Sarvam Thaala Mayam Review: A worthy musical-drama
Films featuring the protagonist as a musician often show the rivalry between it’s the lead character and the antagonist. Or they focus on the musician’s journey to fame and stardom. Director Rajiv Menon’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam, uses only portions of these conflicts in the film.
The premise focuses on a man’s quest to make his mentor proud. However, during the journey, he discovers his real passion for music, while his mentor discovers himself, someone who is larger than his professional image. The biggest highlight of Sarvam Thaala Mayam is that it tries to mark a journey towards empowerment, by subtly pinpointing how the society treats those of different castes.
Predictability is one of the standard trademarks of a film featuring an underdog, but Sarvam Thaala Mayam doesn’t list itself under that category. You know the underdog will eventually win, but his journey towards the victory is what keeps a film going. When Peter (G. V. Prakash) decides to approach award-winning mridangam player Vembu Iyer (Nedumudi Venu) to teach him to play, he goes drunk and gets shooed away by the maestro’s assistant. One would assume Peter to then barge in, beat the heck out of Mani and threaten Vembu to teach him – but he doesn’t do that. And that’s what makes this film interesting, it creates a level of curiosity. Peter and Vembu’s scenes together form the best moments of the film.
While the first half of the film explores the lives of Vembu and Peter respectively, which also shows how the two come in terms with the conflicts in their personal and professional lives. The second half feels like a let-down, especially when it tries to finish the film in a hurried manner. The downside to the film is the love angle between Sara (Aparna Balamurali) and Peter, which, although is progressive about pre-marital sex,it doesn’t fit with the theme. It’s quite bizarre because he first decides to stalk her, and they claim to be deeply connected and care about each other, but we’ve only seen them together a few times. The part where Peter ‘rediscovers’ himself while on a journey, feels rushed and doesn’t convince.
G. V. Prakash fits the part of a roguish-yet-good natured Peter well, in the first few portions of the film. But he often looks like he could do a lot more. Since he’s a musician in real life, you’d expect him to convince you, but he often looks like he’s rehearsing for something else. Sumesh, who plays the Harvard student, is convincing in his role as the rich-enthusiastic guy! Kumaravel’s performance is another highlight. Vineeth stands out exceptionally well in his role of the musician displaying jealously. However, the brightest performer of the film is Nedumudi Venu! He wonderfully projects himself to be this undefeated veteran, who is strong enough to understand that he’s supremely gifted, and yet comes to terms that he should welcome changes. This characterization is well-written, and what makes it special is his performance. Santha Dhananjayan and Venu’s moments together are sweet. The dialogues which aid in humor are some of the highlights of the film. A. R. Rahman’s music uplifts the scenes and fits perfectly for the film.
Overall, the film’s theme doesn’t weigh it down or take itself too seriously. It simply makes it for a compelling watch.