limited time together as they discuss why they never happened. They are reluctant inwardly to let go of each other but they both have to.
There is a pain reflected in Ram’s eyes without shedding any tears and once again Vijay Sethupathi proves his mettle as one of the best actors of our time. Trisha as Janu delivers a very powerful performance. You feel for her at the very end when at her arms length she has her ‘what can never be.’
The actors playing their younger versions too are pretty good where as the adult friends from their reunion are hilarious.
The school scenes will take just about anyone back to their memories of first love. The music is hauntingly beautiful and this film has some beautiful visuals too.
The movie is simply about a single day but it has so many complex components. Solely about love and probably one of the most uncliched Tamil movies in recent history.
I’ll rate it 4.5/5
Enjoy it in theater.