'Sarpatta Parambarai' Takes You to a Boxing Ring In 1970s Madras: Arya
Directed by Pa Ranjith Sarpatta Parambarai will be released on Amazon Prime Video on 22 July.
Video Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan
Sarpatta Parambarai will transport you to a boxing ring set in Madras in the 1970s, said actor Arya about his upcoming film. Directed by Pa Ranjith the film will be released on Amazon Prime Video on 22 July. This comes after several films have decided to skip theatrical releases and opt for digital premieres in view of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
The Quint caught up with Arya to discuss the rigorous training he underwent for the role and his experience of working with Pa Ranjith.
The plot of Sarpatta Parambarai is set in North Madras of the 1970s and revolves around a fight between two boxing clans– Idiyappa Parambarai and Sarpatta Parambarai.
Arya is always seen as a romantic hero, sometimes with a dash of comedy and action. In this movie, you have a very different role. Why did you choose this script?
I have wanted to do a sports film for a very long time. I am also very happy to be associated with a Pa Ranjith, a director and a fine technician, who does great films. It was like a dream come true.
It is a great opportunity to work with a director like Pa Ranjith.
After his two movies with Rajinikanth, he is coming with a movie like Sarpatta Parambarai with you, Arya. His movies usually have strong political themes and imagery. What can we expect from this movie ?
All his (Pa Ranjith) movies portray strong political statements and social issues. But in this particular movie, we are trying to tell the stories of different characters in the film. The representation of his political ideas is very minimal.
You’ve had to undergo massive physical transformation for the movie. So what was the training like?
It was very difficult because you need to be muscular but at the same time you need to be very fast and agile for boxing. So it was gym training in the morning hours and boxing training for a few hours in the evening, which was mostly cardio. It was difficult to keep a balance between weight training and the kind of food I eat. And so tough to avoid sweets because that is my weakness.
What kind of research did you do for the role? Did you meet with boxers and how did you manage to learn what was boxing like in the 1970s in Madras?
In the 1970s, the boxers were from the fisherman community. Most of the activities they did were used to develop their body and strengthen themselves to get ready for training. So the main training was with the sea and the things of day to day life. We met a lot of people from the Sarpatta and Idiyappam clans who are very famous even now. We invited a lot of boxers to conduct workshops for us and we have shown this all in the movie. We have shown how the real boxers train till today and what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
How was it to shoot during the pandemic?
We shot half the film before the first lockdown so we had to wait for nine months to shoot the rest. By the time of post production, the second lockdown was imposed. So we survived two lockdowns to finish the film.
Sarpatta Parambarai has a number of supporting artists who really helped bring it together. Even in the trailer, apart from Arya there are many characters who are standing out. In the video put out by Neelam Productions, everyone, not just the hero, trained very hard. How has the experience been?
The movie is not just about me. The characters played by Pasupathy, John Kokken and Kalaiarasan are all very important. Everyone has done justice to the character and performed so well that I felt I wish I could’ve done their characters.
Apart from film shooting and promotions, what have you been upto during this pandemic?
Just sitting at home. Nothing much to do. I just finished shooting for this film and have two more films to go.
Both Sarpatta Parambarai and your previous film Teddy were released on OTT platforms and not in the theatres? How different has the experience been?
At the end of the day, you’ve finished a film and you want the audience to see the film. People are willing to watch movies from any genre or language without any barrier. And if this platform allows us to take the film to a wide variety of audience, they why not?
There has always been the debate about commercial films getting more screen time and art films, getting fewer shows in the theatres. Do you feel that when things are completely opened up the pandemic is far behind us, OTT is the way forward?
Because of OTT, the standard of film making is going to go high, expectations is going to go high and so we need to keep up with that. OTT is pushing us to deliver good movies. Also, this helps us reach people from across the world.
You gave us Madrasapatinam and we cant wait to see you in this film.
What more can we expect from you in the near future?
My upcoming projects are Aranmanai 3 with director Sundar C and
Enemy with my friend Vishal, directed by Anand Shankar which will be a multi-starrer. These two films have been completed. Hopefully I’ll see you guys in the theatre soon.
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