Sarvam Thaala Mayam Review & Rating
Sarvam Thaala Mayam Review: Experience The Rhythm of Life Through Music
Sarvam Thaala Mayam is the literal manifestation of its title. Sarvam Thaala Mayam. Everything is the rhythm of the music. The film has created a bit of curiosity without having a huge hype because of its director, Rajiv Menon. After virtually vanishing from the scene for nearly a couple of decades, he makes a return to wield the megaphone to tell a story which is as contemporary as its universal themes. With no USP to bank on, the veteran filmmaker used the landscape of his storytelling as the biggest asset.
Those who know Rajiv Menon and Tamil music scene may know well that his mother was a trained singer and has rendered a few film songs of her own mostly for A. R. Rahman who composes the musical score for this film. And that Rajiv Menon had filmed a few documentaries on the music and its proponents. He damn well knows what he is going to do and let's see if he delivered with Sarvam Thaala Mayam review.
Peter Johnson's dream
Peter Johnson is your ordinary youngster in the city of Chennai who has nothing special in life except that his life, heart, and his body beat with rhythm. He once happened to watch the Mridangam Vidwan Vembu Iyer giving a display of his mastery and gets hooked to the sounds and rhythms produced by the instrument. What's even more enticing for him is the way Iyer made the audience dance to his tunes quite literally. Peter Johnson then and there decides to become a man of music and wants to learn Carnatic music.
But his father, who ironically makes Mridangams discourages him for the fear of not being able to stomach the rejections his son may face. He says: you might have seen one master, I know hundreds of men who failed to make a mark. But we knew Peter Johnson is the protagonist of this film and it is his story the director set out to tell us, right? Peter replies to his father's arguments saying that he will break the door to gain admission with Vembu Iyer as his student.
Vembu Iyer is a stubborn traditionalist musician who doesn't think much about the ordinary Peter Joseph who is from a lower caste (Dalit Christian to be specific). Here is where Rajiv Menon scores the brownie points. He doesn't point fingers. He just objectively presented his story. Whether you believe in such happenings depends on various factors, not the least your perspective.
After relentless persuasion and proving his undying desire to be trained, Peter finally gets a nod from the maestro but the hurdle comes in the form of Iyer's student, Mani, who vows to break the bonding. How Peter fulfills his wish and becomes the best as he dreamed of form the rest of the story.
The vision of the director
An ordinary and realistic story set in a template narrative pattern but with a contemporary twist, Rajiv Menon gives Sarvam Thaala Mayam the required boost in the form of attention to detail. The beautiful frames. The deliberately light-hearted but gutsy narration. The minimalistic music from A. R. Rahman (certainly one of his best in recent times). Though he touched upon casteism like the film Pariyerum Perumal, he used it as a catalyst to the story rather than dwelling the entire time on it. The film quickly becomes Iyer and Peter vs Mani.
Nedumudi Venu who played Vembu Iyer is the pillar of strength to the film. His nuanced performance takes this film to the next level. G. V. Prakash Kumar gets the role of his life and is a live wire in the film. A chance well utilized. Aparna Balamurali is quite good in her limited role. Her character is given a progressive twist by making her get intimate with the hero... but that itself make things look a little bit artificial. So is the reality show as a setpiece to create drama.
A. R. Rahman is the soul of the film by creating some of the beautiful sounds for the background score and the songs are hauntingly good. The cinematography by Ravi Yadav is lively. The art department did a commendable job in creating the atmosphere in a realistic manner by working in conjunction with the cinematography department. The production values are good.
Sarvam Thaala Mayam is a relatively light-hearted story of how an underdog achieves his dream of becoming a Mridangam Vidwan himself. With classy performances, refreshing music and visuals, Rajiv Menon proved himself not to have lost his touch. That he made a film which appears as contemporary as possible is a testament to his mastery of the art of cinema. You can give this film a chance to grow on you. Highly recommended.
- Known story in a contemporary setting
- Intense and crisp narration
- Nedumudi Venu performance
- Rajiv Menon's direction
- A. R. Rahman's music
- The story follows a set template
- Few scenes in the second half feel forced.
Pycker Rating: 3.25 out of 5
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What is Sarvam Thaala Mayam About?
My life, heart, and body are all beating in rhythm, says the protagonist of Sarvam Thaala Mayam. He was called by his father as a lunatic. Yes. he is a lunatic. He is insanely in love with music. G. V. Prakash Kumar plays the role of such unrecognized music wunderkind who wants to be the best one day. His father tries to discourage him by saying: you have seen one successful person. But I have seen hundreds like you failing.
So, coming from such a background, Peter Johnson wants to learn Carnatic music which is perceived to be still in the hands of a handful of upper-class people. His efforts fail when he was not allowed to enter the premises. Peter even thinks that would there have been a reservation in the government music college. Acclaimed cinematographer Rajeev Menon returns to wield the megaphone after a long gap of nearly two decades. Known for his classical touch in storytelling with brilliantly haunting imagery, Rajiv Menon this time made music the basic theme of his film.
Sarvam Thaala Mayam Promises
A musical tour de force with the story of an underdog
We have already seen a film like Pariyerum Perumal about the cast discrimination faced by the lower class people everywhere. Juxtapose that theme with the story of a young man with a keen sense for music, we have Sarvam Thaala Mayam. For the protagonist Peter, music is everything. He couldn't live with it. Nothing gives him happiness than people's appreciation for the sounds he created.
The rise or fall of such a musical prodigy with an inclination for Mridangam, his trials to learn music the proper way, the troubles he faces to be trained in Carnatic music, his love for a girl who tries to push him in the right direction, and even there is an attempted murder case under Section 506 which is non-bailable all are part of the film. Such is the landscape Rajiv Menon attempts to trace with Sarvam Thaala Mayam.
The lead pair
G. V. Prakash Kumar might not be in the top of the list star heroes in Tamil but he has a fire in his belly to excel in any role he undertakes - be it as a music director or as the actor. One of the recognized talents, he here finally gets a role that will push him to new heights and from what is evidenced by the trailer, we can safely assume that he delivered beyond expectations. He has virtually become Peter.
Aparna Balamurali has proven herself to be a notable talent in a short time and rose to become one of the most happening young actresses in Malayalam Cinema. Here in Sarvam Thaala Mayam, she plays the role of a catalyst to the story and seemingly the only person to believe in Peter's credentials as the musical prodigy. No doubts, she has nailed her role with perfection.
A musical feast by A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman is the trusted musical director Rajiv Menon. Both their previous collaborations produced musical masterpieces. And with a subject about the music itself, A. R. Rahman has a field day in composing the score. The samples we have seen in the trailer are enough if not the audio, Sarvam Thaala Mayam is going to be one of the best works of Rahman in recent times after several comments that he is losing his touch. This film also marks the first collaboration between A. R. Rahman and G. V. Prakash Kumar as a music director and actor.
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