Mumbai, Jul 20 (PTI) South actor Arya says working on acclaimed director Pa Ranjith's 1970s-set boxing drama 'Sarpatta Parambarai' was like fulfilling a long-cherished dream of starring in a sports movie.
The Tamil-language period drama revolves around two rival clans -- Idiyappa Parambarai and Sarpatta Parambarai -- in north Chennai and the boxing culture of the region.
Arya, who is best known for his roles in 'Vettai', “Naan Kadavul”, “Madrasapattinam”, “Boss Engira Bhaskaran”, Atlee's family film “Raja Rani”, action-thriller “Arrambam”, is a sports enthusiast in real life. He is an avid cyclist and has also trained in boxing for six years.
'I was an athlete in school and college and I wanted to represent the country in the Olympics, that was my dream as a child. When I saw ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, I was in love with the film and wanted to do a film like this.
'But I didn't have the opportunity to do that in the south because not many sports movies were made here. When this film came (to me), I was very happy as my dream to do a sports film was fulfilled,” Arya, whose real name is Jamshad Cethirakath. told PTI in a Zoom interview.
When he was offered “Sarpatta Parambarai”, the 40-year-old actor said his training in boxing came in handy.
The highlight of the trailer are the high-octane boxing matches, which Arya said he and the other cast members trained rigorously for close to four months under national-level players. They also did a workshop to get a hang of the precise dialect of North Madras of the 1970s.
Before the filming, the actor said the team would train for scenes in the morning and do boxing in the evening.
“He (Ranjith) wanted us to have the right physique and yet be active and quick. So, for this, we had to train in the gym as well. The boxing training was for three-and-half to four months. It got extended due to the lockdown. He also wanted the pronunciation, slang and body language to be perfect.
'The training was quite intense but the beauty of it is that whatever we did before the shoot helped us a lot.” When the shoot was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown last year, Arya said it was difficult to retain the same look till the filming restarted.
'I had to remain fit, not knowing when things will reopen and when we will be able to finish the shoot. I had to be on a diet for a long time. It was quite frustrating. Before the lockdown, we had finished 35 days of work and had another 40 days of work left, which started in October last year,” he informed.
Describing director Ranjith, known for Rajinikanth-starrers “Kabali” and “Kaala”, as a perfectionist, the actor said the filmmaker wanted the fights to look as real as possible.
'There were times when my hands would pain because of all the punching as he (director) wanted us to do the boxing with all my strength and speed as if it was a real match. We had so many cuts and bruises,” he recalled.
Arya is aware that the Hindi film 'Toofaan', also set in the world of boxing, has released last week but said 'Sarpatta Parambarai' is different in its treatment and time frame.
“‘Toofaan’ is talking about contemporary boxing and they have different elements to the film. While our film is not just about boxing. We are more concentrating on the clans in the 1970s, what the boxing scenario was, how it originated, the lifestyle of boxers, etc. Our film is very emotional and it deals with many characters.” 'Basically, it is a huge space and you can tell so many stories', he added.
Produced by Ranjith's Neelam Productions and K9 Studios,“Sarpatta Parambarai” will be released on Amazon Prime Video on July 22. The film also stars Dushara Vijayan, Pasupathy, and Kalaiyarasan in key roles. PTI KKP BK SHD RDS RDS