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Home»News»What makes Pa Ranjith's Sarpatta Parambarai a ‘different’ boxing film»

What makes Pa Ranjith's Sarpatta Parambarai a ‘different’ boxing film

Sarpatta Parambarai is in a class of its own. The Arya-starrer completes a year and Pa Ranjith releases the making video.

  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 02.44 AM, Jul 23, 2022

What makes Pa Ranjith's Sarpatta Parambarai a ‘different’ boxing film
Arya in Sarpatta Parambarai/Twitter

To commemorate the first anniversary of the release of his boxing drama, Sarpatta Parambarai, director Pa Ranjith put out the making video on social media. Last year, the film streamed on Amazon Prime Video and received positive reviews from both critics and the general public. The film was, indeed, praised for its accurate depiction of the 1970s boxing culture prevalent in North Madras.

Sarpatta Parambarai features Arya in the titular role. While Dushara Vijayan plays the female lead, Sanchana Natarajan, Shabeer Kallarakal, Santhosh Prathap, John Kokken, Anupama Kumar, Pasupathy, Kalaiyarasan, and John Vijay formed the supporting cast. The making video took us into a glimpse of what went into recreating Madras in the 70s. Loosely based on real boxing clans that existed in Chennai, Sarpatta Parambarai follows Arya’s character as he fights to defend the honour of the Sarpatta boxing clan.

Pa Ranjith fills his frames with detailing and memorable characters. Pasupathy takes on Rangan, the exacting coach of the Sarpatta Parambarai clan and a DMK member, while GM Sundar takes on Durai Kannu, the coach of their main opponent, Idiyappa Parambarai. What distinguishes the three-hour film is not only the realism with which it depicts its characters, the appearance of the fights, but also debunks typical boxing movie stereotypes. Kabilan's (Arya) boxing match is intended to empower the entire community and not just his family. However, he first overcame obstacles created by his mind.

Dushara Vijayan plays Mariamma, Kabilan's wife, who becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the amount of time he devotes to the sport. Bakkyam and Mariamma continue to chastise Kabilan, which becomes tiresome after a while. Even though their influence cannot be denied, I wish the women in the film had more to do than lash out at the men in their lives.

Murali G's camera makes you feel like you’re a part of Kabilan’s journey! The performances are outstanding. Arya shines as an innocent boxing fan willing to go to any length for his coach rather than as a fierce fighter inside the ring. He delivers a powerful performance as a heartbroken boxer in a moving scene.

While many Tamil films used the tired trope of the corrupt politician, only a few aspired to a more nuanced engagement with the political landscape. That way, Sarpatta Parambarai has demonstrated that real political history can provide a rich canvas for an entertaining film. Most importantly, the film is not entirely positive about Dravidian politics. While it depicts Dalit participation in the Dravidian movement, it further discusses how caste hierarchies permeate emancipatory politics.

When this film came to Arya, he felt happy, as his dream to do a sports film was fulfilled. The actor, including the other cast members trained rigorously for close to four months under national-level players. They additionally did a workshop to get a hang of the precise dialect of North Madras of the 1970s.

Notably, the Hindi film Toofaan, set in the world of boxing, got released, along with Sarpatta Parambarai at that time. But, the Arya-starrer ended up being different in its treatment and time frame. I was expecting the film to win at least a couple of National Awards this year; sigh.

Sarpatta Parambarai, bankrolled by Ranjith's Neelam Productions and K9 Studios, streams on Amazon Prime Video.