Soorarai Pottru (2020)

Okay, a quick introduction. Soorarai Pottru (Praise the brave) is a rag to riches story of one Nedumaaran Rajangam (aka Maara ) who, against all the odds, goes on to build an airline company. The plot is loosely based on life events of GR Gopinath, one of the co-founders of Deccan Airlines aka Simplifly Deccan or Air Deccan.

There were a huge hype and build-up over this movie, deservedly so. Apparently, this was the most anticipated movie of 2020, delayed only due to pandemic. Eventually, when released, it was oversubscribed on OTT, resulting in Amazon Prime Video platform to crash intermittently and repeatedly. 

Anyways, this movie was an obvious choice for ODFE – (Obligatory Deepavali Family Entertainer). Unfortunately, my other chooses were :

  1. Chhalaang, a romcom, time-pass flick but meets my mandatory pre-requisite – the movie should not star nepo-kids! Unfortunately, Nushrat Bharucha wraps herself in make-up, and Rajkumar Rao goes on to pull same Ganwaar expressions. We yawned halfway through them the movie and then abandoned. 
  2. Mookuthi Amman, another Tamizh movie which starts off great but drags itself into becoming clichéd them “Take a dig at a baba”. The choice of target was Nityananda Swamy’ movie-equivalent. During halfway a little bird caller Twitter flew in told me director actually had shot a few scenes targeting other social issues and then chickened out to include them in final release !. 
  3. Laxmii, Its IMDB rating (2.9 as of today) speaks volumes of it. We will talk about this in some other post. But No – I did not watch this. 

Okay, Back to Soorarai Pottru. It has its share of flaws. But, if you park it for the moment and focus on the value movie brings – its a fantastic movie. It successfully and accurately paints the picture of 90s India and its business environment. It explains the bureaucratic mess that India was, notorious red-tape terrorism, a hangover of licence-Raj, hand in glove nexus of the powerful with government, the quid pro quo and so on. It shows how it was a crime to dream is free and independent India.

What worked well :

  1. Great plot and script. It’s a story which had to be told. As I have told before a Bollywood producer will never pick the story of a hero unless of course, the protagonist falls in love with a Pakistani girl. 
  2. Casting is exceptional. Except for that cigar smoking potbelly air force training officer, all actors have pulled great character. Aparna and Paresh Rawal were exceptional . However, Urvashi, as Suriya’s Mother, steals the show. In fact, she had an even better role in Mookuthi Amman. What a classy actor – I am a fan!
  3. Good to see Tamizh (or south) movies nowadays casting main heroines with complexions. These roles were otherwise reserved to Punjabi TamannasAgarwals or even English actors like Amy. Go local!
  4. “show, not tell” kind of storytelling. This is a very welcome change. This movie does not treat the audience as idiots.
  5. There is great respect for the Indian Armed forces in the movie. Again, Bollywood always and never gets this sentiment !! How difficult is it Mr Karan Johar? They save our lives, and we say Thank you!

What did not work well :

  1. More often than not, the movie gets too loud and overdramatic. Several scenes were designed to be so emotional and dramatic; it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. A more subtle messaging would’ve been more effective.
  2. I refuse to believe there ever was a day on Indian soil, in which an air-force officer had to beg for money. If that really happened, then it’s a great shame for us!
  3. Inconsistencies: should I believe a modern farmer wearing chinos as a nightwear and sets up drip-irrigation did not choose to build a toilet? He sends his prospective fiancé for open defecation? What bullshit.!
  4. One of the friends of Maara, is, unfortunately, named as Che. Che is supposed to be short for “Chaitanya”. Hope you get an irony here; A man gets named after one of the greatest saints of 15th century and then gets it shortened to a south American mass murderer. Understandably it’s so 90s, that was in fashion, and we were just coming out of a socialist mindset. We are in the 21st century now, and we no longer name kids after Guevara. We name them after Timur lane. 

7aum Arivu – My take

Shruti Haasan and Suriya hire a rickshaw in Chennai and driver does a “meter down”!!. Please read it again, .. no hold it, let me type it again (it

Ezhaam arivu
Ezhaam arivu - through wikipedia

feels good) Auto driver turns meter ON!!! There. That should’ve been my first clue!

As you already might have guessed, I hated 7aum Arivu. Disappointing.  Although I am glad I chose this movie over That would have been a suicide. (BTW, Shahrukh Khan came to my bathroom, while I was bathing, asking me to watch his Ra.One. !!! Did that happen with you or is it just me?)

Back to “the seventh sense”, I promised my friends that I would list 10 negative about this movie, against 5 of the good ones. So here you go.

Shruti Haasan: she is an excellent actor in a world where Rahul Gandhi is an excellent statesman. Kapish?

Direction:  Ghajini had memento as reference.  This one had nothing to inspire from. So, no wonder movie derailed after first 20 minutes. This director stretched one hour story like a chewing gum, threw common sense out of window and on top of it – he took my money!

Stunts: I can’t believe why our directors don’t have any idea on what Kung Fu is. They simply had to pick up any Chinese/Thai movie, except “crouching tiger..”. But looks like they checked only that movie, so kung fu now is surfing on bamboo trees.

SCI-FI: Flying objects without any explanation does not make any movie a sci-fi (nor historic), as this proudly claims. Bunch of kids just out of their diapers, tweak a guy’s a DNA to make him a superhuman, and you want me to believe it!?!

We laugh at Kyapten Vijaykanth typing on Windows media player, but we are OK with Sruthi compares two DNA in microscope! We laugh when Balayya diffuses a bomb with On/Off button, but we are Okay with Dong lee placing a Jammer on top of the car for public display (BTW which says “Jammer switched On”).

As usual, unbelievably stupid “science”.

Hypnotism: Really! Are you kidding me? Does anyone know what is it? Somebody please explain this director what it is, I think he believes it to be something similar to “statue” game we played in 4th grade.

Romance: 90 minutes with 3 songs. I turned believer for a moment and asked “God, what have I ever done to get this kind of treatment!”. There is absolutely no justification for wasting 90 minutes on pointless romance when you claim movie is action/sci-fi or whatever it is.

Flaws: Millions of them, for naming one – Shruthi&co don’t have money to hire a monkey, but she conducts DNA test for an entire village in Kanchipuram! That’s smart economics.

Bio war: Its basically conspired by 6 Chinese officials plotted in broken English, even though they know mandarin very fluently.  Basically they want to attack India through a virus in a month so. It’s the same paranoid theory few Pakistanis think Indians plotting it (or Palestinians thinking Israelites, and so on )

Songs & dance: Below average pointless and they were “inserted”

Historic Accuracy:  Is Bhodhidharma father of Chinese medicine and Kung fu? Movie says I should be ashamed if I don’t know this, Now I am back at my desk and I can’t find reference to this. Can you please help me out?

Comedy: Alright! Are we banking on retarded and dwarfs?

To name some good things:

  1. Suriya.
  2. Cinematography for first 20 min
  3. Hmm.. still can’t think of anything else.