It’s been a year and some days since 96 released, and much love has been shown to the film across social media. Facebook memories are being reposted and tweets being retweeted. And yes, the album by Govind Vasantha is playing on loop again. While delighted about all this, director C Prem Kumar, the man behind the film, is busy giving finishing touches to the Telugu version, starring Sharwanand and Samantha Akkineni, and produced by Dil Raju.
“The film is nearing completion; I should wrap it up in another 10-15 days, and the title will be decided after that. I’m glad I got fantastic performers in the form of Sharwanand and Samantha for the Telugu version as well,” says Prem.
How does it feel directing a remake within a year of the original film’s release? “It’s a chance for me to relive the sensation called 96 again. So, in my mind, it’s not a remake,” he smiles.
96, starring Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha in memorable roles, had certain scenes set in locales that lent the film its infinite charm. For instance, the bridge where Janu splashes ink on Ram, with all the love and sense of ownership she can muster as if marking him for life. “That was my familiar terrain, and I knew where I would find what I wanted. Since the Telugu version is set in Vizag, which I am not familiar with, I scouted for a couple of months before zeroing in on certain locales,” adds Prem.
Govind Vasantha’s music and Ilaiyaraaja’s songs from the 80s and 90s lent 96 its fair share of nostalgia, and lyrics by Uma Devi and Karthick Netha turned everyday thoughts into poetry. For Telugu, the team took some time to finalise the playlist of songs that Janu sings. “Now, noted poet-lyricist Seetharama Sastry is writing the lyrics because everyone felt he would be able to lend the songs the depth they need,” informs Prem.
The film has seen the team travel to Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad for the talkie portions while the underwater sequence in the opening song was shot in the Maldives and Kenya.
Main Image: IFlicks