True story of ‘Sarpatta Parambarai’, film cast and why it’s such a fascinating watch

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Sarpatta Parambarai is a Tamil boxing film set in the 1970s in Chennai, and follows the story of Kabilan (Arya), both in the ring and away. Here’s why this version of Amazon Prime needs to be on your watchlist today.

Sarpatta Parambarai story

A staunch supporter of the Sarpatta clan led by coach Rangan Vathiyar (Pasupathy), Kabilan, originally, is destined to watch the games from afar. His mother being violently (and most of the time far too loud) against anything boxing. However, the rivalry between the Idiyappa and Sarpatta clans is a game-changer for Kabilan. He takes on the challenge of defeating the star boxer of the Idiyappa Vembuli clan (John Kokken) for the pride and honor of Rangan.

From this basic premise, the film takes wings. For almost three hours I waited for the film to get loud, long and extremely staged, however, I was taken by surprise. Set against a political backdrop of the emergency period and steeped in the local caste politics of the time, the script has interesting nuances that play out in Kabilan’s story.

Sarpatta Parambarai

Reasons to watch Sarpatta Parambarai –

There are many reasons to watch this movie. Let’s start with the premise of the film – boxing. In the wake of Farhan Akhtar Toofan, Sarpatta Parambarai has similar notes – the underprivileged background, rise, fall, and return of the protagonist – which makes both films equally predictable. Moreover, the training process for the two boxers is similar – in an unconventional setup instead of a fully equipped gym. But where Sarpatta wins hands down is in his portrayal of boxing – the realistic strategies, the discipline in the ring and the pressures and incentives to pull through. Subtle tributes to Muhammad Ali are what sports fans should be looking for. Shabeer Kallarakkal shines as a dancing rose and this fight is a watch. Personally, the English series MMA Kingdom has set a benchmark for cinematography in the ring – Sarapatta is getting close with her brilliant shots.

Sarpatta Parambarai

Sarpatta Parambarai film distribution

The supporting actors did a great job with each of their roles – Daddy AKA Kevin (John Vijay) as Kambila’s father figure; Rangan as a coach and political activist whose discipline, ethics and restraint are his strengths; Mariamma (Dushara Vijayan), who plays Kambila’s wife was a surprise package, especially unlike her constantly crying mother Bakkiyam (Anupama Kumar). Here is a daring, sensual woman who is not afraid to conquer the world or her husband. She is portrayed as someone who does not want to give in to her fate, but rather stands up and takes what is rightfully due to her.


From a production standpoint, it’s great to see how well represented the late ’70s and early’ 80s, right down to color palettes, clothing, and social life in general. Also, a welcome change is to focus on realism rather than greater (often louder) than life, as Tamil cinema tends to be.

Sarpatta Parambarai is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and is worth the three hours you spend on it.



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