Like the protagonist’s business venture, the movie takes its time to take off but soars majestically. Coming immediately after another story of an entrepreneur’s rise that proved to be dismal, Soorarai Pottru does not make the same mistakes. Based on “several stories from low cost aviation” the success of Soorari pottru lies in serving the world of aviation in a form palatable to the common audience.
Suriya having had not so great releases in the recent times, is back with a bang. In an author backed role that is a welcome deviation from the done to death “star hero” outings he is fine form in the dramatic and romantic sequences. He also deserves the credit for agreeing to this script. In the Tamil industry where, big stars are essential to greenlight a movie, he has used his star power to bring into life a story that is entertaining but does not tick the introduction-fight-punch dialogues boxes. He is also smart enough to see that the story has scope for enough build up and subsequent pay offs.
Aparna Balamurali is hands down one of the better woman characters written in a mainstream Tamil movie headlined by a big star. Her character, Bommi is a revelation and has been paid good detailing. She is not just a cheerleader for the messiah husband. She plays the equal partner in a refreshing love story. She goes to see the prospective groom instead of the groom visiting her, and in a lovely scene brings him a business proposal with projected revenue numbers not emotionally charged lines. This is why we need more woman story tellers. It just brings in a fresh perspective even on a cliché love track. The dialogues by Vijay Kumar further enhance the shades of Bommi.
Soorarai Pottru is aware of the complexities that come with the subject matter and ample care is taken to present it in the most entertaining way without letting the audience lost amidst the aviation industry parlance. So, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is equated to RTO, sparrow stands in for light aircraft and Turboprops are explained as being akin to Maruti 800 cars. Travel agencies are the unnecessary evil like middlemen in farming and Udupi hotel dosa is an economical and smarter choice compared to overpriced Black wrap pancake. In a Covid free universe, you have your A,B and C whistling in cohesion right there.
The screenplay also deserves credit for highlighting the caste barriers without any overtly melodramatic dialogues or background music that is commonplace in the mainstream. Paresh Rawal’s anxiety around people he does not see as equals, Suriya’s ‘You are a socialite, and I am a socialist’ line , the close up shots of the benefactors of his crusade – the movie does not aim to be a Kaala, subtlety is sufficient to bring home the message in the world of Soorarai Pottru. The clever injection of flashback sequences at crucial junctures in the narrative and the background score ensure the tempo is high after the slow start.
The movie has its share of weaknesses. Paresh Rawal’s character shows promise but by the second half settles comfortably in the generic imported villain template. The romantic songs could have been replaced with conversations between the lead pair. Even good directors fall prey to the presumed market demand of inserting songs when the screenplay could have done better without it. Achyut Kumar’s corrupt DGCA official and Prakash Belawadi’s Venture capitalist are roles that are not given treatment worthy of the actors playing them. The beer company and airlines owner named Ballaya strikes out as a sore thumb in the milieu of the other characters.
But barring these flaws, it is heartening to see Suriya back in his elements carrying a worthy movie on his shoulders. Soorarai Pottru might just be the harbinger of times to come when stars back films with good concepts.
Captive of the 24 frames and admirer of the written word. If it is not on the silver screen or on the pages of a paperback, it might as well not exist.