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Arya on Success of Sarpatta Parambarai

Arya Speaks  To  Subhash  K Jha  On  The  Success of Sarpatta Parambarai

Arya, congratulations. What a dedicated performance  you have  given in Sarpatta Parambarai. Would you  say this is   your most  important  film and  performance  to date?

Oh definitely.  This is most definitely the most  important  film  I’ve done so far.The amount  of  my  time  labour and concentration I’ve  given  to this film, this is by far the most challenging  role of my career.

Arya on Success of Sarpatta Parambarai 1

Sarpatta Parambarai is  a very formulistic  film. And  yet a tremendous amount  of preparation seems to have  gone  into it?

We actually had a 45-day workshop before we started shooting  the  film. During that  time  all of us (the  actors) had  to read  the  script , rehearse  the scenes,get the dynamics  right ,master the  body language of a North Madras boxer (this  was in 1975 when there was no Chennai) and the body language  of dock workers in  Chennai/Madras.We  also had boxers  from 1975   on the sets  to guide us .They came to the workshops  to  share their experiences during that era.

That must have been an amazing experience?

In fact one  of  the  boxers  from that era  played my trainer on  the beach at  the  climax  of the  film.So far  North Chennai’s boxing culture was shown in a  very bad light in our films. These men were  often shown  to be  rowdies  and  criminals whereas in real life they treated  boxing a as a religion.All these  boxers  in North Chennai were  from the fishing community.

Did you  actually shoot the  film on location at this  fishing village of boxers?

It’s actually part of Chennai . I grew up there myself. I completely  believed  in  what we were making.  In fact me,Ranjith Sir and  another  person are co-producers  of  Sarpatta Parambarai.

The  period details  are never overdone?

Actually  Ranjith Sir and I were very clear that  the  period aspect should not  overpower  the  plot . The  period details should be organic , not emerge  from the  foreground material.

The actress who plays  you wife  Dushara  Vijayan is  quite  a firecracker?

Ha  ha yes, she  just killed it.  Can you believe  this is  her  first film?

You’ve been in  several  hits  in the past. Where do you place  Sarpatta Parambarai?

It’s  a game-changer for my career. I never expected it would go this far. It’s all thanks to the Amazon platform. OTT  has  made  cinema in  the South accessible to  North Indian  viewers.I think this  is the biggest success of my career. Because of this   film I’m talking to  you. I’ve done so many  films in the past. But  this is  the first time  you reached out to me.

 That’s true  . Do you think the OTT platform gave  Sarpatta Parambarai a wider platform?

It did, specially during these  times(of Covid). I don’t think audiences  would have seen it  in the theatres in these  numbers . Even  in  the theatres, unless you are a superstar  you will  never have  the kind of  reach in theatres  provided by  the OTT platform .

Another  pugilistic  film Toofan  released  on Amazon the same day as  your Sarpatta Parambarai. Did  you watch it. What  did you  think of it?

Yes I saw  it. I think even  Farhan Akhtar has worked really hard  on  getting the body language  and the  boxing moves right. I love  all boxing films like Raging  Bull, Cinderella Man. Actually I  have  been a sports  lovers  from my  school days.It was  my  dream to do  a sports  film, any sport. When  I  got Sarpatta Parambarai it  was  dream come true  for me.  I  watch  a lot of football and cricket matches. I am a huge football fan.Every day I watch  at least three hours  of football.  I watch more football than movies. It’s my life’s biggest  pleasure.

Were you at all familiar with  boxing  before  doing this  film?

Oh yeah  yeah. I love boxing .  I had taken it up as a sport  long before I  did this  film. I never   knew one  day I’d actually get to play a boxer.

So Sarpatta Parambarai was a dream come true?

I actually chased  down the  script.I knew director Pa Ranjith  had a boxing script which he  wanted to make for  the  longest time. I sent  him a  message through  an actor whom we  both know, saying I was interested  in doing the  film. He took some  time  to  make up his mind. Finally he agreed.

Now you can’t  go back to running around trees?

(laughs) Ha ha there aren’t too many trees to run around.I’d like to keep  up to the standards I’ve set  for  myself. But it’s hard to get a role like Sarpatta Parambarai.

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