Sarvam Thaala Mayam – Music Review (Tamil Soundtrack)

You can listen to the songs here.

Naan drums vaasichadhukapram dhaan thalapathy padame release aavum (A Vijay movie releases only after I play drums)” – G V Prakash’s character Peter says at one point in the movie’s teaser. Peter Beata Yethu written by Arunraja Kamaraj seems to be a celebration of one such Vijay movie release within the film. Sung by the movie’s main man along with Sathya Prakash and Arjun Chandy, the song draws its appeal largely from its percussion- and brass-dominated street orchestration. Composer A R Rahman’s other song with the lyricist, Dingu Dongu, turns out to be a much more masterful effort. While the arrangement is once again a percussion-dominated one, seeing a smart combination of folk and classical instruments, the melody is top notch too, seeming to carry shades of shivaranjani raga and delivered in style by Bamba Bakya with wonderful support from the kids’ chorus and Anthony Daasan doing a brief cameo. It is Kerala’s chendamelam that provides thaalam to Sarvam Thaala Mayam’s title song, fitting nicely amidst its otherwise electronic setting. The song’s most brilliant aspect turns out to be its bass line though. Haricharan and Arjun Chandy are behind the mic for this track that evokes a mild Anbil Avan (VTV) throwback on occasion. The only thing that feels out of place is the abrupt chendamelam overdrive at its end – I assume there is an explanation for that in the film.

Nearly 22 years after she recorded Narumugaiye (Iruvar) for the composer, Carnatic doyenne Bombay Jayashree reunites with Rahman to deliver his adaptation of Thyagaraja’s ravichandrika raga based composition Maakelara Vichaaramu. While Jayashree’s rendition remains the highlight of the song, the treatment it receives is quite interesting – while there is a mridangam accompaniment (presumably by Umayalpuram Sivaraman) indicating a concert hall performance (I do indeed remember reading about a shoot at the Music Academy in Chennai for a song that I assume this is), there are also other filmi elements populating the backdrop – so it will be quite interesting to see how this song translates on screen. Chinmayi is in spectacular form leading Maya Maya, a beautiful, if familiar, melodic piece that ARR sets to an exquisite atmospheric arrangement – while Sunil Milner and Keba Jeremiah rule the song’s first half with their guitar work, flautist Kamalakar is the star of the second half. It comes as a surprise that in an album where A R Rahman is the main composer, the best song comes from a guest composer; but director Rajiv Menon’s Varalaama is an absolute gem! He does of course have Rahman’s help on the arrangement front. The classical-flavoured piece that traverses multiple delightful ragas (kamboji, kedaragowla, desh and mukhaari as confirmed by multiple experts) is handled with finesse by Sriram Parthasarathy, and the man is backed superbly by B Shree Sundarkumar on kanjira and the Sunshine Orchestra.

Coming after a long 18-year gap, A R Rahman and Rajiv Menon’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam does not quite touch the heights of their past two outings, but is a supremely engaging soundtrack nevertheless.

Music Aloud Rating: 4/5

Top Recos: Varalaama, Maya Maya, Dingu Dongu, Maakelara

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