Skip to main content

Sarvam Thaala Mayam

Director: Rajiv Menon
Cast: GV Prakash, Nedumudi Venu, Vineeth, Aparna Balamurali

A film on underdogs is anything but new in Tamil cinema. In fact, the heroes are written as so, so that when he rises from the ashes a la a phoenix bird, the transformation is ought to give a high to the audience. But Rajiv Menon’s comeback film Sarvam Thaala Mayam can’t be brushed under the carpet as yet another such film.

For starters, we aren’t given a conventional ‘hero’ but just a happy-go-lucky-guy named Peter (a role that seems to be custom-made for GV Prakash) who loves being a die-hard fan of a hero. While it’s Thalapathy Vijay, in the beginning, his hero-worshipping soon changes focuses to veteran percussionist Vembu Iyer (Nedumudi Venu) after seeing the latter perform. What follows is a series of insults and tribulations that hit Peter like how he wants to hit the mridangam, for which he even goes against the words of his mridangam making father Johnson (a brilliant Kumaravel).

The biggest takeaway from the film is how music transcends time, culture, tradition, practises and even superstitions. What I enjoyed most was the irony of a younger wannabe artist – Mani (Vineeth) being more casteist than the older, veteran Vembu Iyer. Does that mean the latter isn’t one? Definitely not. Though he’s good enough to hand over a rudraksha to a Peter just because the latter found the seed to be fascinating, he wouldn’t want to touch him. The film almost tries to normalise a powerful man not treating others as equals which, despite the change in heart in the climax, doesn’t seem to unroot the thought they had planted throughout the film.

In a particular scene, a hopeless Peter gets a bike from his fan club leader for a journey throughout the country (It would’ve been better had they shown him wearing a helmet, but hey, he’s not a Thala fan in the film) where he experiences various formats of music. That’s when he crosses the famous living roots bridge built by the Khasi and Jaintia tribals made from tree roots in Meghalaya. Though I might be exaggerating here, it felt more like Menon getting to the root of the problem and narrowing the bridge between classes using music. Even if this wasn’t an intentional metaphor, there are way too many to make note of when it comes to the discrimination a man can face only because of belonging to a different caste. In another particular scene, Peter and Johnson stop at their village’s teashop only for them to get served in a plastic cup instead of the glass ones. Once again, though Rajiv Menon touches a sensitive topic, he stops with scratching just the surface alone. It was more apparent with the entire ‘Peter being a Vijay fan’ angle which seems to have been brought in just to establish how he needs an idol to gawk at.

What didn’t work was the underwhelming romance angle which looks like has been enforced to make sure there’s at least one significant woman character in the film. I would’ve enjoyed more if instead of that character, more screen space had been given to Peter’s mother and Vembu Iyer’s wife (dancing veteran Shanta Dhananjayan) considering that the advice given by them to the Peter and Vembu Iyer respectively makes more sense than what Sara (Aparna Balamurali) does. The reality music show climax too is an overused troupe which obviously ends in a predictable manner. While AR Rahman’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam track is a chartbuster, the rest of the songs from the album fail to make the same appeal and fortunately, the songs too are used as montages. And while we’re talking about the

Despite trying to fit in a genre between that of a feel-good film and a socially conscious one, Sarvam Thaala Mayam has its moments, making it a film one wouldn’t mind catching at the big screens.

My Rating: 2.5/5

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi shoulder a mediocre film: Master Review

A flawed protagonist and a powerful antagonist have always proven to be successful tropes in the world of cinema. The hero, when being anything but perfect, makes way for a beautiful story arc as he convalesces and a strong villain makes the hero’s triumph at the end larger. Despite having both of these, Vijay’s Master feels far from a perfect flick thanks to succumbing to irregular pacing and a middling screenplay. Master follows the trials and tribulations of JD (Vijay), an alcoholic college professor whose valiant effort towards the student community plants a belief in his colleague Charu (Malavika Mohanan) that he would be able to do the same to the kids in a juvenile correction centre that needs… correction. Armed with a just kada, a classic four-wheeler, a Persian cat and a cool pair of sunglasses, JD embarks on a journey that will collide with that of Bhavani’s (Vijay Sethupathi). On paper, Master looks like a failproof star vehicle – the story of a man out there to teach lesson

Icon Residency, Wayanad

During one of my solo bike rides from Chennai to Coorg, I took a detour to check out Wayanad and since Coorg is just a few hours by road from there, I decided to use the small town also for a layover. A quick search told me about the limited options this tourist location has and as I was all by myself, I didn’t mind taking a risk by choosing whatever has a decent rating. iCon Residency in Kalpetta had some really good reviews and in no time, I was in Kerala via Bangalore.  iCon Residency is located on National Highway 212. Though the direction on Google Maps is accurate, finding the place was quite a challenge as it’s located past a narrow street. The hotel looks brilliant from the outside in total contrast to the otherwise old town. There’s also a decent parking space. The basic room I opted for is small when compared to average rooms but for a solo traveller, it was cosy and perfect. The bed

InterContinental Mahabalipuram

After visiting InterContinental many times to meet people who were staying there, for events & functions and for, of course, dining in, I decided it was high time I experienced a stay at this property. A while back, it happened and here I’m chronicling that experience.  Location, Reception and First Impressions InterContinental Mahabalipuram stands among a handful of star properties that are located close to Mamallapuram but not exactly inside the bustling town. It’s situated on the ever-busy East Coast Road and is a cool 42kms away from Central Chennai and almost the same distance from the Chennai International Airport as well (yes, I checked). Post the ‘vanakkam’ by the security personnel who greets you right at the gate, the first thing one would notice about ICC is how simple and elegant it is. Once you get past the security checks, you’re welcomed by the sky and a long pathway and standing on the edge of it gives us a bird’s-eye view of the property. The reception is a high ro