The major positive that somehow manages to make you ignore the inability of the script of Soorarai Pottru to contain a vast story like that is the pool of performances it has. It is not just Suriya we get to see perform brilliantly as an actor. Be it Aparna Balamurali or the incredible Urvashi, Sudha Kongara has succeeded in bringing out performances that aren’t your loud packages of emotional outbursts. Whenever I sort of started to sense the pattern in the storytelling of Soorarai Pottru, there will be a wonderfully performed moment in the movie and Soorarai Pottru in my opinion is a collection of such moments in a story that doesn’t explore an unfamiliar structure.
Nedumaran Rajangam aka Maaran is our central protagonist. From the moment we are introduced to him we only know him as an entrepreneur who has this dream of creating an aviation company that will be affordable to the common man. Finding investors was a tough task for Maaran and he had to sacrifice a lot to maintain this dream of his. Soorarai Pottru shows us why this dream was so important to Maaran and how he finally managed to take off after a series of setbacks.
The movie is loosely based on the life of Air Deccan founder GR Gopinath. Well, you will know that it is an extremely commercialized story that only uses the idea of low cost flying as its theme. You will be able to guess the structure of the screenplay very easily. The people who will become obstacles for the hero are shown at the beginning itself. Maaran waiting for days for higher officials to sign the papers, his efforts to fly the aircraft facing never-ending problems, etc are shown in the most familiar way one can imagine. They have used creative liberty to depict the drama, but there wasn’t much creativity in presenting the story in a way that will disrupt the formulaic feel of the movie.
The gender representation in this movie is a pleasing one. There is a sequence in the movie where Maaran is hesitant to ask money from his self-sufficient wife and the movie shows it as his male ego. Such a sequence where a male superstar plays a character with ego issues is so good to see on screen. Without making him feel any less, the writing depicted their partnership very well. The father-son relationship has an atypical roughness and the mother-son equation is also emotionally intense. Even though the story looks like a Maaran show, the support system of Maaran were also presented in a way one won’t forget them. But the villains here sort of became a caricature version of aviation giants of that time and it somewhat oversimplified the conflict of the plot.
Sudha Kongara manages to strike a good balance in terms of the emotional pitch of the movie. It isn’t your typical eccentric style narration and at the same time, the realness isn’t making it look dull. Niketh Bommireddy’s frames do a good job of making the sequences look real with a texture. But as I said, the writing of the movie is depending on subtext and inter-character dynamics too much. Thus the rags to riches formula applied on the low-cost aviation theme fail to charm you on a creative level.
The story here has so many events and it is happening over some time. So the presentation is a bit of a task here. We are not shown how the operations were handled by Maaran. Managing an aviation company felt too simple. Even the professional growth of Maaran’s better half Bommi as a Bakery giant was a bit abrupt. That unevenness affects the movie in being emotionally compelling. GV Prakash Kumar’s background score is a gripping piece of moving music in my opinion.
Perhaps after Vaaranam Aayiram, I would say this is one role that sort of utilized the star and actor in Suriya fruitfully. Even in the swagger moments, we are seeing him being the determined Maaran. And in moments of emotional vulnerability also he isn’t hesitating to be that character. The grounded heroism is a treat to watch. Aparna Balamurali handled the role of Bommi with real smartness. Her energy level was fabulous and her performance had that fire to make us believe that she can be that individual with aspirations. The sequences where Bommi fights with Maaran in her stubborn style felt natural.
Another performance that will get everyone’s appreciation would be that of Urvashi and she handled the melodrama so beautifully. For a larger part of the movie, we are seeing her as this weeping mother-figure, and yet she never overdid the character. A major disappointment for me was the writing of the character of Paresh played by Paresh Rawal. The character was so flat and black that you don’t see him as a challenge for Maaran.
Soorarai Pottru is a movie that is well within an existing template. The tacky visual effects wouldn’t have been a problem for the movie if there was an effort to take the movie away from that predictable structure we all know. But instead, they rely on performances and the actors made sure that even though the story isn’t that compelling, the moments would look endearing to the viewers. It’s an average movie with solid performances.
They have used creative liberty to depict the drama, but there wasn’t much creativity in presenting the story in a way that will disrupt the formulaic feel of the movie.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended