Nostalgia is one of the best feelings. Memories of the good times past is what keeps us going sometimes in life. The best times in our life are the ones spent in the classrooms and corridors of our schools and colleges, where the most innocent friendships and relationships were formed. 96 is a beautiful chronicling of that nostalgia that stills wears heavy in the hearts of two people, and maybe a bit too heavily on the heart of one.
96 is like an album of memories and the characters turning over the pages slowly, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a tear and it all resonates with us. It is the relatability of 96 that makes it so loveable. It does not tell us of some outlandish improbable love story between a loafer boy and a studious girl, like we have seen in so many ‘commercial’ movies before! It is a slowly budding romance between two classmates and it is the kind that most of us would have experienced, or at least wished to have experienced in our life. It is this connect, or empathy we feel towards the couple that keeps us involved in 96 from start to finish. The growth of the romance, the reasons for them slowly parting ways is all beautifully scripted.
The best thing about 96 is the way the characters have been crafted. The casting is absolutely brilliant with everyone fitting their roles to perfection. In particular, the casting of the schoolkids, playing the younger self of Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha. The believability they bring on screen is what keeps the movie alive for most parts. Trisha’s adolescence, played by daughter of actress Devadarshini is perhaps the most endearing character of the movie. 96 is never in any hurry to introduce or give extended screen time to the major stars in its cast, it is all very organic. The school version is not hurriedly done away with, which is usually the mistake done in movies that have big stars in the waiting.
Kudos to the stars in question also who agreed to a script that gives almost equal footage an weightage to their younger versions. One is in awe of Vijay Sethupathi who continues to surprise everyone with his choice of scripts. At a time when his star is on the rise, he still shows the courage to chose scripts that do not cater to the star in him, rather nurture the actor. This is another subtle performance from him that leaves a stamp on your heart. 96 will be a movie that will definitely be remembered as one of the highlights of his career. Same with Trisha. She is not new to romantic movies, most of the her best roles have come in that genre. This will be right on top of that list. It is refreshing to see Trisha being presented in such a way, deglamorised but still very attractive.
And, it is the music by Govind Menon that turns this movie into a 3D experience – the emotions come out of the screen and touch our heart. The music is like a gentle breeze that keeps wafting across you throughout the movie; we wish to hear more form Govind Menon soon. 96 is a movie that kindles your nostalgia. Only the rarest of the rare people, who have lived closeted lifes, may not be able to connect to the emotions shown here. For all others 96 is a pleasant trip down memory lane. Take this trip is you want your memories to come gushing back to you.
A nostalgia trip that you will love!