Sarvam Thaala Mayam (2018) - full transcript

The film traces the life of Peter who is a Thalapathy fan aspiring to become a Mridangam Vidwan.

I am Peter Johnson.

I live in Madras.
Sorry, I mean, Chennai.

This is the Anna International Airport.

An airport named after a screenwriter.
This can only happen in Chennai.

He played the role of a
chief minister, as well.

After him five more film veterans
went on to become chief ministers.

Why? Because our city is
crazy about the movies.

So am I!

I'm an ardent fan
of superstar Vijay!

This is Johnson.
My father.

He is crazy about music!

His life revolves
around the mridanga.

My mother runs a soup store.
She's always worried about something.

Do you know what's her worry right now?
My exams!

Wherever you are,
I will accept you.

For I am the Lord your God...
I am the Almighty.

I am the good shepherd.

O dear Lord,
who protects the poor...

please ensure that my son, Peter
passes his exams successfully.

Thank you, my Lord.

Hey Theresa, how about asking for
a grade A performance in the exams?

O dear Lord, make sure
Peter achieves a grade A.

Yes, the call is on, right?
The Lord can still hear you.

While you're at it,
ask for the state's first gold medal!

Mocking me, are you?

Please forgive these sinners, my lord.

I pray that he becomes
a government officer.

So that he can bribe his
mother with a lot of money!

Your prayers will be answered,

The devout Johnson's family
will always have the Lord's blessings.

Take this blessed pen.

Why does it look like this!

Tell them to fix it!

What brings you here, Peter?

-He's here to ogle at girls, right?
-As if both of you are here to pray!

-We pray only to one God. Check this out!
-Check this out!

Get a load of this!

-You too!
-Isn't it cool!

When did you get it?
I would have done it, as well!

-You're a crappy fan!
-We're the true fans!

Look! We're putting up banners
in every nook and corner.

His film's out, man!

Wasn't it delayed by a month?

The IPL is about to start.
So, it's releasing soon.

-On the fourteenth!

On the fourteenth!

Oh crap!
I have an Accountancy exam that day!

Let's go for the night show.

No way! We always go on the
first day for the first show!

You useless oaf! Try moving out of
the house and I'll break your legs!

Hey... come here.

If he has friends like you,
he doesn't need enemies!

You are always hanging
around with some poster!

Now you have come to the church, as well?

Get lost!


Here's the exam hall ticket!

Do well in the exam.

Come on!

Hey Peter! Who is this guy?

He is a star with no power.

Hey bro...

These guys are ripping our boss's poster!

Here's your tea, guys!

Run, bro!

-Come on!

That's it, buddy!
Get in!

Start driving, bro!

He's bleeding, bro!

We can't do anything about it now!

It is a police case!

Some nurses live near my house.
They can handle it.

-It hurts!
-Just hold on!

-Oh God...


-What is it, sir?
-We need a small favor.

Didn't we pay the rent
at the end of last month?

Don't worry, madam.

It's a small accident.

He fell off the roof.

He's a good kid.
He's drunk. That's it.


Look at this, Sara.

He's hurt and bleeding.

-Please help him out.
-He's lost a lot of blood.


He just needs a little help.

Go and get the first aid box.

It really hurts, man!

-Hold on. Almost done!
-Do something!

Pray to Vijay!

Think about something else.

Sing your favorite song!

Hey Hari! Sing!

You're a Vijay fan, too?

All done.

Let's go, Peter.

I can see that you're following me.
But, why?

You stitched my wound
the other day, right?

I was mesmerized!

Every night, I see you in my dreams.

Like an angel.

Which film is that dialogue from?

Listen to me.

Your life is different.
My life is different.

I need to go to Germany.
Hence, I'm attending this class.

Do something worthwhile.
Don't waste your time.

I'm not jobless!

Look me up at the fan club.

We run blood donation and social
service camps in the area!

I play the drums when
Vijay's films are released.

So, you celebrate only
two days in the year!

What will you do on the
other 363 days, Peter?

I will learn German with you!

Will you follow me around
like the Vodafone pug?

No. I'll accompany you
like a German Shepherd.

So, are you going to be a dog?

Listen to me, Peter.

Instead of following me,
or your idol Vijay...

make your life worthwhile.

25 rupees for one bowl of soup.


-Everywhere else, it costs twenty rupees.
-Don't make a big deal over five bucks!

-Come on.

Why are you so quiet?

What about the exam results?

What will I do with this!
Please read it!

60 marks in Economics.

58 marks in English.

-That's pretty good!
-Keep listening!

64 marks in Business Communication.

-Five marks!
-What the hell!

What went wrong in the Accountancy exam?

You studied hard, didn't you?

I even stayed up all
night to serve you tea!

Can you send that paper
for re-evaluation?

Is there anything to evaluate?

I should've known that!

Your lazy friends have lured you

-to join them in booze and dance!

My music makes people happy
and I like it!

-All of them respect me.
-Will they give you food?

O dear Lord!

I thought he would pass in the exams
and this struggle would end...

Stop it!

Yelling isn't good for your health!
Let it go. The re-exam is in September!

If I let it go, he'll end up tapping that
damn thing all his life. Just like you.

This isn't tapping.
It's preserving a tradition.

That's why they gave me
the Kalaimamani Award!

Did they give you money?

Do you get any pension?

What's the use of that award!

This family would die of hunger,
if I didn't have my soup store.

Mom! If you're angry at me,
don't yell at Dad!

This is my fate!

She's not mad at me, son.

She's just hates my profession.

What should I do with my life?

With two hands and two legs,
this is all that I can earn.

So, you want me to
give you a helping hand?

This is no small matter, son.

It is life.

A dead tree and an animal skin.

We work on it with love
and give life to this instrument.

One needs humility and patience
to do this job.

I guess it's all going to die with me.

Alright, Dad.
I'll learn this trade from you.

In our business...

the jackfruit tree is important.

To make a mridanga,
we need a strong tree.

If you make a mridanga
from the wood of a tree's base...

it will last for two generations.

You can't guarantee if the
wood on the top of a tree,

will last for even two years.

This mridanga is played by the maestros.

-Good day, sir.
-Good day.

The Carnatic Academy has announced
the Kalanidhi Award for you.

First of all, we congratulate
you on behalf of our channel.

So, tell me, sir,
how do you feel?

This award has been given to a
mridanga artist after such a long time.

I consider it as a seal of recognition
for all rhythm players!

It's not like how it
used to be in the past.

The singers have been
dominating the industry.

It is a successful concert when an
instrument compliments the song.

Who would want to listen
to someone singing alone?

What is this, sir?
You speak like a lawyer!

-I studied law, didn't I?

How did you transition
from law to music?

Whatever I do,
I must be the best.

Because, I work hard for it.

I studied law.

If I would practice law, I would've
become a judge at the Supreme Court.

But I like music.


Are you saying that you are the
best mridanga artist, as well?

I didn't say that.

Not at all, sir! You're a genius.
We are light-years away.

Alright, sir.

I have another question.

Why haven't you performed
with any of the female singers?

-I haven't had the opportunity to do that.
-In fifty years?

I haven't had it!

-Here you go!
-Thanks a lot, sir.



I think I can make your dream a reality.

I wish to make you a judge.

Do you have a lot of
influence in the court?

No, sir. I'll make you
a judge on our TV show.

We're doing a Carnatic
fusion reality show.

If you could be one of the judges,
it would be great.

It is a big budget show.

There is no problem at all.

No way!

What happens on TV is not music.

It's a circus.

"He's first. He's second.
He scored a jackpot."

They treat music like a horse race!

I was born for scriptures,
traditions and music.


Yes, sir.

Please tell your sister that...

Vembu Iyer is not for sale.

What the hell is this!

I convinced him to do this interview.

If you create a controversy,
it could screw over my job.

You are scared of him!
Not me!

-What is it?

-Some skin has arrived.

-New, animal skin has arrived.
-Oh! New, animal skin!


What's up!

Bring up that block here.

Listen up.

A mridanga requires three kinds of skin.

Goat skin.

Cow skin.

Buffalo skin.

All three skins need to
be from a female animal...

after it has given
birth to a young animal.

Do we take the skin after the cow is dead?
Or do we kill the cow for its skin?

Get the cutting pliers.

He's entering a concert!

For this month's concert...

What the hell, man!

Please look at it.
Bloody hell!

It's all good.

I have to be at a concert, please!
Not now!

The mridanga was dropped onto the floor.

Yes, that idiot dropped it!

I think it's damaged.

The concert is at 6:30 p.m.
I urgently need another mridanga.


Ready, sir?

-Mr. Johnson sent this over.

I'll get going.

Have a seat.

My son Nandu... Nandagopal.

Don't get me wrong!
I do not shake hands with anyone.

Someone gave a firm handshake
to one of my students...

and fractured his finger!

He lost the timbre.

It's God's gift.
I must safeguard it, right?

He's been listening to your
work since he was a child

and he plays the mridanga, as well.

Yes, sir.
I wish to learn the art from you.

Is that so?

I am very traditional.

I believe in the tradition
of a master and a disciple.

A form of art should be taught in person.

He just got an admission
at the Harvard University for a PhD.

Let him study!

My dear boy, if you chase two hares
at the same time, you will catch neither.

Am I right?

-You understand that, right?

Hey Peter, what are you doing?

Is Vembu Iyer, a great person?

He receives a lot of praise
when he plays the mridanga.

Even the foreigners praise him!

They use their fingers
to count something.

I was blown away!

You revolved around films all this time.

Now, do you understand the
magic of the mridanga?

When he played the mridanga,
it was magic!

Loud and thumping!

It was a beautiful sound!

That's not a sound.
That's music.

We made those mridangas!

It doesn't happen when we play it.

Vembu Iyer is not a man.
He's a legend.

Do you see this mridanga?
This is his religion.

He wants the public to know it's magic.

This is his biggest ambition.

I even arranged lessons for you.

But you chose not to go
and simply roamed around!


Have you ever dreamt
of playing at a concert, Dad?

In my youth, I performed at weddings
along with friends. Just for fun.

My father passed away.

So, I started this trade.

Somehow, I feel like going
to the Carnatic Academy...

and performing there, Dad.

Because you had to deliver his instrument,
you got to see that grandeur.

If you were alone,
you wouldn't have made it!

Why is that, Dad?

If we played well,
they'd invite us too, right?

Listen, Peter...

They perform rituals to
Nandi, the statue of a cow.

But when a cow dies,
they call you or me.

All they want is the skin.

And, all we need is work.

If we are outside,
our business will survive.

If we go in,
the door will be shut.

I will break that door and enter!

You're speaking after witnessing
one of Vembu Iyer's victory.

I have seen hundreds
of failed mridanga artists!

Listen to me. They can't even afford
to buy the skin for their instruments.

Listen to me, Peter.

I have a small life.

You are all I have.

We must be happy!

Some good skin has come over.

We can make five mridangas
out of it with an excellent tone.

The class was excellent, sir.
See you.

-Alright. Keep practicing.

I'd like to meet Mr. Palakkad Vembu Iyer.

Who are you?
Do you have an appointment?

No. He knows me.

You won't get any donations, kiddo.
Get going.

No donations, sir.
I delivered a mridanga to him.

-You're Johnson's son?

Do you need the autorickshaw fare?

No. I wish to learn to
play the mridanga from him.


Carnatic music?



Don't they have a quota for you
at the Government Music College?

Learn music and you can become
a music teacher in a government school.

It's better than before. It pays you well
and you get a pension, as well. Get going!

Go away.

I didn't ask for your advice.

I'll talk to him directly.

Why are you talking so haughtily?

First, you need to get an
appointment from me.

To learn this music,
you need some wisdom.

Do you know any Carnatic
melodies or rhythms?

Tell me if you do.


Get over here.

You play the mridanga.

What is its length and circumference?

Okay, never mind.

Tell me, what material is it made from?

Why are you talking like a big shot!

Even your father speaks to me with
respect. I'll break your teeth!

Get out of here!

Get lost!

His fingers speak to me!

He is playing from the heart!

Who is this boy?
Where is he from?

He's a jobless kid.
A lazy, good-for-nothing!

Johnson, the mridanga seller.
That's his son.

Johnson's son!
No wonder!

You don't need to teach
a fish how to swim.

He's drunk! Low class, as well.
Don't speak to him.

Hold this!

Get over here.

Thanks, bro!



I am your biggest fan!

You are the superstar of mridanga!

-Tell me.
-Whenever you are set to perform...

please let me know about it.

I will start
"The Universal Vembu Iyer Fan Club."

So that, I can arrange
a gigantic banner of you

whenever you perform.

Do you hear that, Mani?

He'll set up a banner of me!

What else?

I wish to learn to play
the mridanga from you.

I wish to be the best in the world.

The best?
That can't happen.

-Why is that, sir?
-Because I'm the best!

Yes. You are the best.
I wish to become the next best thing.

-Please bless me.
-Get up!

You are Johnson's son.

You can do whatever
you want on the street.

-But this is a temple. Got it?
-Yes. It's a temple.

Only Vembu Iyer's
disciples are allowed here.

You understand that, right?

He who epitomizes this tradition,
is God.


You must play for God.

You need to follow a few rules.

-What do you need to do?
-Follow a few rules.

Yes, rules.
They must be followed.

-They must be followed.
-Yes. They must be followed.

-You can't do that.
-Yes, I can't.

-Exactly! That's it!
-No, sir. I can!




I wish to have your musical knowledge,

I'll do anything for it.

I can play any song after I hear it.

-Are you complimenting yourself?
-Don't lower yourself by talking to him.

-Don't bother.
-Please, sir.

Move aside!

Come here.

This is an art.

First, you need to understand that.

You need to undergo a penance.

You need to give up wealth, name, fame
and hobbies to accomplish it.

Twelve hours a day.

One thousand days.

Three years.

Keep practicing.

Only then will your fingers
begin to speak...

little by little.
You understand that, right?


Be it a thousand days or ten years,
I'll be there at your house.

-He doesn't seem to give up--

You heard it from him, didn't you?
He won't accept you as a disciple.

Get going!
Beat it!

I won't disturb you at all.

I just want to be around...

when you are teaching them to play.
That's all, sir.

That's a good omen.

Oh no, sir!
Please don't let him in!

-When is Vijayadasami?
-It's on the 22nd of June.

-Vijay's birthday. Wonderful day!

Okay, come home.



He's just a little boy.

He's battling for life.

I don't have Rh negative blood.

Why don't you ask the family
to organize a blood drive?

She's from out of town.

-What can I do about that?
-She's alone.

Do you know of any professional donors?

That will cost a lot of money.

Here you go.

The place exudes an electrifying feeling,
doesn't it?


-It would be epic, wouldn't it?
-I would have donated all my blood!

So would I!

Son, Allah will
always keep you happy.

You don't have to discontinue
the German classes because of me.

The "German Shepherd, Heineken" jokes!
Everyone misses you.

Don't you miss me?

So, did you donate blood for me
or for your idol Vijay?

I'm not like how I used to be.
I have a new love.

Mr. Vembu Iyer.
He's my guru.

I'm learning classical music from him.

Isn't classical music deemed holy
and kept within bounds of temples?

How did they let you in?

You don't need permission
to follow your passion.

I came to learn German.
You didn't like me.

You kept me aside
as if I were an outpatient!

I still haven't admitted you.

I heard that your fan club was
involved with the blood donation camp.

That's why I called you.

Why did you take it?

Hold this.
Did you ask me?


Listen to it at home.

All songs are in there?

Here you go.

Where is it?
Where did it go?

Check the floor.

It must be down there.

Find it!

Is this the bead?

What is this?

What's that?

It's from the Himalayas.

-It's jewelry!
-Not at all.

-Something powerful.

Hey! Leave it.

Don't touch it!

Move aside!

Oh God...

-Did you find it?
-Yes, sir.

Who found it?

It's so unique.

Like a brain.

Do you like it?

Keep it.

Now that it's with you,
you can't eat meat or drink liquor, okay?

Play it harder!

Hold on!

Play it!

Play it well!

Stop it!
You guys go ahead.

Go ahead.

Play it!

You wretch!
What's wrong with you!

What are you glaring at?

Get away from here!

Keep playing!

Put some ice on it, son.

Use this.



Did you call me?

Despite our best efforts, if a student
can't learn,

we have the right to be angry.

But you are torturing him.

The other day, you boxed his ears.

Then, you kicked him.
Today, you hit him with a stone.

If his finger is fractured,
how will he achieve the tone?

He simply cannot get that, sir.

Nothing's getting into his head.

How do you know that?

Am I not the one teaching him?

If the sculpture doesn't emerge,
the sculptor needs patience.

I have all the patience in the world.

His hand certainly does speak.
I'm not denying that.

But his brain cannot understand that.

What is it, Mani?

Are you angry at him
or jealous of him?

Remember when you first
started playing the mridanga?

Don't push it, sir.

Please don't compare me with him.

Well, Mani...

Passing our knowledge to others,
is our duty. Don't forget that.

If so, try teaching him yourself.

Are you challenging me?

Are you really challenging me?

I gave you a chance
to perform at a concert!

No one called you after that.

Just to help with your sustenance,
I gave you a job here.

Don't take advantage of that!


I accept that I'm not
as talented as you are.

But I know how hard it is to
deal with dunderheads like him in class!

And, I know only to bask in the
applause and adulation on stage.

He is the one who teaches, right?

You're misunderstanding everything, sir!

Things have gone bad
after he has entered this place.

If he comes to class,
I will no longer be here.

I will not be here!

Then go!

-What are you saying, sir?
-Get lost!

Sir... sir!

What are you saying, sir?



Look at what he's saying, aunty!

For how many years,
have I slaved away here, aunty?

He's tossing me away,
in favor of that drunk rogue!

If he does this to me,
where will I go?

I have nothing!

Oh no! I have absolutely nothing!

You won't amount to anything.
Not a damn thing!

You will just wilt away!

And you'll take him down with you!

The both of you will be ruined!

What the hell are you doing!

It's falling apart.

You're playing just fine.

But the rhythm's still going.
Why do you rush?

Do you want to catch a train?

Are you hungry?

Why are you swallowing it midway?

Carry on.

Why the rush?

Do you want to become an engine driver?

Go and drive the Rajdhani Express!

What are you smiling at?

Go on!


Like a broken record, how do you keep
making the same mistake time and again?

Mani was right!

The five of you are torturing me!

Do whatever you want!

What's wrong?

I get it!

It's in my head
but it just doesn't reach my hand!

It's easy when he says it.
But it is hard to play it.

Stop blabbering.
You're playing just fine.

You entered this place after me
and you are playing so well.

You're doing well, as well.


What do you know about this art?

You're cruising without knowing anything.

I screwed up!
Such a numskull!

I should just go back to Harvard!

-I'm just crap.
-Stop it. You're doing fine!

I've inquired
in every single association.

Did they ask why you haven't
played solo for years?

Did they ask for a letter
of recommendation from Vembu Iyer?

Did they ask you to play
along with the students?

I can't take it anymore, Anjana.

I need 10,000 rupees.
For the rent.

That man hasn't called you, has he?

I knew this would happen.

You have no sense, man!

I'll make you an icon!

Take you straight to the top!

Please be seated.

But to do that,
you must step on a few heads.

Are you ready for that?

Vembu Iyer. He didn't respect
my honesty and talent--

Hey! An old, stingy crackpot!

Tell me.
What are you going to do?

He needs to admit that it was a mistake
to kick me out of the house!

He must let me back in!

Good grief!
He's still there!

In tonight's show,
I'll make you a scorer.

In one year,
I'll make you a judge.

Without playing a single tune,
I'll make you a pundit! Come!

-What brings you here at this hour?
-I got it, sir.


Is the rhythm fine, sir?

It's perfect, man!

The train isn't racing.
It's gently coming to the train station.

Very good.

How can you wake me up
in the middle of the night...

and just leave like nothing happened.
Hold on.



My God!

You're rocking it!

I feel so blessed watching this!

One more thing.

Let's head to a coffee shop.

Stop right here!

Go ahead, sir.


The songs are so humble.

Indeed, sir.

-You understand that, right?
-Yes, sir.

-What did you understand?
-Carnatic music is great.

What else did you understand?

I attend concerts like that
and improve my knowledge.

You fool!

You must play at a concert.

I must listen to it!

Hey, Mr. Vembu! How are you?
Haven't seen you in a while!

I haven't seen you at Thiruvaiyaru.
Are you busy?

-Is everyone fine at home?

You're not even calling me...

in the Nama Sankirtana.

-How is the beat constructed?
-Did you find your purse?


How did you get here?

I just got done with work.

What are you doing here?

Did you come to ogle at girls?

Or to create a ruckus for Vijay?

I'm not like how I used to be.
I've really changed.

You've truly changed!


Does he know about the "German Shepherd
and Heineken beer" stories?

No, he does not!

Does he know that you
were following me around?

When did I do that?

Sir, he is an excellent cook!

-His beef cuisine is out of this world!

You had a lot of guts
while you were following me.

You've turned into a frightened cat now.

I am interested in music
because of you.

That's why I'm
attending music classes.

I'm sorry I didn't come to see you.
Please forgive me.

You are an important person in my life.

I think about you every day!

-I swear!

I think about you, as well.

Have some. You'll feel better.

Scorer Mani, what's your view?

Sangeetha Samrat.
What we seek here, is truly new.

The rhythm of Tamil Nadu!

Check that out!
Look at how he's playing.

He's ruining it!

It's easy to stand and comment.

If you get on stage, you will know
the difference between a hero and a zero.

I don't know anything about music.

But it was nice to hear you.

You were neither like a Vodafone pug
nor a German Shepherd.

You were a lion on stage!

Why do you always
compare me with animals?

We're handling this talent hunt.

-You rocked the stage, as well.
-Thank you.

If you get on TV,
you'll really go places!

But this is Carnatic classical music,
as well.

In fact, it is not aired here.
It's aired in the U.S.

The program is called
U.S. Sangeetha Samrat.

With your style and personality,
your name and reputation will skyrocket!

Think about it.

If you win this reality show,

it could be a new beginning
of your musical career in America.

If Mr. Mani finds out,
he will be mad at us!

Come on, buddy.

I just want to play.

Take care of my mridanga.

The air-conditioner might mess up
the timbre.

Everyone's here, ma'am.

There are only five minutes left
for the next segment.

Who is the next contestant?

Nandu. Nandagopal.
He's here!

-What's your name?
-Peter Johnson.

He's from Harvard
but looks nothing like it.

-You can do a sound check.

-This way.

Come on. Wear it.

See how handsome you look!

What's this?

Yes! Every politician
and artist looks like this!

This is the style of Tamil Nadu.

-Will this be aired in Tamil Nadu?

Oh no! Mr. Vembu might watch it!

Didn't you tell him about this?

Oh no!
You'll incur the teacher's curse!

Play on the left, Peter.

A little more on the left.

Play on the right.

Okay, play on both.

You have successfully completed
the first rhythm round!

What do the judges have to say?

Pitch-perfect timbre!

Where are you from, Peter?

I'm from Kabali Thottam.

Carnatic music from Kabali Thottam.
Wonderful! How did that happen?

We made this mridanga
in our workshop.

Wow! How did you transition from
making a mridanga to playing one?

Since the age of four,
I have been playing drums.

Now, I'm learning Carnatic music
from Mr. Vembu Iyer.

Padma Vibhushan Vembu Iyer.

What a progressive thing he's done!

Truly remarkable!


That's just hilarious!

Sir, he's just the manservant
in that house!

-Is that so?

I do learn music from him.


Who's telling the truth?
You or him?

Hold on a second!

He, who manufactures pens,
cannot be like Bharathi, the poet.

He, who makes cricket bats,
cannot be like Sachin Tendulkar.

Just like that, he who makes mridangas,
cannot play it like us!

If he is a true disciple of Vembu Iyer,
ask him to play the five beats cycle.


He dropped the beat!

He hasn't taught me the beat cycle yet.

He hasn't taught you the beat cycle yet!

It was a good attempt.
It's okay. Don't worry.

You didn't progress to the next round,

When great artists like Vembu Iyer
teach music for money,

such things are bound to happen.

But, I'm not sure if it's the teacher's
fault or the student's fault.

Only you can answer that.
But there is one thing for sure...

Talent is the only thing
that earns respect in this show.

Listen up.

I came for a sound check with Nandu.

Why are they needlessly bashing
Mr. Vembu?

Don't air this.
Got it?

I can't do anything about it.

Brother, Mani. Please explain it to her.


Am I your "brother?"

You silently stood by,
while I was tossed out of class that day!

You will never get into music.
It's not in your blood!

That old fool doesn't realize it!

How dare you speak about him like that?

Damn you!

You and that mean old man!

Telecast this!

Let everyone watch it!
Vembu Iyer's reputation will be destroyed!

Air this and I'll burn down the studio!
Let me go!

-Throw him out of here!
-I'll break your teeth!

You scoundrel!

-Let go of me!
-Throw him out!

Hey, come on!

Get lost!

We got several calls from
the police. They were looking for you.

Did you break your thumb?


Abhirami, get the first aid box!

How will you play now?
How will you find the tone?

You won't!

-They insulted you, sir!

You know Mani and his sister.

And you went there
and brought me shame!

I already told him once in the past.

How he should never go after
money, fame, and TV.

I told you too, didn't I?

I didn't go there, sir.

Is that so?

Who went there?

Lying to my face, are you?

I made the biggest mistake
by letting you in!

Don't ever tell anyone
that you're my disciple!


You have no right to that claim!

Get out!

-Go away.

Get lost!


Sir, this boy belongs to our fan club.

A good child from a
decent Christian family.

He helps a lot!

He has totally wrecked
the channel office.

The cameras and hard
disks are missing!

Don't you know that this is a false case?

He messed up with a powerful channel
that has a political pull!

What if they turn up with video evidence?

Look at the crowd outside.
The press will escalate this.

It's an attempted murder!

He'll be in jail for at least three
months. I can't do anything about it.

It's a law and order issue.

Then it will become a caste issue!

They will turn up en masse!

Even I won't be able to control it.

Is that a threat?
You run a fan club or a political party?

Oh no!
Just a friendly advice, sir.

Isn't the party successful
because of our fan club?

Please use your authority as a cop
and help this boy.

You're bothering the hell out of me!

Listen up. If this kid's here,
these guys will attack him.

And, he'll strike back.
This thing will spiral out of control.

He shouldn't be in the city.
Keep him away from here for a few days.



We're almost there.

Hello Vetri!
Two cups of tea, please.

What's up, Johnson?
I haven't seen you here in a while!

You're famous in Chennai, right?

Raked in a lot of cash, right?

Don't get started!

I have barely enough to cover my expenses.
No savings at all.

The cost of living is
high over there, right?

Who's the kid?
Is he from Chennai?

He's my son!
He's come to learn the trade.

Hey kiddo, don't ever forget
this village's traditions and customs.

-I'll see you later, Vetri.


Am I a baby?
Why is he serving me with a plastic cup?

He served me with a plastic cup, as well!

Do you get what he's trying to say?

Listen up.

The British brought tea, glass cups
and plastic cups to this village.

He's using that to
showcase caste superiority.

-You should have slapped him!
-Let it be.

Why do we have so many
problems in the city! Damn!

Our load will never get lighter.

-Do you remember me?
-Hey, Johnson!

-How are you?
-I'm fine. Come, let's eat!

-Let's head inside!
-I'm doing well.

Eat well, Peter!

-Try the crab. It's tasty.
-Eat well, son.

Hey... pass me the glue.

Okay, I'll give it to you.


Hey, Peter!
Why didn't you tell me you were coming?

What's wrong?

It seems like a bad case of flu!
And fever, as well!

Nothing at all.
Get me some water.

What the hell did you do!

Didn't you take
care of your dad?

He must have had a lot of liquor!

Oh stop!
Why are you scolding him?

Nothing happened.

I met my old gang of
friends after a long time.

We partied all night.
We had a lot of fun.

I am down with fever.

A bowl of hot soup
should make me feel good.

I got a lot of work to do.

Please make me some soup.

You don't have to work.
Get some rest.

There's a lot of work left undone.
Did anyone come by?

No one turned up.

After Mr. Vembu kicked him out,
no one showed up here.

Only cops came by
once a week for kickbacks.

I get out of this case only
with high-level influencers.

I don't know anybody.

We can't ask Mr. Vembu, as well.

How is he?

He's got no problems.

He'll often snap at me, saying that I play
like a machine and walk out of class.

Is your hand speed coming along well?

I don't know if he's praising me
or chewing me out.

Did you tell him the truth?

What do you mean?

I came to the show
because you asked me to.

You are saying this
because you lost!

What's the new plan?

Playing in the street or in a mall,
is not a big deal at all.

You need some talent to play on
that stage in front of icons.

I kept my mouth shut so that you wouldn't
get into trouble with Mr. Vembu.

Did I ask you to play?

You know the truth.
So do I.

You snitched on me!

With your high-end English,
you pretended to be my friend...

and screwed me over, right?

You're a legend, man!

You're a better actor than Vijay!


My mom named me Peter Johnson...

So that I can teach a
lesson to schmucks like you.

The icons you speak about...
The guys over here...

I'll show them what I'm made of.

Right here. Right now.


Did you notice the crowd today?

The hall was just overflowing with people.

The public will turn up,
if anything is free in Chennai.

No doubt, sir.

But, if anyone else were to do this,

there wouldn't be much of a turnout.

Unlike you, they don't take shots
at our tradition.

More than your music, they turn up
just to hear you spew controversy.

Rumors of your retirement
are spreading on Twitter.

But to put the lid on that,

you performed your signature tune
and shut them all up!

Isn't it, Nandu?
He really aced that tune today, didn't he?

Yes, sir.

The rest of it was crap, right?

I didn't mean it that way, sir.

But if you were going to sing
new songs rather than the old ones,

give me a list of it, ahead of time!


I can't plan every minute detail.

In a dash of spontaneity,
an artist tends to improvise!

The public wish to listen
to all kinds of new stuff.

They come here to listen to my songs.

If they're here to just hear you sing,
why don't you sing alone?

Why did you call me?


You are in another world.

The association didn't
want to book you.

They said that you're hard to deal with.

Because I trust that you still have
the timbre in your fingers...

I let you have one
in every ten concerts.

Stop the car.

I must tolerate you on stage.

But in here, I don't have to.

Drop him off at home.
I'll find my way back.

Didn't mom tell you to take rest?

Why are you doing this!
Here you go! Drink this!

A buyer has no patience.

If you don't deliver on time,
they'll tear you apart.

Step aside.
I'll do it.

Step away. I got this.
Have this medicine.

Take the glass and move aside.

-Be careful with this one.

I got it. Go!

-Oh man...
-Be careful.

It doesn't seem right.

Just a minute, sir.

Where did you hide this?

My son made it.

Your son made it!
It's wonderful!

I'll take it!

1,000. 2,000.
3,000. 4,000.

8,000 rupees!

Where's my instrument?

They rejected the
instruments that I made!

But they bought the instrument
made by your son!

-You don't have to go to the soup store!

-You sold my instrument?

Are you crazy?
Give it to me!

Where are you going?



There's a problem here!

-A little mix-up! That's mine.

-Please give it to me.

-We bought it!
-Please don't get me wrong.

Why did you bring it back?

What the hell are you doing!

This is my instrument!
I made it so that I can play it.

Others must play
the instrument you make!

It must give them a break!

Hence, we will have buyers
and our business will grow.

I don't want that.
I just want to play.

You damn wretch!

He's turning away the wealth
that can save us all!

What did we do in this life
to be stuck with a son like him?


Just sitting around and doing nothing,
he has ruined my livelihood!

Hey! I need to play!

Are you a lunatic?

Give it back to him
and get the money!

He wants to play, he says!
Who the hell can make that happen!

Ask him to leave!

Don't stand here!
Get lost!

What a swag!

He's back!

Really bummed, bro!

Come here and have another round.

Hey... Peter.


-Yes. Wear your shirt.
-Yes. Wear your shirt.



Hey, Johnson!

Come here!


Come here!

Hey, Johnson!

Come here!

Call Johnson!
Call him!

Please call Johnson!

-Why did I give birth to you?
-Call him!

Call him.
Come here, Johnson!

Just because you've done
this for generations...

should I be doing the same thing?

Have you got it engraved somewhere?

If you don't know how to play,
then don't play!

Who's asking you to play?

Who the hell are you!
Why are you telling me not to play?

I will perform.

Do you know who I am?

A maestro of the mridanga!

Peter Johnson!

Do you want to hear me play?

Come out and hear it!


Won't you do it?

Stop the vehicle!


What are you doing?

-Why did you come here?

What's the point of my life?

Am I ever going to play?

Or will anyone even ask me to play?

Peter Johnson is useless!

You don't need to see the last chapter
of a drunkard's life, Sara. Let me die.

If you're scared, you can leave.

Here's your sandwich...

What is it?

I made a lot of mistakes.

Mr. Vembu will never take me back.

He hates me!

Everyone in my house hates me!

I've become useless!

I still believe in you!

That's why I'm here.



What is it?

Did your folks ask about me?

A few of them did.

Didn't you say you'd be back tomorrow?

I didn't say that.

Couldn't you have woken me up?

I wouldn't have embarrassed
myself in front of her.

She's poking fun at me.

Go and tell her.
The two of us are...

The two of us are...

Do we even know what we are?

I have a strange feeling...

that you're not with me.

Your heart is somewhere else.

I know.

I know how important
you are in my life.


I keep hearing something else.

I am somewhere else!


Look at that.

What is he doing?

Chopping vegetables.

That is the primary rhythm.
He's playing eight beats.

That's all I hear, Sara.

This whole world is beating, Sara!

My life, heart and body
are all beating in rhythm!

If I just found a teacher...


Why seek a teacher in
a mere, mortal world?

There are so many teachers
around you!

The falling rain.
The soaring birds.

The fallen leaf.

The gusty wind.

The roaring wave.

They teach you
rhythm, don't they?

The world is calling out to you,
to teach you rhythm!

Go and find your rhythm!

Each of you will get 10 people.

I'm going away for a while
to learn music.

Take it.

-Win it!

Come on.


Where do I find Sadanam Vasudevan,
the chenda player?

He's over there.
On the left.

Where and how--

Are you decorating your instrument?

Hurry up.
Let's practice a new rhythm.


I'm a little unwell.

-I'll be back...
-I just finished singing hymns.

Don't test my patience.
Come on.


I discontinued that Ph.D program
in the Harvard University...

to accomplish something
as a mridanga artist.

That's what I said that day!

For at least three years,
you must strive!

You need passion and hard work

to make a name for yourself in the
concert circuit. That's all you need!

On your behalf,
I've given a letter of recommendation...

to the Carnatic Academy.

They've announced the list.

I don't know if you are aware of it.

Neither you nor I
have a slot this year.



Get me the phone.
I need to call the secretary!

What's the point of doing this right now?

For the first time in 50 years,
you haven't been booked to play.

The letter you gave me is
not valid in the association.

I intend to sign up for that reality show.
Sangeetha Samrat.

The beauty of Carnatic music
comes alive at a concert.

Its depth and its wonder--

I'm aware of all that, sir.

But I'm afraid...

that my life would be ruined.

You've earned a lot of fame
and accolades. You have it all!

The winners of this program
in the past couple of years...

have been given slots
at the Carnatic Academy.

I'm going, sir.

What is this?
Get up!

So, you admit defeat?


Get going!

It's a competition, everywhere!

Nandu, Mani and everyone else
have lost their minds!

Why should I mind this!

In your troupe...

you go one step beyond them

by performing your instrument
to show off your talent.

-Don't you?

Right. That's done to
showcase the rhythm,

to indicate who is important
in the percussion pecking order,

and to show who the king is!
That's why I play it like that!

Isn't that a competition, as well?

Can't that competition be aired?

Won't that music reach everyone?

What do you know about music?

I don't know anything.

I just suggested that you should
change to keep up with the times.

You're scared!

You're afraid of being alone
in this house at this age!

I'm not scared of anything.

I will go to a retirement home.

But to whom will you pass
on your musical wealth?

The knowledge that was amassed
after years of research and discovery!

Shouldn't everyone be able to enjoy it?


Arguing for Peter, are you?

Didn't you say that he
was your ardent devotee?

He has a lot of wisdom.

He worships you a lot!

I've said all I have to say!
Now you can do as you wish!


Hello, sir.

Have a seat.


after all that has happened...

I never thought you'd ever visit me.

It was all my fault.

Peter has given you a lot of trouble.

Where is he?

I'm in class right now, Dad.
I'll call you.

What is this, man?

What rhythm are you learning there?




Didn't you say that
if the finger's broken,

one cannot find the tone and play?

This is my belief.

Where is your self-confidence?



Mr. Vembu Iyer from Chennai
wishes to speak to you.

How are you doing?

What good deed must I have done
to hear from the iconic Vembu Iyer!

Nothing much.
That boy is an old disciple of mine.

The boy is talented.

It would take him five years.

So, let him know,
that I will prepare him for this.


Don't cry, man!

Stop crying, Peter!

Can I come back to learn from you,

Come and perform!

With all your heart and soul,
you must practice day and night...

and win the
Sangeetha Samrat competition!


Shall I come, sir?


You must try even harder.

Practice day and night!

Keep practicing.

That was a cortisone shot.
It requires rest.

I'm not saying that.
It's a medical order.

Clinically, even Beethoven was deaf.

Didn't he compose music
with all his heart?

The mind is bigger than the body, Sara.

You've become a real genius!

But when the hand hurts,
don't cry out for me. Okay?

Only if I play with this pain,
will I win.

Only then...

can we walk together joyfully.


Practice with all your heart!

Destroy all of them!
I'll pray for you.

Toss him out!

I'll hit you.

Lay a hand on him
and you're done for!

Hey kiddo...

Peter Johnson, right?

You've qualified, right?

Go over to the set.

-Come on.

What are you doing, Anjana?

He destroyed my life.
Don't let him in!

Above family, love, revenge and zeal,
there is something bigger in TV, brother.

Do you know what that is?

The voice of the people.

We should always listen to it.

Think about it.

"Local thug participates
in the Sangeetha Samrat reality show!"

Social media will be on fire!

The show will go to the stratosphere!

Welcome to the grand finale
of 7-UP's Sangeetha Samrat!

We've come to the
final act of Season 3.

After many rounds,
two, different contestants...

but deserving contestants
have made it to the finals.

So, in a few minutes,
we'll know the winner.

Come on.

In our grand finale,
we have two rounds.

This is the first round.

I can tell the difference.

As far as I know,
both are the same.

They played exactly alike.

Yes, sir! Peter just
copied Nandu's style!

You know where Peter
came from, right?

-And he plays so well. It's great!

Halfway through,
I hadn't even begun the grading.

Before that, he just
casually gave a 10 to Nandu!

Or maybe, you heard
something that we didn't!

Aren't both students
of Palakkad Vembu Iyer?

Not at all!
Nandu is my student!

I have revamped his style!

So that's why you graded
your student generously?

Not at all!
Nandu is a Harvard graduate.

He was a brilliant student.

What does Harvard have to do with this?

That's not it, sir.
Amongst us, I'm the mridanga expert.

His fingering techniques
are remarkable!

-Oh, really?

You're really trying to influence
the judging process, sir.


We've performed at concerts.
We know what we're looking for.

We want originality in a performer.

In my opinion, this is a tie.



We are looking to see if one can play
something new.

Playing only what is taught,
is worthless.

The next round, will be about
originality in performance.

-Yes, sir.

Do you remember the first pattern
that I taught you?

Which one, sir?

-The next one...
-I can't remember it, sir...

What's this! You've played
it 40 times in front of me!

Okay, listen to me.

This is what you performed in 1973,
at the Semmangudi concert in Bangalore.

Do you remember that?

He uploaded all your concert recordings
in the computer and analyzed them.

Your ideas are unique only
between 1965 and 1973.

After that, your patterns
have repeated themselves.

You've been riding on tried
and tested beats time and again.

But I've loaded all of that
into Nandu's brain.

Even if Peter starts strong,
Nandu will finish it like a computer!

Without playing at a single concert,
you stole my work.

-And, you have the gall to participate!
-We are not here to participate.

-We are here to win.
-Shut it.

To the audience, this is a contest
between Nandu and Peter.

But, in reality...

this is a war between you and me.

You are an esteemed icon now.

But sooner or later, your name
and your music will be forgotten.

And today, in your domain,
Nandu will win.

Hence, I will win!

Let's get away from this old bag!

What is this, sir?

Let him say what he wants!

Play exactly what I taught you...

and save my legacy.

Come on.
Go on.

The finale of 7-UP's Sangeetha Samrat
is in a dicey situation

because both the finalists competed to
a draw in the first round of the finale.

Well, they both scored the same points.

So, the judges have called
for a second round.

The specialty of this round,
is originality.

Play what genuinely comes from the heart.

You wretch!

Get lost!

He says that he wants to play.
Who the hell can make that happen!

Ask him to leave!

Let's dance!

Let's dance!

Let's dance!

Let's dance!

We know who is the
winner of the contest...

because we're always listening
to the voice of the people.

Despite that, the protocol
states that we should ask the judges.

So, who is the winner of Season 3
7-UP Sangeetha Samrat?

Peter Johnson.



You have won!



Did you forget everything
that I taught you?

You played without thinking.

My mind just went blank, sir.

When will that time arrive?
Your folks made mridangas for generations.

When will that sheer longing
within you unleash a performance...

through your fingers?


I don't know if you're
praising me or scolding me!

What I understood today...

is that Carnatic
music is not a well.

It is a waterfall!

It will stop for nothing.
It will just keep running!

The new drops of rain
that fall upon it...

those little streams...
all become the river...

and reaches the ocean
known as music.

Yes, sir.

Today, you crossed the
limits of the mridanga...

and played something so unique.
You saved my legacy!


You are the heir to my music!

You are the one.