The soul of 96 will remain intact in 99: Preetham Gubbi
The director's upcoming film, 99, will be a remake of the Tamil blockbuster 96, featuring Ganesh in the lead.
The Tamil blockbuster 96, starring Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha, has captivated all of South India. The romantic drama about two lovers meeting each other after twenty-two years at a high school reunion, which has been celebrated by the audience and critics for its making and performances, is currently being remade in multiple languages. While producer Dil Raju bought the Telugu rights earlier, the Kannada rights has been bagged by Ramu Enterprises recently.
Ganesh will be stepping into the shoes of Vijay Sethupathi for the Kannada remake, helmed by Preetham Gubbi. Titled 99, the team has already begun recording the songs with music director Arjun Janya. He will be composing seven songs for the film.
While it was expected that Ganesh and Preetham Gubbi would be joining hands for a film titled Mareyuva Munna, the announcement of 99 came as a pleasant surprise for their fans. The director says he came up with the idea of remaking 96 right after he saw it for the first time. “I only had Ganesh in mind for the role. I strongly believe he will do complete justice to the role. Both Ganesh and I felt that it is a feel-good film relatable to all audiences. Since producer Ramu had the rights, he asked if I was interested in collaborating with him on the project. Then I pitched the idea to Ganesh, and everything fell in place.”
While Preetham has directed nine films, this is his first attempt at a remake. “I don’t know anything other than cinema. 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 that I was destined to do it,” 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 director, who is working on giving Ganesh a different look for the film, goes on to say, “The film revolves around two people and their emotions is narrated through its music. We are making sure the film has an emotional connect with the audience.”
The recent television premiere of 96 and the audience's overwhelming reception has made Preetham realise the challenge ahead of him. “It is not new, and we are aware that people watch other language films. But I believe that when a script is good, it always works with the audience.”
Even though the Tamil film is titled 96, Preetham decided to name the Kannada film 99, because his friendship with Ganesh dates 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 got reminded about all of them and it took me on a nostalgic trip back to my childhood. 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.
According to the director, Ganesh will start shooting for 99 after completing two schedules of Geetha. “We are planning a 40-day shoot schedule at a stretch,” says Preetham, who, along with the producers, has 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.”
The makers are now in the process of finalising the rest of the cast, including the female lead who will reprise Trisha's role.