Review: Sarvam Thaala Mayam – Breaking barriers

Director Rajiv Menon is back after a long interval, but with a bang. His Sarvam Thaala Mayam, as the title suggests, is the story of a young Christian boy, Peter, who yearns to learn mridangam and make it big in the kutcheri circuit.
The taboos and struggles attached to his learning the art forms the crux of the movie. Rajiv Menon always has a penchant for music. With Oscar award winner A R Rahman by his side, he earlier came out with Minsara Kanavu and Kandu Kondein Kandu Kondein.
In Minsara Kanavu, there was a music band, while KKKK featured Aishwarya Rai as an aspiring playback singer. Sarvam Thaala Mayam is no different.
A feel-good musical entertainer, the movie revolves around two characters – Peter (G V Prakash) and mridangam vidwan Vembu Iyer (Nedumudi Venu). Their encounters and their aspirations make up the movie. Vembu Iyer belongs to the old school thought and fails to recognise the changing trends in classical music, while Peter is an aspiring musician, who wants to master the percussion instrument and excel in classical music. 
There are sub-plots in the form of romance between Peter and Sara (Aparna Balamurali), the struggle of mridangam maker Johnson (Kumaresan) and the chase for TRPs by TV channels in the name of music contests are well-narrated.
G V Prakash gives his best as an innocent youngster. He suits the role well and his musical background ensures he handles the instrument in a realistic way.
Aparna Balamurali as Peter’s lover has done a neat job. Vineeth (difficult to recognise for he has put on a lot of weight), popular TV anchor Devadarshini and Kumaresan have given their best.
But the scene-stealer is Nedumudi Venu. He makes the character so real and authentic. Subtle and spontaneous, his expressions add value to the story.
A R Rahman’s music is the flesh and blood of the movie. It’s been a long time since we heard him go classical all through. If he impressed with saxophone in Duet, Sarvam Thaala Mayam is all about percussion.
While Rajiv Menon tries to convey the ‘upper class’ domination of classical music post-interval, he takes a middle path suddenly. He eventually ends up trying to convey that change is permanent be it Carnatic music or any other music. But for its slow pace, Sarvam Thaala Mayam deserves a watch for its noble intentions and honest film-making.

M BHARAT KUMAR