Bored With Typical Happily Ever After Romances; Watch ‘96 For A Change


Flashback Friday: Bored With Typical Happily Ever After Romances; watch ‘96 For A Change

Vijay Sethupathi, trisha krishnan starrer '96 is a hidden gem in the mainstream that challenges our understanding of typical school-romance, happily ever and addresses nostalgia perfectly with music.

96 is a tamil romantic drama starring vijay sethupathi and trisha krishnan in the lead roles. C. prem Kumar's directorial debut in '96 was a critic's favorite and even performed well at the box office when it was released in 2018. After the success of the film, '96 was remade in kannada as '99' and 'Jaanu'

96 Plot

96 is a story about two high-school sweethearts who are parted by chance and later unable to reconcile. Twenty-two years after their romance blooms, the two, played by Vijay Sethupathi ( ram, now a travel photographer) and trisha krishnan ( jaanu, married and settled in Singapore), meet at a school reunion. What happens thereafter and how they come to terms with their separation, the intervening years, and more is all that '96 is about.

'96 Themes

96 is nostalgic at many many levels. It plays on school nostalgia with details like the smell of classrooms, chalk, and board, desks, and the feel of winding staircases and walls with camera angles and shots that are complimented by a memorable background score. vijay sethupathi rings in this nostalgia with a simple gaze at the school gate before entering the premises or with the touch and feel of a class desk.

'96 also executes the innocence of the high-school love well. The coy encounters between the younger version of ram and jaanu and the blossoming of a romance from a friendship, are all done with minimal dialogue, voiceovers, and a great score. '96 then punches its buildup of romance by showing how the school-love is left at the school gate with life taking its due course, and the two protagonists reuniting at a reunion party after twenty-two years.

The Vijay Sethupathi, trisha krishnan film realistically portrays what happens in between as opposed to the happily ever after by giving us a glimmer of hope that perhaps things will change. Yet, as audiences you are somewhere aware that Vijay or trisha would not leave their respective lives after a majority of life has happened to fulfill the fantadata-sized happily ever after template.

'96 Music

A majority of '96 is what it is because of its music. school romance has its tuning with the background score does the reunion and what follows through the events that occur in one night. Govind Vasantha's use of minimal instruments in songs and the background score give a very real and organic feel to the entire romance drama. You cannot unmiss the music that compliments Sethupathi walking around his school campus and ringing in nostalgia with a sense of time passed by, sadness, and hope.

'96 vs Mainstream romantic Dramas

Traditionally, romantic dramas and romcoms tend to have happy endings come what may but '96 also stands out because of the maturity in the treatment of its subject.  C prem Kumar gives the audience some catharsis in the climax, when Vijay and Trisha's characters give in to their emotions and let their hands touch before finally parting at the airport, but never indulges in more than that.

No one is leaving their respective lives to bring their school romance fantasy into reality. The end credits with Sethupathi folding Trisha's clothes to keep in his suitcase as another token of memory almost breaks one's heart to see this man's purposeful attempt to not move on and live his life solely powered by a school romance that could not blossom to its desired end.

Vijay Sethupathi, and trisha Krishnan's performances in '96

Vijay Sethupathi and trisha krishnan make this romance film a mature, complex story about two people on different tangents of their lives and yet holding on to memory to get some happiness out of life. Theirs is a genuine performance. Sethupathi is versatile in personification. Anyone going back to '96 after having seen most of his recent work will be surprised by the ease with which he performs his role.


'96 is a rare gem of romance drama that treats its subject and the audience with some respect. Respect because the filmmaker is not spoonfeeding the audience and giving them a dose of the exploited happily-ever-after template. The maturity with which the school romance retains its innocence even 22 years after the two protagonists meet with no overbearing chemistry or physical tension is a lesson for many filmmakers in the genre.

Find Out More:

Related Articles: