Prem Kumar asserts 96 Telugu remake will retain school portions

Deccan Chronicle.  | Anupama Subramanian

Entertainment, Kollywood

The shooting is likely to commence by end of February.

Still from ‘96

Director Prem Kumar, debuting in Tollywood with the remake of his breezy, romantic Tamil drama 96, quashes rumours that the Telugu version will not have the well-worked school portions and instead it will have college episodes.

As first reported by this newspaper, Tollywood actor Sharwanand would be reprising the role of Ram, made memorable by Vijay Sethupathi in Tamil 96, in the T'wood version. This was officially revealed by the filmmaker Dil Raju. The wait for who would work in place of Trisha who gave a striking performance in Tamil is also over. Samantha Akkineni has been roped in to play the female lead of the remake.

The filmmaker went on to say, “People have been spreading rumours like this. There is not an iota of truth in reports claiming that the Telugu remake of 96 would explore college episodes instead school portions. The very essence of 96 was the emotional romantic journey from school. Even as Dil Raju sir bought the remake rights, we decided to just replicate the same theme with few nuanced changes to suit Telugu nativity. He wanted a notch higher than Tamil  film and is all out to make it happen,” Prem Kumar told this newspaper.

Talking about the rest of the cast who would be the batch mates of the lead pair and the younger version of Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi, the director says, “We are looking at various options. First, we want to finalise the four main friends characters and later would go for actors who would match up in school episodes.”

The first time director could extract the best not only from the lead pair of Sethu and Trisha but also from everyone including Gowri, Adithya Bhaskar and Devadarshini who were part of the film. “That was possible because I don't enact any scene. I just told them the mood of the scene and let them be free to get into that feel and portray it. Perhaps that worked wonders.”

And in all probability, Govind Vasantha's brilliant music, one of the main stays in 96 will be making his debut in Tollywood with the remake. The shooting is likely to commence by end of February. While the city reunion part will be shot in Hyderabad, the school portions would be canned in a government school somewhere in Rajahmundry or outer portion of Vizag, an inside source adds.