SARPATTA PARAMBARAI (Tamil)
Producer: Neelam Productions
Director: P.A. Ranjith
Cast: Arya, John Kokkan, Dushara Vijayan, Santosh Pratap, Pasupathy, Kalaiyarasan , Muthukumar, G.M.Kumar, Anupama Kumar
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
By Jyothi Venkatesh
Essentially, the film by Pa. Ranjith who is known for Rajinikanth movies like “Kaala” and “Kabali” sees the director switching gears to make a sports drama with Arya. The film does not set out to present something by way of novelty but revolves around a community of boxers in the Madras of the 70s of which the titular Sarpatta Parambarai is one of the clans. The primary plot predominantly deals with the rivalry between Sarpatta Parambarai, coached by Rangan (Pasupathy, a former champion, and Idiyappam Parambarai, whose trainer Duraikannu (GM Kumar), was Rangan’s friend during their playing days. If you have seen Farhan Akhtar starrer Toofan last week, this film does not have even an iota of suspense for you and is utterly predictable till the last frame
Sarpatta Parambarai, a local boxing team, is headed by coach Rangan (Pasupathy), who is undoubtedly a veteran who enjoys the distinction of having defeated the British in the boxing ring..Rangan is revered like a god by our film’s protagonist Kapilan (Arya), whose mother (Anupama Kumar) has perennially set out to dissuade him from learning boxing, because Kapilan’s father Munirathnam was a celebrated boxer forced to take to a life of crime to make a living.
Pa Ranjith deftly weaves the political oscillations all through his screenplay, especially when you see Rangan getting arrested and being sent to jail on account of his association with the DMK party. When he gets out of the jail,, he sees that MG Ramachandran has broken away from the mother ship and started his own political party ADMK. When Rangan goes home, he sees a picture of MGR hanging on a wall, since his son Vetriselvan (Kalaiyarasan) has become a staunch follower of the political leader. Ranjith has broken new ground in the genre by simply trying to be mindful of the sport he’s dealing with and his film is by far the best among the few films made on boxing as a sport in Tamil films till date.
Arya excels as Kapilan in the role of the protagonist while John Kokkan proves to be his perfect foil, though unfortunately this is a one dimensional role which does not get much scope to perform. Mention ought to be made of both Anupama Kumar who plays Kapilan’s mother and Dushara Vijayan who plays his spouse Mariamma with aplomb bringing to life their characterizations with effortless ease, though their roles are not long enough to do justice to their presence in the otherwise male dominated film. Pasupathy shines with his underplayed performance as the coach, like Paresh Rawal does in the film Toofan.
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Editing by Selva R.K ought to have been slicker as the film plods on and on often making the viewer restless while what mars the film is the presence of far too many characters who do not add value to the film in any way though in all fairness it is an ode to Madras of the70’s.