In this fast-changing world, sometimes past is the most re-assuring prop for us. And K Vishwanath's films offer a glimpse of what life was and comes in muted and pastel shades. His films are about believable humans, like you and I, in believable situations. The underlying thread of this rich tapestry is music.
In Swaraabhishekam too, this pattern is maintained, and the only difference being Vishwanath himself gets to play a pivotal role.
Swaraabhishekam is about sibling love and rivalry. It is also about the essence of joint family. It is about values and sentiments that the New World is running away from.
The duo of Srirangam Brothers --- Srinivasachari (Vishwanath), Rengachari (Srikanth) --- are a musical duo. They are the top of the heap as far Carnatic music is concerned. They also move up the ladder in film music. Srinivasachari does not have any children, and he and his wife Rukmini (Urvashi) dote on his younger brother, who is a widower and has two children.
Surekha, a television anchor, has a soft spot for Rengachari and so Rukmini and Srinivasachari help the duo get married.
And here starts the problems; slowly but surely Surekha, singed with envy as Srinivasachari walks away with all the kudos, poisons the mind of Rengachari. When the elder brother alone gets the Padma Sri, the die is cast.
So pressured by his wife, Rengachari walks out on his brother.
The rest of the movie is about how Surekha understands her folly and how Rengachari joins his brother. Interwoven into this tale is the story of a struggling singer (Sivaji) and his love (Amukta).
It is a simple tale told in a straightforward manner. If you are looking for some adrenaline-dripping entertainment then Swaraabhishekam is not for you.
The film has the typical stamp of Vishwanath. He stickss to his tried and tested narrative. But as an actor, he outscores the director. His essential mien suits the character to a T. His presence is comforting and acceptable. Urvashi as his wife is splendid as only she can be.
Srikanth, as the confused younger brother, is good. But he is not authoritative enough. For Laya, this is a very good role and she grabs it with both the hands. She is spontaneous as a jealous sister-in-law and infuses the character with all the right nuances. Sivaji and Amukta present a delightful cameo. They also come across as natural. The cobbler, who gets the brothers a much-needed break, role is pivotal to the film and his role has been performed beautifully by Sridhar.
The biggest hero of the film is of course Vidya Sagar, the music director. It is straight from the top drawer. He has not compromised at any point and given in to the modern-day temptations.
The direction of Vishwanath, though much like the story may be old-styled, is gritty. It underscores life's essential truism: The more the things change, the more they remain the same. It is not a film made to suit images or audiences' preferences. It is a film that has been made because the director has a story to tell.
Swaraabhishekam is about the symphony called life.