The magic of Tamil blockbuster 96, starring Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha has spread like wildfire. The romantic drama about reunion, which gets nostalgic, was an instant hit. So much so, the film is being now remade in a couple of languages. While the Telugu rights were bought by Dil Raju Production, the Kannada rights have been bagged by Ramu Enterprises.
And going by the latest development, Ganesh will step into the shoes of Vijay Sethupathi under Preetham Gubbi’s direction. With the Kannada version titled 99, the team has already begun the prep work by recording the songs with music director Arjun Janya. He will be scoring seven songs for the film. So far only one other technician — Santhosh Rai Pathaje — has come on board.
It may be recalled that there have been reports of Ganesh and Preetham associating, for sometime now. In fact, the director was scripting a film that was titled Mareyuva Munna. In a telephonic conversation with CE, Preetham says the sudden change in plan came about after he watched the Tamil flick 96 and liked it. “I had only Ganesh in mind, whom I thought would fit the role best. I watched the film with him again and he also like the idea. Both of us felt that it is a feel good film, and one that was relatable. Since producer Ramu had the rights, he suggested that if I was interested, we could associate. That’s when I called Ganesh, and after that everything fell in place,” he explains.
While Preetham has directed nine films, this is his first attempt at a remake. “I don’t know anything other than cinema, and when I watched 96, I felt that I should make a film like that. But even then, I never thought I’d make a remake. When Ramu contacted me and asked whether I watched 96, and suggested we make it in Kannada, I knew destiny had a role to play,” he says, adding, “99 will have a fresh take but will retain the soul of 96.”
“We have taken the rights of the screenplay, but the music and other elements will be entirely new. The film—revolving around two people and their emotions— is told through its music. We are making sure that it has an audience connect,” says the director, who is working on giving Ganesh a different look for the film.
With Tamil film, 96 having been premiered on television recently, and audience having taken a liking to it, Preetham realises the challenge ahead of him. “It is not new, and we are aware that people watch films of other languages. I believe that when a script is good, it works. I am doing this for two reasons - we liked the film, and Ganesh will definitely do justice to his role. These, makes me confident of presenting the film to the audience,” says Preetham.
According to the director, Ganesh will start off with Geetha, and after completing a schedule or two, he will start shooting for 99. “We are planning a 40-day shoot schedule at a stretch,” says Preetham, who, along with the producers, have even fixed the release date. “The shooting will take place from New Year, in Bengaluru and Mangaluru. We are planning to release it in March 2019,” he says.
The makers are now in the process of finalising the rest of the cast, and are particularly in search of someone who can match Trisha’s character. “We will be auditioning for the roles and finalising the actors soon,” he signs off.
96 in Tamil, 99 in Kannada
Even though the Tamil flick is titled 96, Preetham decided to name the Kananda film 99, because Ganesh and his friendship goes back to the year 1999, the time when they were in college. “We have a lot of common friends, and when I watched the film I thought about all of them and it took me back to my childhood. Secondly, the original version had the 96 batch along with a 22 year gap, but our film will have the 99 batch, who will meet after 18 years,” he says.