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Sangamam – A Review

Sangamam is a celebration of dance. Set entirely in rural Tamil Nadu, Sangamam is a credible movie with good music by A.R.Rahman and superlative performance by Manivannan. Director Suresh Krishna displays a sure touch in emotional scenes and has done a very competent job throughout.

The story goes like this. Rahman is the son of Manivannan (who is a top rural dance artiste) and goes to perform in a temple dance festival. At the festival he meets Vindhya – a Bharatanatyam artiste – who is the daughter of a famous dancer, Vijayakumar. Love blossoms between the two young dancers in the temple festival in “Thillana Mohanambal” style. Manivannan is supportive of their romance, as is Srividya – Vindhya’s mother. Manivannan is insulted by Vijayakumar when the former formally asks for his daughter hand in wedding for his son Rahman. Vijayakumar believes that rural dance form is inferior to Bharatanatyam and therefore Manivannan and Rahman are not in the same league as Vijayakumar’s family. The rest of the story is about how no one art or dance form is superior to the other. Manivannan pays with his life to prove the point thanks to the villainy of local tough Radha Ravi. Vijayakumar finally sees reason and unites the young lovers and thus creating a Sangamam of the two dance forms.

Manivannan is superlative. Rahman does justice to his role and has brought a certain dignity and understatement to his character. The supporting actors – Vadivelu, Charlie, Tyagu, Delhi Ganesh, Srividya, Purambokku and Vijaya Kumar have put in competing performances. Vadivelu deserves special mention for his performance. Vindhya, the heroine is the only weak link. She does not emote, seems out of sorts in a number of scenes. Even her dancing is not first rate. A poor choice for heroine.

The comedy is entwined with the main plot, which is a refreshing change from the trend these days. At 16 reels the movie is a bit long.

The camerawork is fantastic and captures the sheer beauty of rural Tamil Nadu in the most wonderful way. The temples and fields of Tamil Nadu form the backdrop for many scenes, which is delightful to say the least. The costumes are in keeping with the requirements of the movie with every character being seen only in Veshti and female characters in Sarees.

Finally, a comment on the music of A.R.Rahman. The score is excellent but the picturisation of songs could have been better. Margazhi Thingal, Mazhai Thuli, Varaha Nadi and Mudhal Murai have been well picturised. In Sowkiyama, the lip movements of Vindhya are totally out of sync with the voice of the singer, which leads to a comical situation.

Suresh Krishna has given a clean movie with good music. However, it is difficult to comment on the commercial viability of the movie as it does not have any “item” songs or cheap thrills. We will have to see how viewers accept the movie.


R Ananthanarayanan

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