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96 is a 2018 Indian Tamil-language romance drama film written and directed by C. Premkumar , starring Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha.[2] The film was produced by S. Nanthagopal for Madras Enterprises and features a score and soundtrack composed by Govind Vasantha. Mahendiran Jayaraju and N. Shanmuga Sundaram handled the cinematography and R. Govindaraj edited the film, while the costumes were designed by Subhashree Karthik Vijay.

96 ..
96 Tamil poster.jpg
Directed byC. Premkumar
Produced byS. Nanthagopal
Written byC. Premkumar
Music byGovind Vasantha
  • Mahendiran Jayaraju
  • N. Shanmuga Sundaram
Edited byR. Govindaraj
Madras Enterprises
Distributed bySeven Screen Studio Khafa Exports (Overseas)
Release date
  • 4 October 2018 (2018-10-04)
Running time
152 minutes
Budget18 Crores[1]

The film was released on 4 October 2018 to critical acclaim, with praise for its screenplay, direction, music and the performances of the two leading actors and subsequently became a sleeper hit. It is remade in Kannada as 99 by Preetham Gubbi with Ganesh and Bhavana in the lead.[3] The film is also being remade in Telugu starring Sharwanand and Samantha Akkineni in the lead roles.


Ramachandran aka Ram (Vijay Sethupathi) is a travel photographer. He visits his high school and is overcome by memories. So, a reunion is arranged through their school WhatsApp group. At the reunion, his friends Murali (Bagavathi Perumal), Subhashini (Devadarshini) and Sathish (Aadukalam Murugadoss) catch up with him. Murali hesitantly mentions that Jaanu (Ram's childhood sweetheart) is coming from Singapore.

In 1996, Ram and Jaanu have been friends and classmates in 10th grade. Jaanu is a talented singer. Ram develops a love for Jaanu and she reciprocates. Once their board exams are over, they have a moment with each other where Jaanu asks him not to forget her until they meet again after the holidays.

Jaanu (Trisha) arrives at the reunion and searches for Ram. When Subha points Ram's location to her, Jaanu walks towards him. She reminisces the first day of 11th grade when she eagerly awaits Ram's arrival to the classroom, but he doesn't show up. She finds that Ram has left the school because his father had financial difficulties and his family relocated to Madras overnight. Jaanu is inconsolable and pines for Ram until she completes school.

Ram and Jaanu finally meet and find it uncomfortable to interact with each other, but gradually get along. Their friends talk about Jaanu's married life in Singapore and disclose that Ram is still single and has not moved on. After the reunion party, both go out on a drive. Jaanu reveals how she could not forget Ram and would have traded anything just to have met him once back then. She narrates how circumstances forced her to get married to someone else. Then, Ram asks Jaanu if she really does not remember the day he came to her college to meet her. Ram says that he and Murali waited in front of Jaanu's college to meet her and passed on a message through a student. Surprisingly, Jaanu refused to meet Ram and forbade him to contact her again. He returned sadly and never tried to meet her since then. Jaanu is devastated listening to this and reveals that she never saw them at her college and thought it was her stalker who was troubling her. Ram tells that except for the mistake of assuming that she hated him, he knew everything about her life. He also tells about seeing her from afar at her wedding. Jaanu is heartbroken because she felt his presence and expected him to come for her until the last minute. Both feel sad about their misfortune and finally come to terms with everything that happened in their lives. Jaanu expresses her desire to spend the final few hours with Ram before she catches the flight back home.

They go out into the city and then to a restaurant and catch up on more memories. There, they meet Ram's photography students who assume Jaanu is his wife and request her to share their story. Jaanu obliges and narrates an improvised version of the time when Ram tried to meet Jaanu at her college. She tells about how they finally met and made up and have been together ever since and got married. Ram feels awkward but tries his best to play along. The students leave and Ram and Jaanu get wet in the rain. So he asks her to visit his apartment to freshen up.

At his apartment, Jaanu is visibly upset that Ram does not have a love life and requests him to move on and get married and have a family. She finally sings Ram's favorite song for him, a song that she had purposefully avoided singing in school in spite of his repeated requests. Ram shows Jaanu a collection of their old memories like love poems, dried flowers and their school uniforms. They realize that time is running out and go back to Jaanu's hotel to get ready for her flight in a few hours. Jaanu is sad knowing that she will leave Chennai and Ram very soon. At the airport, Ram escorts her till the boarding gate and they bid a teary farewell. Jaanu then gets into the flight and leaves.

Back at his home, Ram finds Jaanu's clothes that he had put to dry the previous night. He folds them neatly, puts them along with his treasured collection of school memories and shuts the suitcase.



In October 2016, it was first reported that Trisha had agreed to be part of a project opposite Vijay Sethupathi that was to be directed by cinematographer C. Prem Kumar of Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom fame.[4][5] Two months later, Trisha announced the project via her Twitter and revealed the title as 96.[6]

From May 2017, Prem Kumar first talked about the film, telling that Vijay Sethupathi would play the role of a travel photographer,[7] and that the film revolved around "characters who belong to the same batch – 1996", revealing the meaning of the film's title.[8] Prem Kumar had written the entire script in 20 days in December 2015 during the Chennai floods when he was stuck in his apartment.[9] According to Prem Kumar, the inspiration for the story came from his high school reunion. He missed the reunion but when talking to his classmates who attended the function he became fascinated about two people they were speaking about and began meeting the two and developing a story around their characters.[9] The film's story was originally supposed to happen over a week, before the time span was changed to 24 hours, and eventually to a night.[9]

The first-look poster was released on 14 February 2017, coinciding with Valentines Day. The technical team includes cinematography by N. Shanmuga Sundaram who also did Aandavan Kattalai, music by Govind Vasantha, edit by R. Govindaraj, art work by Vinoth Raj Kumar and lyrics by Uma Devi and Karthik Netha.[10] The crew was then looking for suitable actors to play the younger versions of Sethupathi and Trisha's characters,[11] which delayed the commencement of principal photography.[12] The team eventually selected Aditya Bhaskar, son of actor M. S. Bhaskar, and Gouri Kishan for the roles, both making their acting debuts with 96.[13] Devadharshini's daughter, Niyathi Kadambi, is playing the younger version of her role. Subhashree Kaarthik Vijay, who was recruited as the costume signer, was a close friend of Prem Kumar and created the look of the lead female character Jaanu based on her own style.[14][15]

The film finally entered production on 12 June 2017 at Kumbakonam.[16]


Soundtrack album by
Released24 August 2018
Studio20 db studios, Seed Studios, Rajiv Menon Studio
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelThink Music
ProducerGovind Vasantha
Govind Vasantha chronology
External audio
  Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The score and soundtrack were composed by violinist-turned-composer Govind Vasantha. 96 was just the third Tamil film he had worked on as a composer and the second to get released, because of the delay of his maiden project Oru Pakka Kathai. The album, featuring eight tracks, was released on 24 August 2018.[17] The lyrics were written by Karthik Netha and Uma Devi. Think Music India acquires the audio rights of the film.

The song "Kaathalae Kaathalae", which was featured in the first 1-minute teaser, was a slower, "ambience version" of a part of the "Anthaathi" song that Govind had produced because "he was in the mood" but was not meant to be included in the film or the soundtrack album.[18] When the teaser song went viral, Govind Vasantha worked on it and made a 3-minute song that went on to be featured in the album as well as in the film. Chinmayi sang all the female portions in the songs since she also dubbed for the lead female character Jaanu, while Gouri TP, who spoke dubbing for younger Jaanu, sang the song "Yean" which features younger Jaanu on screen.[19] A poetry written by Prem Kumar was added by Govind Vasantha to the end of "Anthaathi", which was recited by actor Nassar although he did not act in the film.[9] "Anthaathi", considered the "central piece of the 96 album", was composed for promotional purposes and not used in the film.[20]

A reviewer from The Indian Express wrote, "Govind Vasantha creates a soundtrack that leaves me bereft of adjectives to describe how beautiful it is. Govind gives us an eclectic yet symbiotic soundscape, a soundtrack that brims with emotion that touches your soul. There’s love, heartbreak, melancholy, questions, silence and of course love".[21] Surendhar MK of Firstpost wrote, "at a time when Tamil music scene continues to be dominated by EDM-laden pieces and heavily auto-tuned vocals, the OST of 96 comes as a breath of fresh air that touches the soul and mind quite effortlessly with Govind Vasantha's rejuvenating compositions. It would definitely not be an overstatement to call 96 the best Tamil soundtrack of 2018".[22] Sharanya CR of The Times of India wrote, "Govind Vasantha gives us one of the best albums of this year and sets a benchmark for romance in Kollywood".[23] wrote, "Govind Vasantha (formerly Menon) finally gets his well-deserved big break in Tamil, and knocks it right out of the park!", giving it a score of 4.5 out of 5.[24] Karthik from called it "easily the best Tamil soundtrack of the year (yet)".[25] as did Siddharth K. from Sify who also called it "one unique musical experience".[26] In contrast, Archana Nathan of wrote that "barring a few instances of brilliance, the rest of the soundtrack does not leave much of an impression".[27]

1."The Life of Ram"Karthik NethaPradeep Kumar05:54
2."Yean"Karthik NethaGowri TP02:24
3."Vasantha Kaalangal"Uma DeviChinmayi04:56
4."Thaabangale"Uma DeviChinmayi, Pradeep Kumar03:58
5."Iravingu Theevai"Uma DeviChinmayi, Pradeep Kumar03:41
6."Kaathalae Kaathalae" (Version 1)Karthik NethaChinmayi, Govind Vasantha03:13
7."Anthaathi"Karthik NethaChinmayi, Govind Vasantha, Bhadra Rajin (Carnatic portion) Chorus and M. Nassar07:15
8."Kaathalae Kaathalae" (Version 2)Karthik NethaChinmayi, Kalyani Menon, Govind Vasantha03:13

Marketing and releaseEdit

The first look of the film was released on 22 December 2016 by actress Trisha herself on Twitter.[28] Shortly after the launch of the film, Sun TV bought its broadcasting rights.[29] The first-look poster was unveiled on 14 February 2017, coinciding with Valentines Day.[10] A 1-minute teaser was released in July 2018 and the trailer of the film was launched on 24 August 2018.[30]

96 had a press screening for critics on 1 October 2018,[31] while the theatrical release took place on 4 October. A month after its release and the successful run, Sun TV had a television premiere during Diwali celebration. This has caused the public, including actress Trisha and director Premkumar requesting the channel to postpone the telecast. Despite that, the channel went ahead with the premiere.[32]

The film's Hindi dubbed version will soon be released on YouTube by Goldmines Telefilms in 2019[33].


Critical responseEdit

Anupama Subramaniam of Deccan Chronicle, who gave the film 3.5 stars out of 5, was in high praise of director Prem Kumar as she wrote that he had "not made a film, but woven pure and impeccable poetry on celluloid", going on to add that "Prem's honest attempt of portraying the true essence of love without taking any cinematic liberties makes 96 the kind of genre-defining film that creates a benchmark for many years to come", while hailing Trisha's performance as her "best-ever...till date".[34] IANS gave it a rare 5 stars out of 5 and said, "as we get to the climax and we get one of the most heartwarming moments of the film, it makes 96 a highly satisfying story of unfulfilled romance".[35] Behindwoods called 96 a "breezy and heartwarming romantic tale that Tamil cinema audience shouldn't miss".[36] Sify named it "one of the best films in a long time", while giving it a 4 rating out of 5.[37] Janani K. of India Today gave it 4 stars out of 5 and called it a "poignant romantic tale" and a "tribute to unconditional love".[38] Mythily Ramachandran of Gulf News called the film "a classic love story that will be fondly remembered".[39]

Sreedhar Pillai of Firstpost called the film a "refreshingly fresh romantic trip down the memory lane with outstanding performances by its charming lead pair".[40] M. Suganth of The Times of India gave it 3.5 stars out of 5 and said that "there is a lot to fall in love with 96, a wistful romantic film about a past romance...But what sets Prem Kumar's film apart from the others is that it gives equal importance to the romance of its female lead".[41] Vikram Venkatesen of The Quint wrote "‘96 has very well changed Tamil romance for good, thanks to its high dependence on music and realism in conveying nostalgia".[42] Priyanka Thirumurthy of The News Minute wrote, "the film’s screenplay is gripping. It has you on the edge of your seat for what are seemingly the most inane activities – school attendance, conversations over coffee and even a ride in the metro".[43] Sudhir Srinivasan of The New Indian Express felt that 96 was a "fascinating film, a fascinating idea, I loved a bit too much, not to care about the[se] missteps. It needed to be a bit more bitingly real" but concluded that "yet, 96, no doubt, works".[44] Baradwaj Rangan wrote, "The only problem is the slump in the second half...But the premise is so affecting, it keeps us invested" and concluded, "I walked out of the film satisfied that whatever Ram and Janaki decide to make of their future, his ink-splattered shirt from school and the dupatta of her uniform will live together, happily ever after".[45]

96 was frequently named one of the best films of 2018 and listed on many top ten lists.[46][47][48][49][50]


Date of ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
16 December 2018 Behindwoods Gold Medal Best Debut Actor (Male) Aadhitya Bhaskar Won [51]
Best Debut Actor (Female) Gouri G Kishan Won
Voice of the Year (Female) Chinmayi Won
Best Music Director Govind Vasantha Won
5 January 2019 Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards Best Actress Trisha Won [52]
Best Playback Singer — Female Chinmayi Won
Best Lyricist Karthik Netha Won
Best Debut Actor Aadhitya Bhaskar Won
Best Crew 96 Won
25–28 April 2019 Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards Best Film S. Nanthagopal Nominated [53]
Best Director C. Prem Kumar Nominated
Best Actor Vijay Sethupathi Won
Best Actress Trisha Won
Best Music Director Govind Vasantha Nominated
Best Lyricist Karthik Netha Won
Best Playback Singer — Female Chinmayi Won
Best Dubbing Artist Chinmayi Nominated
Best Production 96 Nominated
Director Balumahendra Award C. Prem Kumar Nominated
17 February 2019 Edison Awards Best Film S. Nanthagopal Pending [54]
Best Actress Trisha Pending
Best Supporting Actor — Male Bagavathi Perumal Pending
Best Character Role — Female Devadarshini Pending
Best Playback Singer — Male Pradeep Kumar Pending
Best Playback Singer — Female Chinmayi Pending
Best Debut Director C. Prem Kumar Pending
Best Debut Music Director Govind Vasantha Pending
Best Debut Actor Adithya Bhaskar Pending
Best Debut Actress Gouri G Kishan Pending
Mass Hero of the year Vijay Sethupathi Pending
16 August 2019 SIIMA Awards Best Film 96 Nominated [55]
Best Actor in a Leading Role - Male Vijay Sethupathi Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role - Female Trisha Won
Best Music Director Govind Vasantha Nominated
Best Lyric Writer Karthik Netha Nominated
Best Playback Singer - Male Pradeep Kumar Nominated
Best Playback Singer - Female Chinmayi Nominated
Best Debutant Actor - Male Adithya Bhaskar Nominated
Best Debutant Actor - Female Gauri G Kishan Nominated
Best Debutant Director C Prem Kumar Nominated

Plagiarism controversiesEdit

In late October 2018, a month after 96's release, Suresh, an assistant director of Bharathiraja, alleged that he had written a script called 92 and that 96 was based on his own script.[56] Few days later Prem Kumar hosted a press conference and said that he had registered his script in 2016 and also added that he had written a spin-off novel of what happens to the lead character afterwards.[57] The film was also reported to have "uncanny similarities" with the 2016 film Blue Jay,[58] with Prem Kumar admitting to it, although he added that he had already registered his film before Blue Jay released.[32] Director R. Chandru had accused that the movie had similarities with his 2013 movie Charminar.[59]


Bengaluru-based Tamil writer C. Saravanakarthikeyan wrote a book based on the film titled 96 – Thanipperum Kadhal, which was released by Prem Kumar by late December 2018.[60] Inspired by the film, Gulbonda, a Calicut-based art studio created dolls based on the film's two main characters, Ram and Jaanu, which became sought-after by fans and saved the then newly launched startup company.[61] The yellow kurta outfit worn by Trisha's character Jaanu became popular after the film's release and was sold by a textile store in Chennai.[14][15]


96 is remade in Kannada as 99 by Preetham Gubbi with Ganesh and Bhavana essaying the lead pair,[62] while Dil Raju has bought the Telugu remake rights.[63] This version also directed by Premkumar stars Sharwanand and Samantha Akkineni in leading roles with Gouri G Kishan reprising her role as Younger Janu.


  1. ^ "'96': The total budget of the movie was only Rs 18 crore, and it achieved more than that in its first week at the box office". Times Now News.
  2. ^ "Vijay Sethupathi-Trisha film titled `96`?". 15 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  3. ^ "'99': The shooting of the Kannada remake of '96' begins today - Times of India". The Times of India.
  4. ^ "Trisha to team up with Vijay Sethupathi in his next : Celebrities, News – India Today". 22 October 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  5. ^ "vijay sethupathi-trisha: Now, Trisha in a film with Sethupathi". 22 October 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Trisha: Trisha reveals the title of her next with Bijosh Panaparambil". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  7. ^ "What is Vijay Sethupathi's role in 96?". 2 May 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Vijay Sethupathi: Vijay Sethupathi plays a travel photographer in '96 | Tamil Movie News – Times of India". 2 May 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
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  29. ^ "Sun TV bags Trisha's 96 - Times of India". The Times of India.
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  32. ^ a b "'96 is a hit film. That's all matters'". 6 November 2018.
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  54. ^ "12th Annual Edison Awards".
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External linksEdit