(From left) Santhosh Prathap, John Kokken, Arya and Shabeer Kallarakkal in Sarpatta Parambarai.
(From left) Santhosh Prathap, John Kokken, Arya and Shabeer Kallarakkal in Sarpatta Parambarai.

Sarpatta Parambarai: Arya, John Kokken modelled their roles on Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson in boxing drama

  • Pa Ranjith's boxing drama Sarpatta Parambarai features four boxers - played by Arya, John Kokken, Shabeer Kallarakkal and Santhosh Prathap. Here are their real-life inspirations.
By Haricharan Pudipeddi
PUBLISHED ON JUL 23, 2021 08:34 PM IST

Pa Ranjith’s Sarpatta Parambarai is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. The film, centered on boxing, depicts the tale of two famous boxing clans from North Madras in the 70s, who compete and fight against one another in a clash of power, pride and egos.

To play and look their part perfectly, the actors who play boxers had to go through extensive training and intensive physical workout sessions. In the process, the actors developed a distinct style and technique for their characters, similar to those of real-life boxers. Here’s a look at all the actors who played the roles of boxers in the movie.

1. Kabilan (played by Arya), role modelled on Muhammad Ali

Arya plays the role of the feisty and determined Kabilan, the lead protagonist in Sarpatta Parambarai. Known for being a fitness freak and intense workout sessions, Arya is also a proclaimed fan of boxing, and apparently has been training for the past two years himself.

For this movie, Arya is said to have taken inspiration from Muhammad Ali, known as probably the greatest ever boxer of all time. Apart from boxing, the character also draws various parallels from Ali’s own life. Here’s a bonus piece of trivia: The title song of the movie features one of the most Muhammad Ali phrases - “float like a butterfly, sting like a killer bee”.

Vembuli (played by John Kokken) - role modelled on Mike Tyson

John Kokken plays the role of Vembuli - the one guy who everyone is vying to defeat at least once. He is virtually unbeatable and is extremely menacing. For his role and technique, John is said to have been inspired by none other than Mike Tyson, as this character matches his rough and aggressive spirit.

Known as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, Mike Tyson had an incredibly powerful aura to him, and an equally great sporting legacy that celebrates him as one of the greatest. John not only took inspiration from his technique, but also channelled his attitude and demeanor playing the token guy with shades of grey in the film.

Dancing Rose (played by Shabeer Kallarakkal) - role modelled on Naseem Hameed AKA Prince Naseem

Those who are even remotely acquainted with the sport of boxing know Naseem Hamed as ‘Prince Hameed’, a flamboyant boxer with unique techniques and swift, fluidic movements that almost mimics a dance form. ‘Dancing Rose’ is a name derived from the similar techniques of Prince Hameed that were incorporated into Shabeer’s distinctive boxing routine that eventually became his character’s style in the movie. Being trained in the martial arts and as someone who trains extensively, Shabeer was able to pull off this nuanced routine that not only exudes class, but also packs a powerful punch.

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Raman (played by Santhosh Prathap) - role modelled on George Foreman AKA Big George

With 68 knockouts to his fame, Santhosh Prathap’s character - Raman, in Sarpatta Parambarai, is a fitting tribute to the boxing legend. George Foreman remains one of the oldest heavyweight champions in the history of international boxing and has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of fame. Santhosh’s Raman embodies the spirit of Big George making sure that punch lands perfectly, in sync.

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