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Music Review
It takes two to tune

IndiaGlitz.com
Oct 21, 2004 (Thur)

What can one expect when two music mastroes - M S Viswanathan and Illayaraja team up for a movie?
Both the peerless musicians have rendered soft melodious numbers that are sure to mesmerize the listeners.

A mix of Classical Carnatic stuff and Hindustani music with soul-stirring vocals from S P Balasubramaniam, Srinivas and Karthik, the album is a right pick for all those who love their music to be understated and appeal to their hearts and not ears.

When peppy tunes with meaningless lyrics are holding the sway in Tamil filmdom, the music of Vishwa Thulasi certainly stands apart. When electric instruments have begun to dominate, the fact that a couple of songs have been tuned with musical background of manual instruments adds strength to this music album.

The picks of the album are the numbers "Nizhalin Kadhiyidhu sung by S P Balasubramanyam and Engu Pirandhadhu rendered by Thippu and Chinmayi. The former set to tunes by M S Viswanathan has a Hindustani classical raga as its base. Both the numbers just waft across like cool breeze on a sticky, hot afternoon. With tabla and violin going together in almost surrealistic ensemble, the number is sure to appeal to the listeners. The latter, written and set to tunes by Illayaraja himself is a soft number with excellent orchestration.

The album also includes Kannama, a sad number sung by S P Balasubramanyam set to tune by Viswanthan and Thulasi, a soft number by Illayaraja. With less instrumentation and more of vocals, the album is a refreshingly different attempt.

Kanavillavudhu sung by Karthik and Poornima, and Mayakama rendered by Srinivas are sure to stick to one's heart. Srinivas, who is not heard as often as before, once again shows why he is one of the top singers of this generation. His vocalization in one word is brilliant.

Sumathy Ram has written a couple of songs, while Illayaraja has penned three songs.
Plenty, actually.

So, when Vishwa Thulasi directed by Sumathy Ram has these two genius composers coming together, the expectations are indeed high.

And truth be told, they have not disappointed their legions of fans.


Received two international awards:

* The "
Gold Special Jury Award"  - for outstanding excellence in the first feature category
    For Debut Director, Sumanthi Ram

* The "
Gold Remi Award" for music score in the craft category at the 38th Annual World Fest, USA.
    Music: M.S.Viswanathan, Illayaraja

Vishwa Thulasi is a big festival hit

Hindu.com
Feb 15, 2006 (Wed)
The Tamil film Vishwa Thulasi, which was widely acclaimed by the general public, has gone international, being featured in half-a-dozen film festivals now.

Starring Mammootty as Viswam and Nandita Das as Thulasi, the film is written and directed by Sumathi Ram.

It was first screened at the World Fest Film festival, Houston, last April. It then travelled to the Zanzibar International Film Festival in July, the Montreal World Film Festival and a Bollywood Festival in the Czech Republic in the Music on Film - Film on Music (MOFFOM) section.

The film was also screened at the Fifth Annual Indo-American Arts Council and finally at the St. Louis International Film Festival.

It has received two international awards the `Gold Special Jury Award' for outstanding excellence in the first feature category and the `Gold Remi Award' for music score in the craft category at the 38th Annual World Fest, USA.

By S.R. Ashok Kumar

CASTING AND composing are scoring points of Sindhuja Films' "VishwaThulasi" written and directed by Sumathy Ram. Mammootty makes a comeback in Tamil with this lyrical love tale and so does Nandita, after "Azhagi" and the cameo in "Kannathil Muththamittaal." Master composers M. S. Viswanathan and Ilaiyaraja have left indelible imprints in "VishwaThulasi" narration that unfolds in a musical mode.

The story that oscillates between the 1940s and '60s is yet another triangular love tale. But Sumathy Ram's narrative style and sensitive treatment have freshness. And when you deal with mature romance as totally distanced from teen time infatuation, pace is one thing you cannot expect.

Thulasi (Nandita) comes to Sundarapuri after her guardians her grandma and uncle pass away, to work as teacher in a dance school. It is in Sundarapuri that Vishwa (Mammootty) the zamindar whom she had met 20 years ago, lives.

They meet again and the feelings that had blossomed in their hearts as teenagers, are revived. Vishwa is unmarried and Thulasi has gone through an unceremonious ritual in the name of matrimony, but fear of societal stigma and innate inhibition keep them asunder.

Sensing their intense love for each other, Pattabhi (a very natural essay by `Delhi' Ganesh once again), the manager at Vishwa's house, helps them overcome their fears. It is then that Fate enters in the form of Siva (Manoj K. Jayan).

If the hero impresses with his restraint and underplay, the heroine achieves the same in a more expressive way. Nandita is a picture of dignity and beauty, so much at home in a native Tamil milieu.

Without any frills to sidetrack your attention, Sumathy takes you down the roads of Sundarapuri. Actually nothing much happens till the climax. Also the character of the dishevelled and mentally disturbed Siva is not new.

The young Vishwa (Mohit) is very much like Mammootty himself in looks, expression and mannerism. Hence the transition is amazingly smooth when Mammootty enters. But the same cannot be said of Ambili who hardly resembles Nandita. Seasoned actors Sulakshana and Ilavarasu have very little to do.

Inundated with wondrous music, "VishwaThulasi"s tiny two-line numbers transport you to melodic heights. So do the other songs. If "Aaya Kalaigalil ... " and "Mayakkama ... " possess the mesmerising traits of MSV's handiwork, "Engu Pirandhadhu ... ", and the arrangement in the solo number, "Thulasi ... " have typical Ilaiyaraja touches. The masterstroke of course is the rerecording.

Some of the bits (on the veena in particular) are more like full-length songs. A commendable blend of synchrony! B. Kannan's photography is much in tune with the texture of the story. So is Prabhakar's art.

Suresh Urs's experience at the editing table comes to the fore yet again in "Vishwa ... "

Certain aspects in the storyline are ambiguous for example, why Vishwa waited so long to even meet Thulasi, why Siva had to run in such maddening fashion and injure himself forever and why Vishwa has to look almost stoic the first time he sees Thulasi after two decades are not made very clear. In a film scenario where sexy gyrations and obscene overtones are a norm, Sumathy, who is new to cinema, shows real guts in coming out with a clean film that moves quite slowly, of course, with veterans who deliver the goods with ease.

By MALATHI RANGARAJAN
Movie Review

Hindu.com
Oct 29, 2004 (Fri)