Director: Sudha Kongara
Cast: Suriya, Aparna Balamurali, Paresh Rawal, Karunas and Vivek Prasanna
Tamil cinema’s follow-you-dream tales have always been very straightforward and simple. These stories are usually centered on a hero who through the course of the film (or a song) fights against all the odds to emerge victorious. But none of these stories have ever made the intended impact and mostly end up as an advertisement solely made for the purpose of glorifying the hero. Thankfully, Sudha Kongara’s Soorarai Pottru – about a man who dreamt of making flying affordable for every Indian – is a story of hope and triumph that hits all the right notes and works flawlessly.
Soorarai Pottru, which stars Suriya in one of his most rewarding performances in recent years, revolves around Nedumaaran Rajangam aka Maara (Suriya) and his dream – to introduce a low-cost airline that can make flying affordable for people of all the classes. At a time when flying was mostly restricted to the upper class and those with deep pockets, Maara nurtured the dream of making flying a reality for everyone. There’s a hard-hitting incident (which unfolds in an airport) that fuels Maara’s ambition to start a low-cost airline and it’s one of the most powerful scenes of the movie. The rest of the story is about how Maara holds onto his dream of making flying affordable and flies high but the journey isn’t as smooth as one can imagine.
Based on the life of Captain GR Gopinath of Air Deccan and his book Simply Fly, the film makes for a riveting watch. The story of Maara is made to look even more inspiring because of Suriya, who is phenomenal and holds the show together. Interestingly, the film isn’t just about Maara and his dream; it’s also about Bommi (Maara’s wife) and her dream to start a bakery. As the film progresses, we see Bommi (played by Aparna Balamurali) become a crucial part in Maara’s journey and the scenes between them leave a strong impact.
Sudha Kongara’s writing deserves special praise for making Bommi’s character equally important and not keeping the focus only on her hero. Aparna Balamurali as Bommi is a revelation. Even though the chemistry between her and Maara isn’t the greatest (which is fine), you still connect with the pair on an emotional level.
Paresh Rawal plays your quintessential rich guy who likes to crush everyone in his path. It’s probably the weakest character of the movie and the veteran actor looks so uncomfortable, mouthing the most clichéd lines (in an alien language) that are commonly written for such characters. But Sudha manages to make her other supporting characters strong and the most likable among them is played by Urvashi (as Maara’s mother). Poo Ramaswamy as Maara’s father has a brief but very important role. Even Vivek Prasanna and Krishnamurthy, who play Maara’s friends are aptly cast and perform satisfyingly. Telugu actor Mohan Babu, in his inimitable style, delivers an effortless performance in an extended cameo.
Also read: Aashram Chapter 2 review: Bobby Deol needs to rethink his choices after this shockingly amateurish series
Soorarai Pottru, which will go down as one of the best films of the year, is Suriya’s return to form (after a few mediocre films) and it’s quite gutsy of a mainstream hero to produce and star in a film that doesn’t tick all those boxes of a typical commercial entertainer.
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