UPDATE: 'Soorarai Pottru', directed by Sudha Kongara Prasad, was adjudged the best film during the 68th National Film Awards. Suriya and Aparna Balamurali, who donned main roles in the film, bagged the best actor and actress awards respectively. Read more here.
Sudha Kongara-directed Soorarai Pottru, currently streaming on Amazon Prime, is based on Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey, the autobiography of Captain G R Gopinath who founded India’s first low-cost airliner Air Deccan.
The movie is fast-paced and keeps the audience on the hooks. Thus Kongara breaks the general feeling that biography-based scripts are boring.
Having a star like Suriya in the lead, you would expect a mass beginning with the camera focusing on his feet, a slow motion walk and maybe an introductory fight scene.
But Kongara does away with all that and makes her point clear that she is gonna run this show her way.
So you hear his voice and see a shabbily dressed Suriya getting beaten up by the Indian Air Force (IAF) security personnel.
Indeed, the movie breaks gender stereotypes, caste and class barriers.
Bommi (Aparna Balamurali of Maheshinte Prathikaram fame), though educated only till Class 12 and hails from a poor rural background, is not someone who would be bogged down by gender stereotypes and is way ahead of her times. She is a 'mad' entrepreneur just like her partner Nedumaran Rajangam alias Maaran (Suriya).
The chemistry between them holds the movie together till the end.
Paresh (Paresh Rawal) is a person who climbed up the ladder to be rich. But he does not want others to do the same and shows his disregard for the poor. He becomes a bit repetitive with his hesitations and dialogues. The confrontations between Paresh and Maaran could have been more electrifying.
While Bommi's character breaks gender stereotypes, the tug of war between Maaran and Paresh breaks caste and class barriers.
While Paresh is very particular about who sits next to him, Maaran will do anything to make his dream of a low cost airline - with no class difference - come true.
The first song Mannuranda is an attempt to show that there is no difference between rich and poor and that ultimately it is just Re 1 you carry with you on your forehead after death. Maaran offers air tickets at Re 1 to bring the rich and the poor together in one flight.
Not just the lead roles, all the other actors too made their roles memorable. Telugu veteran Mohan Babu plays the role of Naidu, Maaran's strict officer in the Air Force, Urvashi is Maaran’s mother while Vivek Prasanna and Krishnakumar are his friends. And then there is the village folk who shell out their savings for Maaran's dream project.
Suriya may have shed some of the superstar symbols for Kongara's film but he is still the star in the movie. His genius can be noticed in scenes of him begging for money, his hesitation while asking money from his wife and the changes in his attitude to Paresh when he first meets him as an inspiration and later as his tormentor.
Music by GV Prakash Kumar plays you with the right emotions and makes you feel the struggles of Maaran and Bommi. While the song Veyyon Silli and Kaatttu Payale portrays the romance amid the struggle of the two entrepreneurs, Aagasam and Maaran's theme put you in the right spirits to keep the struggle going despite hurdles.
Soorarai Pottru faced several delays and its theatrical release was postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but much like Maaran and his flight, the movie has now taken off, albeit on OTT. This low cost flying experience is worth every penny.