Soorarai Pottru Tamil Movie Review
For me, much of Sudha Kongara's 'Soorarai Pottru' plays out like an MBA case study, with a human angle. Watching it for over 2 hours, took my mind back to that old MBA classroom where our college professor taught us the rags-to-riches story of Air Deccan founder, G.R. Gopinath.
Air Deccan was started from scratch by a villager, whose dream was to help common Indians fly. He helped them to fly for even 1 Rupee. It is tough to succeed in the Indian aviation industry as some players dominate the sector. In the hospitality and service business, the profits are marginal, and the cost of operations high. So, starting Air Deccan was such a big risk for Gopinath and others involved. These were all details my professor shared with us all those years ago, and they form a big part of Kongara's film. The movie is based on Gopinath's book, Simply Fly, but the makers claim that it is a work of fiction. So, we see an Airline company owner/ liquor mogul named 'Ballaya' (ring a bell?). It also explains why the movie has an APJ Abdul Kalam look-alike as the Missile Man of India himself.
When watching the film, I could imagine my dean leaning over to our shoulders as he tells us the Gopinath story with judicious punctuations. In Kongara's film, the punctuations are not as properly applied. The movie is like a long, real story being chopped up to appear a fast-forward version. The first 30 minutes of it have a clumsily done plane crash sequence and untimely songs. For a story of a man with a will to fly and to give others wings to fly, Soorarai Pottru takes some time to take off. But you keep watching it for the movie is headlined by a magnificent Surya in the title role of Nedumaaran Rajangam.
My knowledge about Gopinath the man is not quite the same as my idea of the businessman. So, I cannot comment on how accurate Surya's portrayal of the whole based-on-real-life character is. But the actor does look the part of a go-getter entrepreneur with a stop-at-nothing attitude. Suriya often excels in roles with a bit of intensity that give him room to perform. Soorarai Pottru is a fine return to form for the actor, even as the movie settles for crowd-pleasing entertainment.
There are issues with this film that stick out like a sore thumb. Chief among those is a Paresh Rawal character, named Paresh Goswami, who speaks Tamil with an artificial accent and even Gujarati. The character itself is sketchy, and the great Rawal is grossly underused here. But as a big airline company's owner, he is a serviceable antagonist who tries to bring down his rival whenever he tries to fly.
There is also Poo Ramu, as Maaran's father Rajangam. Maaran and Rajangam are not in agreement about the life path the former should take. So, the two have a go at each other at the start of the film that leads to Maaran joining the Indian Air Force. When he must come back to see his father on short notice, he finds it tough to even buy a flight ticket. Then comes the terrific scene where Suriya's character begs for the money to buy it. The scene would have played out better if the director spent more time building the father-son relationship. This relationship is not quite etched out properly, so we don't feel the full extent of Maaran's anguish, as Surya feels it. Nevertheless, it is good to see him being humanized in a commercial film, unlike being portrayed as a mass hero who utters heavy punchlines too often.
The lovely Vinodhini Vaidyanathan is Chitra Ramaswamy, an All India Radio reporter who helps Maaran in his airline venture. Vinodhini often plays cameo roles in South Indian films, but she still leaves an indelible impression on us. Then, there is the always reliable Urvashi as Pechi, Maara's mother. The veteran actor makes the role look ridiculously easy. Even with limited screen time, Urvashi has a scene or two that pierces our hearts.
The surprise package of Soorarai Pottru is Aparna Balamurali as Sundari, Maaran's wife. Watching her and Surya do their post-marriage budgeting in the middle of the road is one of this film's pleasures. It is the solid build-up we need for a later scene where one of them hesitates to seek money from the other.