Sarpatta Parambarai – A straw drawn from the Children of Ghetto

Sarpatta Parambarai

Watching Sarpatta Parambarai is a social necessity and celebration.  The primary message conveyed here is don’t turn back from things that are real and painful to you. Perseverance is the life of Untouchable to taste success.

India has produced and silver screened only two type of movies since independence.  They are of two categories namely:

  1. Caste mongering movies
  2. Caste ignoring movies

The movies directed by Director Pa. Ranjith are exceptionally not anyone of the above. Many people conversed with me generously say: ‘I don’t see caste.  I despise them with one relevant question:  ‘Does it exist or not?’. Hesitantly they nod.

Then I generally end the talk: ‘It’s so, it doesn’t matter whether you see or don’t see. In fact, your choosing of not to see is probably the reason it existed for these many centuries and going to exist forever.’  I imagine Director Pa. Ranjith can reply like me via his movies.

The movies of Director Pa. Ranjith hold the tip of every caste ignorant chin tightly & turn back the head to see what they ignored and shown their back or surpassed as if nothing is wrong with caste.

I am always sceptical about movie reviews either be it positive or negative. Most of the reviews read reflects and fits part of the caste rotten Hindu mindset. They are on be rush to label movie as good or bad instead of observing whether it has truth or not. However, I come across few intelligent reviews that highlights facts I forget to notice while watching the movie. They are charmingly rare.

Public review is nothing but consolidation from variety of audience who watches the movie & break their silence to media when they come out of theatres- I always sense a dazed and confused state about the IQ of Indian audience and their understandability.

Couple of days before, a well-known print media wrote verdict on Sarpatta Parambarai which is more or less this: ‘A sports drama, even one can say it’s more than a sports drama, reflecting on the lives of North Madras during the seventies’.

What it purposefully ignored to say is that the movie is based on sports reflecting the life of an ‘untouchable’ and his ‘struggles to stand out’ not just in the ring but, also fight for his social rights among the casteist  clans.

It also forgets to say a single word about what’s the history behind the reason of well conversing English on the contrary of all oddities against untouchables. The mainstream media didn’t regard this as history but an entertaining act. Are not some of the untouchables from North Madras the bloodline of butlers who served British?

None of the review noted the first time celluloid gallantry to point out the seventies magazine Manavar Manjari (Students Seasons)  on the walls as well as People Republic Party ran in Tamil Nadu by legendary Mu.Sundararasanar.

How casteless society view Sarpatta Parambarai is important above all. One of the film’s strongest personality Rangan lightly says: ‘It’s not a blood bound position in the clan. Whosoever wins can become head of the clan’. I consider this dialogue is the most intensified moment in the movie.

From all the eight corners I hear jarring voices: ‘meets the expectation’ movies, ‘worth the penny’ movies, ‘for good’ movies. ‘feel good’ movies, ‘cash good’ movies. ‘deserve award’ movies, ‘one time watch’ movies, ‘average’ movies, ‘hero is great’ movies, ‘repeat watch’ movies, ‘too much boring’ movies, just ”shrug their shoulders- wave away signing. – nothing to say’ (simply can’t understand the movie) movies.

When you look deep inside the conditions of social truth and the sufferings, stigma of untouchability, the inertia of the government not just keep aloof from directing its eyes; but, also stay and partake on Caste Oppressors side.

Westerners used to say: ‘Manners Maketh Man’. Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar used say:  ‘A man must be defined by the philosophy he  live for’. The movie certainly brings about the philosophy that drives & defines the man.

From one end it speaks about an individual struggle to chase after his passion, which he accidentally come to know, from his accomplices he find help in achieving it; on the order end, it brings up the reality of socio-politico-economic and wide known but entirely ignored conditions that shape their behavioural straits.

Elegant in highlighting chronicles of Tamil boxing, purview the eyes of audience: in the background of caste rotten social reality; apart from kicking, thumping, dodging, spilling, spitting, stripping, punching is that violence & caste are intermingled as pride of clan. The movie manages to deliver the cultural shock and implant responsibility to everyone who watched it: “Caste is a beast and it’s essential for everyone to kill the beast within yourself.”.

It is illegitimate to do comparison of movies like Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull depicting the life of Ray Liotta, Jean Claude Van Damme starred Kickboxer,  Sylvester Stallone starred Rocky, Muhammad Ali’s life documentary ‘I am Ali’, championship footages of Filipino Manny Pacquiao, also from Tamil , Prabhu & Tara Singh starred Vetri Mel Vetri, Sudha Kongara’s Irudhi Suttru with Sarpatta Parambarai. None of them resembles Sarpatta Parambarai’s content, intention, zero tolerance on lookalike scenes from all of the above stated cult and mediocre mixture of movies.

The movie making style, proper bulge-mix of characters with physical and emotional differences, texture of day and night during the boxing match, undercurrent background score not screaming on highly emotional tones during excruciating moments, With crisp, strong hitting dialogues,  top notch editing, movie give lot of space for viewer’s imagination and demanding them to ponder over it after logging off their computer  or TV telecast,

Sarpatta Parambarai is a path breaking movie in every aspect. This is an all clear honest effort which just derive an inspiration from the classic  moves of the legend Muhammad Ali when he was on the ring and a true tribute to him. After all, the movie made me realise since seventies to till date, nothing has drastically, radically, gradually changed a bit of nail for the untouchables towards progress from the iron fist of Caste.

Udayakumar Vijayan is a film critic

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