Following many weeks of impatient waiting for fans and film lovers, Suriya’s highly-anticipated Soorarai Pottru directed by Sudha Kongara finally hit the OTT space, premiering on Amazon Prime. Drawing inspiration from the book Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey by Captain G R Gopinath, Kongara recreates events in the life of the visionary that ultimately led to the creation of India’s first low-cost airline Deccan Air, that brought affordable flying to the common man by spreading its wings across the smallest corners of the nation. The story was rousing enough for the lead actor himself to back the film financially with his 2D Entertainment along with Guneet Monga of Sikhya Entertainment. The narrative in a small village near Madurai where the protagonist Nedumaran Rajangam aka Maara emerges from a hotheaded rebel to a passionate military graduate who shuns prestigious postings to follow his vision of creating an inclusive airline that is financially accessible to every citizen of the country. The film follows Maara’s strength and determination to overcome these hurdles of financial loss, deceit and distrust to finally succeed in his ambitious venture.
It’s a Suriya show all the way through
Suriya dominates every frame of the movie with a rock-solid performance as Maara. In quintessential style, the actor lets his powerful eyes do the talking and lends a smoldering intensity to the character especially while portraying the emotional scenes of the film. As far as characterizations go, the actor has definitely essayed tougher and more challenging roles in his career but with this effort, he brings a passion and fervour that is indicative of the protagonist’s untiring spirit to succeed against all odds. Emotion is Suriya’s comfort zone and it is heartening to see the actor get back to his strong suit after a spate of forgettable action-oriented films that compromised on the story for commercial popularity. With Soorarai Pottru, the actor reignites the old spark in his acting that was evident in roles like Kaakha Kaakha, Vaaranam Aayiram and Perazhagan-films that put him on the list of top artists of today.
An interesting ensemble cast is left a tad underdeveloped
Soorarai Pottru also boasts of a talented set of actors who complete the cast of the film. Aparna Balamurali as Maara’s feisty independent wife and his constant pillar of support do a natural and competent job of bringing Bommi to life. There is engaging chemistry between the 2 leads that is pleasing to watch and the director gives them some charming scenes to play with. A feminist who dreams of running an independent business, she is steadfast in achieving her goals while being fully supportive of her husband and Kongara sketches this arc well. Unfortunately, we see her taper away post-intermission when Maara’s cause takes precedence. Veteran actor Urvashi is as always dependable and impressive as Maara’s mother and brings a gravitas especially in the emotional scenes. But her role feels one dimensional at best in the bigger picture. Karunas as a kindhearted uncle shines in a couple of endearing scenes but doesn’t get too much time beyond that. Vivek Prasanna and Krishnakumar as Maara’s trusted comrades are a constant presence but don’t really have much to do beyond furthering Maara’s passion. Paresh Rawal cast as the rival airline tycoon is the probably the most clichéd character that Kongara has written and does not live up to billing at all. The actor too seems uncomfortable in a role that lacks nuance.
The fast-paced screenplay loses grip slightly in the second half
Kongara is an engaging storyteller as seen from her prior efforts namely Madhavan’s Irudhi Suttru and the most recent short story featuring Jayaram and Urvashi in the Amazon Prime Anthology Putham Pudhu Kaalai. With Soorarai Pottru, the filmmaker through her engrossing screenplay gives us many potent moments in the first half that showcase the fierce aspirations of her protagonist. There is an urgency to the writing that mirrors Maara’s lambent spirit. The sweeping visuals featuring aeroplanes and airbases on one hand and the earthiness of the rural landscape on the other gives us an authentic feel while metaphorically alluding to the soaring dreams of Maara. Regrettably,the narrative slips away in the second half with a rush to tie many ends together conveniently to bring the story a full circle in the sentimentally charged climax.A more rounded culmination of the events that unfold could have taken the film to greater heights.
WATCH OR NOT
Soorarai Pottru is an inspiring true story that showcases the determination and the iron will of a common man to unify a nation’s citizens through his vision of “simply fly”. With a sincere performance by its lead actor and a screenplay that holds our interest in spite of a few loopholes, Soorarai Pottru makes for gripping viewing. Besides, true stories always have an added allure, isn’t it?
Director: Sudha Kongara
Cast: Suriya, Aparna Balamurali, Urvashi, Paresh Rawal, Karunas, Vivek Prasanna
Music: G V Prakash Kumar
Streaming on: Amazon Prime