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Sarvam Thaala Mayam Movie review
After a long gap of 18 years, the director inside Rajiv Menon has come out with Sarvam Thaala Mayam which happens to be his third directorial venture after Minsara Kanavu and Kandukondain Kandukondain. After the prestigious screenings in various International film festivals, this musical drama has hit the theaters today for public reception.
Peter Johnson (G.V.Prakash) is a vibrant youngster who is the son of a renowned Mridangam maker. Situations put him in a position to witness one of the musical concerts of Palakkad Vembu Iyer (a Mridanga Vidwan, played by Nedumudi Venu) in live, who falls in awe with the brilliance in the musical sounds of the instrument and the legend’s performance. This incident inspires him to learn music from Vembu, who denies to take classes for him, citing the intricacies involved in the carnatic music system. What were the challenges that Peter had to face to accomplish his goal and did he succeed in pursuing his passion is what Sarvam Thaala Mayam is about. Watch the film to experience the ups and downs in Peter’s musical journey.
The first half takes you through an interesting ride and the travel is completely fine, as you meet the characters and know their background. The gear shifts and the route gets changed in the latter half as what you expected as to be main conflict of the film, doesn’t become one, and instead, something else becomes the conflict between the characters. This change doesn’t completely gel along with the mood of the film, that was set in the first half. The sounds are infused beautifully and in that way, Sarvam Thaala Mayam can be termed as a musical treat. The liveliness is maintained in most parts. Nedumudi Venu’s character is the strongest among all the characters in the film, which is designed progressively and is sketched out neatly. Despite being projected as a legendary musician and a strict persona, there’s an underlying human emotion inside him that has been explored with subtlety. STM speaks quite a lot of things visually rather through dialogues, and the usage of the film language is wise. The metaphorical representations convey stronger inside meanings and details. The film will comparatively be more relatable for the people who are musically inclined and associated with it. Vijay fans have some interesting moments to witness in the theatre and we will leave it that way. Get to see it as a fun element showing the innocence of Peter Johnson.
On the downside, Sarvam Thaala Mayam suffers from few issues, that of the heroine’s character and the flow of the screenplay. One could even take out the heroine’s character and the overall impact of the film will still be undisturbed. Also, the establishment of the love is nowhere connecting and it feels a little odd to see a track like this in a Rajiv Menon film. His earlier two directorial projects have had a strong base in love and it had some beautifully written and shot scenes, which is missing in STM. The character arc seems to be wavering and their thoughts aren’t convincingly delivered to the audience. Nedumudi Venu, who takes a dig on television music reality shows initially gets compromised to that later, and that doesn't sound convincing. Vineeth’s character, which shows a great promise in the first half falls into a template in the latter half and turns out be a weak opposition.
About the screenplay, as said earlier, the conflict doesn't look intense and it falls flat as the opponent is not strong enough to put up a heavy competition. Had the conflict dealt with something even more serious, with some untouched topics being explored, the outcome of the film could have been different.
Sarvam Thaala Mayam has got some rock solid performances from the actors. In his acting career, this film will be an important turning point for G.V.Prakash who's put his heart and soul into the film. He looks natural and brings life to the character of Peter. He garners more attention through the emotional scenes as we haven't witnessed more of that in his previous outings. Nedumudi Venu’s legendary status speaks for itself and he aces the role of Palakkad Vembu with beautiful perfection. He shows a neat variation of a musician who needs to abide by the traditions of carnatic music, but also has some human emotions and respect for talents. It is good to see actor Vineeth back on the silver screen and he delivers a convincing performance. Vineeth’s acting prowess is witnessed through the single take shot where he confronts Nedumudi Venu in a main conflict. Kumaravel as Johnson brings out an intense performance with the given screen time who is utilized properly and his acting meter falls in the right measurements. DD Dhivyadharshini gets to play a role that’s part of her daily life and her career and having said that, she does a neat job. Aparna Balamurali’s character doesn’t make a big impact, though the young girl does complete justice to her character as Sara. The entire set of supporting actors have made a big difference in enhancing the overall mood of the film.
A.R.Rahman is the Superstar of Sarvam Thaala Mayam as his sounds create a whole new atmosphere and stand as a pillar. Being a musical film, the treatment is very unique and you could sense a lot of work that could have went behind in creating the score. The title card sequence deserves a special mention and it has some beautifully captured shots infused with an innovative background music. Ravi Yadav shines with his visuals and the colour palette used in the film throw a rich flavour. It enhances the quality of the product and not just that, the cinematography has been done with so much sensibility with every shot having something to say or express to the audience. Special credits to the sound department as their work stands out to be phenomenal.
Rajiv Menon extracts the best out of his actors and technicians and he seems to be a master of that. His progressive take on the casteism and its association with carnatic music tradition must be appreciated and it is an eye opener in a lot of ways. Some impactful writing in the scenes and the construction of the screenplay could have made the difference. Nevertheless, Sarvam Thaala Mayam still makes a good watch that stays completely true to the genre of the film.