BOTTOM LINE: A Well-Intentioned Underdog Drama With Excellent Leads
Rating: 3 /5
Skin N Swear: No sequences with strong language or on-screen intimacy
|Platform: Amazon||Genre: Drama, Biography|
What Is the Story About?
The film revolves around Nedumaaran a.k.a Maara’s unrelenting quest to come up with a low-cost airline and make air travel accessible and affordable to the common man. After spending his initial years in the defence, several circumstances strengthen Maara’s resolve to launch an airline of his own. Maara is ridiculed, investors reject his proposals, there are bureaucratic delays, but his better half Sundari, a bakery shop owner herself, stands by him through his thick and thin and fends for the family. An entire village comes together to fund for his idea. However, Maara’s biggest roadblock is the aviation honcho Paresh Goswami who tries every dirty trick in the book to pin him down. Does Maara have it in him to rise again?
Suriya’s emotive abilities need little introduction. He underplays Maara to perfection and presents the vulnerability of the character in his weaker moments so well. Occasionally though, the actor, in terms of his slang and body language, appears a tad too stiff, sophisticated and urbanised to play a Madurai lad. Aparna Balamurali is the film’s biggest surprise. While she was wonderful in Sarvam Thaala Mayam before, Soorarai Pottru gives her an opportunity to play a woman of strength who also has her tomboyish streaks. The sequences showcasing her unconventional rapport with her husband are a delight to watch.
The supporting cast – comprising Karunas, Kaali Venkat, Urvashi, Mohan Babu – is incredibly effective despite the so-so characterisation. Paresh Rawal’s role is rather poorly written and his dialogues in the film sound more like warnings and less like conversations with the other person.
Soorarai Pottru, the title of director Sudha Kongara’s latest feature, loosely translates to ‘hail the warrior’. The filmmaker ambitiously projects that her protagonist bears the spirit of a modern-day warrior, who overcomes every roadblock in the journey towards his nearly-impossible dream. Like the director’s earlier film Irudhi Suttru/Saala Khadoos, Soorarai Pottru too is a rags-to-riches, underdog story. The journey of a road-side fish seller becoming a national-level boxer in Irudhi Suttru worked wonders with its rootedness to the setting despite its implausible premise. However, Soorarai Pottru, though high on ambition, isn’t as impactful.
The sincere intent apart, Soorarai Pottru is overly simplistic and the struggles of the protagonist Maara feel superficial. Maara’s motive to launch his airline could have been established with greater emotional connect – the decision feels more instinctive than well-thought-out. The film doesn’t focus on the homework that Maara does to launch the airline. His ascent is narrated in broad strokes. The comparisons between having a masala dosa at a tiffin centre and a star hotel to justify his idea (of a low-cost airline affordable to the common man) sound a little too farfetched.
The film glorifies the common man, the poor and conveniently paints the rich businessman as evil and scheming. Maara is someone whose intentions are beyond doubt while it’s always the Jaz airlines owner Paresh Goswami who is waiting to crush his underdog opponent. And if this wasn’t enough, the sequence where Maara grabs an opportunity to meet the Indian president for bureaucratic help to launch his airline sticks out like a sore thumb. There are too many cinematic liberties that don’t make you root for Maara.
Surprisingly, Sundari, Maara’s better half, is a character that works better. Her husband ridicules her idea of launching a bakery, but the bakery pays the bills when his plans don’t fructify initially. She writes her business proposals, lends money to her husband when he’s bankrupt and is the same person who feeds him fondly at home. The well-written character is a lovely example of a modern-day family woman with an identity, one who supports her husband without compromising on her dreams. Maara and Sundari are characters similar in more ways than one – unpredictable, instinctive and entrepreneurs at heart.
A film’s aftertaste is largely dependent on its climax – Soorarai Pottru’s advantage lies there. The outing starts on a sluggish note, flutters in the middle portions but finds its rhythm in the ending – better late than never though. Soorarai Pottru is technically superb, boasts of wonderful performances, but as a film, it’s neither exceedingly bland nor supremely engaging. The inspiring story certainly deserved a better ending note than a ‘one-time watch’.
Music and Other Departments?
G V Prakash’s songs – raw and rustic (though not outstanding) – are weaved well into the narrative and have a conversational tone that doesn’t obstruct the film’s flow. The background score does justice in lending impetus to the protagonist’s emphatic journey. In terms of writing, Soorarai Pottru lacks emotional depth. The screenplay of the film isn’t its strength, too dry/wordy at times and doesn’t engage consistently either. Niketh Bommireddy’s cinematography gives the enriching visual palette that the story deserves, though the CG is slightly tacky at times.
Overlong, dull writing and characterisation
Many cinematic liberties
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
‘Soorarai Pottru’ Review by Binged Bureau
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