Premkumar’s 96 is a heart wrenching love story which will never go out of fashion. The unfulfilled love story with a bathos ending created a void in our hearts. Despite the way 96 ended, the ardent follower of romantic tragedies in me was more than satisfied. All fans of 96 would wish that the film’s ending remains untouched , but I differ. The only question that has been lingering in my mind ever since I saw the film was“ Did Jaanu really have to part her ways with Ram? “
Jaanu’s husband, Arjun works as a psychiatrist and general physician in Singapore. A lady entered his psychiatry clinic for an appointment. After a couple of exchanges between Arjun and the lady, she started talking about her life, and the problems she faced. She said “ I was secretly in love with a boy of my village in 10th standard. Due to an unexpected situation, he left the village. Inspite of his absence my heart kept rooting for him. 4 years later when I saw him near my college gate, I decided to tell who I am, and confess my love for him. But he came in search of his love, which wasn’t me . The love I had for him was left unrequited. The possessiveness for him reached a very toxic level , that I decided to create a rift between the two of them , by not letting them meet in college”.
The lady who narrated this incident was Vasanthi , the girl who was deeply abhorred by the audience for forgetting the name “ K Ramachandran”.
She continued : “when I saw Ram in Jaanus wedding , I was shocked to see Ram walk away without stopping the occasion. Later , I followed him wherever he went, and saw whatever he did. I realized that the love Ram and Jaanu had for each other was pure. During the same period I was forced to get married to someone else. I felt the pain that Jaanu might have gone through. I felt that I shouldn’t have separated them. The guilt and the lack of happiness in my marital life grew in me. And here I am”
After minutes of silence , Arjun sighed, and he picked up his phone to search for his wedding and family photos. Vasanthi looked startled after seeing the pictures and deeply regretted what she did. Arjun consoled vasanthi and asked her not to worry about what happened. He swiftly went to his house to record a message for Jaanu. He signed a couple of documents , packed his bag, and spent some time with meera , his daughter. He then bid good bye and promised meera that he will be back as soon as his work is done. He asked Vasanthi to take care of Meera and give Jaanu the recording once she comes back . This was when , the ’96 batch reunion was happening in Chennai.
After Ram and Jaanu spent one whole night together , the next day Ram asked Jaanu if he could come along with her to Singapore to meet her family. Jaanu was elated to travel with Ram. But little did she know that she will have to travel with him for years to come.
Arjun who has specialized in military psychiatry apart from being a general physician decided to join with the Singapore army as the chief doctor, since singaporean government insisted the frontline workers to involve in national service after graduating. Many people from the army , including Arjun lost their lives during a critical expedition that Singapore had to be a part of in 2018. Jaanu and Ram came to know about this disheartening news after seeing the tumult in Singapore when they landed.
When Ram and Jaanu rushed to Jaanu’s house, She saw Vasanthi and Meera crying inside the room with an audio recording of Arjun, which said “ Hi Jaanu, I learnt about your love story from Vasanthi during her consultation. I was shocked, not because I came to know about your past. It was because , I have never seen you sad or disappointed all these years. I wonder how you graciously accepted your life and endured the pain . I don’t know if I’ll return safely after the expedition. If I return, then we will have to sit back and have a healthy conversation about this, if not.. Ram will hopefully be there for you, as a friend? as a guardian angel? As your new husband ? the ball is in your court. Take care of Meera. love you!”
Jaanu heaved a poignant sigh and she cried for hours together. Ram, a man of few words by nature was left with no words. Later Vasanthi gathered all her courage to confess the truth and tell why she met Arjun. The moment she completed the story she held Ram’s hands , cried over his shoulder and agiled
1 year later , Jaanu invited subha and her other friends for Arjuns first death anniversary. Ram who had been in Singapore for 1 year owns a photography institute. After the function got over subha asked Ram and Jaanu if they were ready to get married. Ram said “ position that a life partner holds is not like the position of an office bearer. It is hard to fill the void created by the loss of a person’s ex life partner . I decided to restart my life with Jaanu. I wanted to relive the 20 years I lost, with her… but first, as a friend, well wisher and guardian angel . May be, we might fall in love again?”
Ram and Jaanu walked out together and took a stroll along the streets of little India. Black screen appears with the iconic kadhale kadhale in the background.