Sarpatta Parambarai (2021) starring Arya and directed by Pa. Ranjith is about a young boxer in the North Madras of the 1970s. The director has succeeded in recreating the scenes, costumes and political undercurrents in the society of the era, a big kudos to him for that. Coming as a traditional boxer Kabilan, Arya has given a phenomenal performance, next to Madrasapattinam (2010) he has bagged a film that will be remembered. The film was released on Amazon Prime Video and gets a mangoidiots rating of ‘Ripe’.
The film traces the struggle of a sportsman from a poor background who succeeds despite the hardships and the treachery of people around him. Even though it is a familiar story the film keeps us entertained due to an engaging screenplay and brilliant casting for the roles. Pasupathy as the elderly coach fighting for his legacy, and Anupama Kumar as the loving mother afraid of losing her son to the same wrong habits as her husband, bring to life their respective characters. Following them, I was impressed with Dushara Vijayan as Mariyamma (Kabilan’s wife), Shabeer Kallarakkal as ‘Dancing’ Rose and Vettai Muthukumar as Thaniga (Uncle of Raman, a rival of Kabilan) – each of these characters play a pivotal part (good and bad) in the life of Kabilan and it is a welcome change in Kollywood to see these being given to upcoming actors.
Before the climax, Kabilan who is at his lowest point in life breaks down and cries to his mother, in that scene Arya makes our eyes water a little, fine acting by him. I liked the way, Mariyamma’s character has been cast – as an open, bold, caring yet pragmatic lady – she is not your typical light-skinned & glamorous heroine of Tamil cinema, yet she was attractive and lovable.
Because of the pandemic and the restrictions, I suppose the crew didn’t have the luxury to create more locations for the shooting, after some time the training ring, boxing ring, Kabilan’s house, harbour coal depot and the clock tower become repetitive settings. Due to the chosen period for the story which was the emergency time in India, and many of the characters were shown belonging to DMK, the then (and now) ruling party whose leaders were jailed, I was expecting more political messages in the film, thankfully they were limited to signs.
If you don’t mind seeing a common story that runs for three hours, you can enjoy a good cinema with Sarpatta Parambarai.