Sarpatta Parambarai Movie Review Rating: 4/5 stars (four stars)
Star cast: Pennsylvania. Ranjith
Director: Arya, John Kokken, Kalaiyarasan, Dushara, Pasupathy and ensemble.
What is good: The runtime is almost 3 hours and not for a minute do you feel the film stretch or drag. This in itself is the most significant victory. And, of course, Arya’s flawless performance.
What is bad: Nothing to reduce energy. But there is something that could be done more deeply. We will talk about that below.
Loo Break: it’s on OTT, pause when you go. If this was on the big screen, I wouldn’t have suggested you move even in the intermission.
To look or not ?: LOOK! See what cinema is capable of. See how a sports drama is made. Or just have fun as Arya hits every obstacle in her way.
Idiom: Tamil (with subtitles)
Available in: Amazon Prime Video
It is the 1980s. In northern Chennai, two clans, namely Idiyappa Parambarai and Sarpatta Parambarai, are at odds. Kabilan (Arya), a boxing enthusiast with a dark past with the sport, belongs to the last clan and his mother keeps him away from boxing. When a challenge accepted by his beloved coach in the heat of the moment brings him to the ring, his life changes. What follows is your introduction to the world of being a popular boxer. The Rise, the Fall, and the Resurrection.
Sarpatta Parambarai Movie Review: Script Analysis
Last week I reviewed Toofaan, starring Farhan Akhtar from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. My complaint with the movie was the overcrowding in a runtime which was enough to move me if I focused on limited points that struck the correct chord. Guess who impressed and fell in love with me in that department?
Sports dramas in Indian cinema have a ready pattern and template. What happens when the film breaks the conventional approach and talks about what it takes for a man to break the chains of society and become an athlete is Sarpatta Parambarai. Written by Pa Ranjith, the film is about a boy who always dreamed of becoming a boxer. But her mother’s hatred for the sport did not allow her to achieve it. But what Ranjith is really addressing with his sports drama is a larger context that dominated the landscape at the time.
The era is the 70’s. Indira Gandhi is the Prime Minister who announced the Emergency, while Tamil Nadu wants a free state and doesn’t really want to obey Gandhi’s orders. Pa Ranjith writes his story against this conflict as a backdrop. They introduce us to a mill worker who gets excited like a child when he hears about a boxing match taking place in his village. Run, enter without a fine for influence and we enter the ring with him. What follows is the development of this character as he touches on the various aspects of his life.
Keeping his ambition to become a boxer at the center, Ranjith puts Arya’s Kabilan almost like an onion. He is a man bound by a promise, but when released, he is a beast ready to destroy. But wait, he’s a kid too, because his crises are more childish than an adult’s. But he’s also a kid who’s ready to turn the board when things don’t go according to plan.
The writer writes Kaliban taking a lot of time. What it does best is invest almost half of its runtime in portraying what feeds its protagonist Kaliban. He comes from a marginalized and discriminated community. His father, a boxer, was killed in front of his eyes. Some villagers don’t want their family to get up again. To top it all, poverty and class division have robbed him of many things. As you see, here is a beast that has suffered from all of the things mentioned above. When he’s in a ring, he’s in the position of power, and he only has this moment to roar.
That doesn’t mean that Sarpatta Parambarai is Kaliban’s bleach vanity project. Ranjith makes sure to show what power does to this beast, who until now was an innocent and disciplined man. He, of course, misuses it and soon sees a shock fall. How it rises from this condemnation is the final act.
Sarpatta Parambarai is one of those movies that is not meant to reach a conclusion. It’s about your journey to it. Somewhere you know that Kaliban wins in the end, but what it cost him to get there is important. In my Toofaan review, I said how the writers ended up moving so fast that they didn’t give me time to reverse my emotions. Pa Ranjith’s leadership does full justice to that part. From the longing for Kaliban’s wife, to his mother’s pain, from his mother’s employer, aka dad’s trust in him, to his coach’s great love for him, I was with them through everything.
It is a complete universe outlined by a writer who understands the landscape and does not shy away from addressing its ills. Whether it’s men arguing over politics and uncertainty at a government-abusing crossroads, or villagers taking a normal boxing match so much to their hearts that they literally pray for the opponent’s death.
Yes, something bothered him. While Kaliban’s coming of age is incredibly represented, a critical stage where he really grows up accelerates so much that it takes a while to get back in sync. I’m talking about the jail sequence (you’ll know when you watch).
Sarpatta Parambarai Movie Review: Star Performance
I have only good things to say about each person who graces the screen in Sarpatta Parambarai. Arya at the helm is an actor who has proven his worth with this movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 filmmakers line up outside his residence with similar scripts the day after its release. See a change in body language, form, and physique at least three times in the movie and in the man! he makes sure you notice it. His emotions, punches and gags land at the right time and moment.
Let’s now collectively thank New Age Tamil filmmakers for giving women a voice in the mainstream and not just using them as a glamor quotient. Dushara as Maariyamma is a revelation. From the moment she walks in, she makes sure that Arya’s ample body and flawless acting don’t let hers go unnoticed. What a pleasure it must have been to see them perform live.
John Vijay as Kevin is an instantly likeable character, as is the strict trainer played by Pasupathy. John Kokken gets to play one of the bad men, and he does so to his full capacity as well. I said, I only have good things.
Sarpatta Parambarai Movie Review: Direction, Music
Pa Ranjith is a director who sticks to what he writes and is in no rush to prove his point to the world. He chooses to simmer his broth, and that does wonders for Sarpatta Parambarai. It focuses on Kabilan’s catharsis rather than the world around him. That, in turn, enhances the conversation you want to keep in the background. With the help of his cinematographer, Ranjith creates a visually stunning, period-appropriate universe. The scenery from the costumes to the hairstyle and makeup, all authentic to the core.
It goes without saying that Santhosh Narayanan’s music is perfect and appropriate for the film. Not a beat less or more. The romantic track between Arya and Dushara is blissfully wonderful.
Sarpatta Parambarai Movie Review: The Last Word
When I say make films that talk about a section that is not really educated about their conflict, I mean make more of Sarpatta Parambarai. It is a film that not only talks about a sport, but about who plays it, also about the landscape in which they live. There is so much to decode but also enough to sink your teeth into it. You must watch and marvel at this one.
Sarpatta Parambarai Trailer
Sarpatta Parambara launches on July 22, 2021.
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