|Directed by||Sudha Kongara|
|Story by||Sudha Kongara|
|Based on||Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey|
by G. R. Gopinath
|Narrated by||R. Madhavan|
|Music by||G. V. Prakash Kumar|
|Edited by||Sathish Suriya|
|Distributed by||Amazon Prime Video|
Soorarai Pottru (transl. Praise the brave) is a 2020 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed by Sudha Kongara and produced by Suriya and Guneet Monga, under their respective banners 2D Entertainment and Sikhya Entertainment. The story was conceptualised and written by Kongara. The screenplay was written by Kongara and Shalini Ushadevi, with an additional screenplay by Aalif Surti and Ganesha, and Vijay Kumar writing the dialogue. The film stars Suriya, Paresh Rawal, and Aparna Balamurali with Urvashi, Mohan Babu, and Karunas amongst others in supporting roles.
The film was partly inspired by events from the life of Simplifly Deccan founder G. R. Gopinath. While the project was announced in mid-2018, under the working title Suriya 38, the official title Soorarai Pottru was announced on 13 April 2019. Principal photography began the very same month and ended that September. Filming took place across Madurai, Chennai, and Chandigarh. The film features music composed by G. V. Prakash Kumar, while cinematography and editing were handled by Niketh Bommireddy and Sathish Suriya respectively.
The theatrical release of the film suffered due to post-production delays and the COVID-19 pandemic. The film released digitally through Amazon Prime Video on 12 November 2020, coinciding with the eve of Diwali festival. It was released simultaneously with its dubbed versions in Kannada and Malayalam under the same title and in Telugu as Aakasam Nee Haddu Raa (transl. The sky is the limit). A Hindi dubbed version titled Udaan (transl. Flight) was released on 4 April 2021.
Soorarai Pottru received positive reviews from critics, who praised the major technical aspects of the film, while also appreciating Suriya's performance and Sudha's direction. It was selected as one among ten Indian films to be screened under the Best Foreign Film category at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. The film was made available for screening at the 93rd Academy Awards, but was not nominated. The film also entered the Panorama Section of the Shanghai International Film Festival. It is currently the third highest rated film on IMDb and has a rating of 9.1, only behind The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Godfather (1972).
Nedumaaran, fondly called "Maara", is a former Indian Air Force captain who dreams of starting a low-cost carrier airline. He idolises Paresh Goswami, the owner of Jaz Airlines who achieved great success in the airline industry through hard work. One day, Maara is visited by Sundari alias Bommi whose family is looking for a suitable groom for her. Maara is impressed by Bommi's nature and agrees to marry her. He tells her that he grew up as a rebellious boy, much to his father's dismay, and had a strained relationship with him. Later, he joined the Air Force where he excelled. He was often reprimanded by his superior, M. Naidu due to his rebellious nature. When his father was on his deathbed, Maara tried to book a flight home but found that he did not have enough money. He requests many people to help him out financially, to no avail. By the time he reached, his father had already died. This launched his ambition for starting a low-cost carrier. Bommi, however, feels that he would not give much attention to her post-marriage and rejects him.
Maara visits Naidu to ask for the ex-serviceman loan so that he can start his airline but Naidu refuses. With no other option, Maara travels on the same flight as Paresh. He proposes they work together and start a low-cost carrier. Paresh however, believes that the poor should not travel with the rich and humiliates Maara. Prakash Babu, the head of a venture capitalist firm overhears Maara's conversation with Paresh and asks him to explain his business plan to the board members of the firm. Meanwhile, Maara and Bommi start meeting each other frequently and eventually get married. He plans to lease Boeing aircraft from PlaneAm who have agreed to lease them at low prices. After his funds get sanctioned, Maara tries to meet the DGCA officials to acquire the licence but they fail to give him any importance. Maara meets the President of India and requests his help in getting the licence.
Irked by his progress, Paresh uses his power to pass a law that requires Boeing to submit its airline blueprints to fly in the Indian airspace. This leads to PlaneAm cancelling the lease and demanding a penalty fee. Maara requests Prakash to loan him money to pay the penalty but he is denied. Prakash reveals he was working with Paresh and had conspired with him to bring Maara down. He also reveals the Boeing planes were acquired by Jaz airlines instead. Infuriated, Maara storms into Paresh's office but is tackled by the guards. He becomes short-tempered and often quarrels with Bommi but later apologises. He realises that he can fly smaller aircraft and strikes a deal with a Turboprop aircraft manufacturer. Paresh, fearing his rise can affect his business decides to take matters into his own hands. Meanwhile, Maara's entire village comes to help him financially by donating as much money as they can. He plans to commence flight operations from abandoned airstrips since the major airports come under Paresh's control. He names his airline Deccan Air and sells tickets at railway stations and petrol pumps hoping to get customers. Retired Air Force pilots are hired to fly the planes and Bommi is made in-charge of the in-flight catering.
On the day of the delivery of the aircraft, Paresh uses his influence to restrict the flight's landing at Chennai, forcing the flight to crash land at the Air Force base due to lack of fuel. Maara is called by Naidu to explain for the emergency landing and lets him off with a fine after hearing about his ambitions. On the day of the maiden voyage, the flight catches fire and is forced to cancel take-off. It is revealed that Paresh had bribed the captain to sabotage the flight. The captain owns up to his mistakes in front of the inquiry. A prominent businessman offers to buy Deccan Air but Maara refuses citing differences in their vision. Paresh starts a smear campaign against Deccan Air in the hopes of ending Maara's dreams but Maara ensures everyone that his flights are safe and cost-effective. On the day of the start of operations, however, no one turns up for one of the flights. Just when Maara is about to give up, he is informed that a technical glitch occurred due to which the tickets for that particular flight did not get booked. But all other flights get completely booked. With tears of happiness in his eyes, Maara watches the other flights touch down. Paresh accepts defeat as Deccan Air becomes a success.
In April 2018, Sudha Kongara stated that she will be collaborating with Suriya for the director's next film, which is tentatively titled Suriya 38. The film will be produced by Suriya's production house, 2D Entertainment with Guneet Monga of Sikhya Entertainment as the co-producer. It was also announced that G. V. Prakash Kumar was selected to work on the film's music, collaborating with director Sudha and actor Suriya for the first time. The pre-production work of the film was kick started in June 2018. Niketh Bommireddy handles the film's cinematography. Meanwhile, Sathish Suriya who worked on director's Irudhi Suttru (2016) and Guru (2017) assigned as film editor and Jacki will handle the production designing. On 13 April 2019, the title was revealed as Soorarai Pottru with a poster release. Though it was initially reported that the film was a biopic of Simplify Deccan founder G. R. Gopinath, the team clarified it was only inspired by certain events from his life.
In March 2019, Telugu actor Mohan Babu was signed to play a senior officer. In April 2019, Aparna Balamurali was signed to play the lead actress, pairing with Suriya for the first time. She also learned the Madurai slang of Tamil for the film. Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal was cast as the antagonist making his Tamil debut. Actress Urvashi joined the film's cast in August 2019. Later Karunas, Vivek Prasanna, Achyuth Kumar and Kaali Venkat amongst others were also included to the film's cast.
The film was scheduled to begin in November 2018. The film production began with a principal photography on 8 April 2019. It was revealed that Suriya will be experimenting a new look for his role in the film. The first schedule of the film was completed on 16 April 2019. The film was shot across certain parts of Tamil Nadu, during the first schedule. The second schedule of the film was kickstarted in April 2019, at Chandigarh, completing the first schedule of the film, and wrapped up on 6 June 2019. It was reported that an amount of ₹47 lakh (US$66,000) was spent by the producers per day to rent an aircraft for filming. Hollywood stuntman Greg Powell, roped in to choreograph the film's action sequences. Mohan Babu and Paresh Rawal joined the film's shoot in June 2019, the latter wrapped his portions in July 2019. A month long schedule took place in August 2019, with some important scenes needed to be canned in Madurai. After months of shooting, the film was successfully wrapped on 27 September 2019. Suriya, delivered gold coins to the film's crew members after completing the shoot.
The post-production activities kick-started soon after completing the film's shoot. However was suspended in March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic. Later, the activities were resumed on 11 May 2020.
G. V. Prakash Kumar worked on the film's score and soundtrack, in April 2019, before the start of its shoot, by recording a song in collaboration with the band Thaikkudam Bridge for a rock number in the film. Singers Dhee, Senthil Ganesh and Harish Sivaramakrishnan of the Agam band, too contributed to the album. Prakash worked on the film's background score in October 2019. In November 2019, Prakash announced that, Suriya will croon the rap versions for the film's theme music, which was titled as "Maara Theme". The song marked his third stint as a singer after he sung for a song in Anjaan (2014) and the unreleased film Party. The film's soundtrack album was released by the Sony Music India label on 24 July 2020.
Soorarai Pottru was earlier scheduled to release on 20 December 2019, coinciding with Christmas, but was pushed to the occasion of Pongal, 15 January 2020. Due to delay in post-production activities, the film's theatrical release was delayed to 9 April and then to 1 May, which was later put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Suriya eventually stated, that the film will be scheduled for a theatrical release, in an online interaction with his fans through social media.
On 22 August 2020, coinciding with the occasion of Vinayaga Chathurthi, Suriya confirmed that the film will be digitally premiered through the OTT platform Amazon Prime Video on 30 October 2020, and the theatrical release was called off. This came under a disappointing response from the actor's fans, who wanted to watch this film in theatres, and requested Suriya to reconsider his decision. However, Suriya stated that he took his decision as a producer and not as an actor. Suriya faced a similar controversy when he released his film Ponmagal Vandhal (2020), starring Jyothika, in Prime Video, receiving backlash from theatre owners and exhibitors, for his decision. Director Bharathiraja welcomed Suriya's move by releasing the film through OTT, stating that it is the right move for the current situation.
Soorarai Pottru released in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages, with the Telugu version titled as Aakasam Nee Haddhu Ra. Rajasekar Pandian, the executive producer of 2D Entertainment stated that the film will be premiered across 200 countries. Suriya further announced that ₹5 crore from the film's profit, will be donated to the film industry workers and frontline workers who made necessary efforts to control the pandemic.
A week prior to the film's release date, on 21 October 2020, Suriya announced that the film will be postponed due to the delay over obtaining the NOC, from the Indian Air Force. The makers announced that the film will be released on 12 November 2020, coinciding with the eve of Diwali festival. A Hindi dubbed version titled Udaan was released on 4 April 2021.
As part of the film's promotional strategy, the production company announced that they will collaborate with SpiceJet as their official partner. The chairman of SpiceJet, Ajay Singh launched his company's Boeing 737 plane with a poster from the film branded on it on 13 February 2020, the same day where the second single of the film was launched inside on the company's Boeing 737 plane during mid-air flight. This will be the third time a passenger jet had been wrapped for advertising an Indian film, after AirAsia India for Kabali (2016) and SpiceJet for Darbar (2020). The making of Soorarai Pottru was released on 14 April 2020, on the occasion of Tamil New Year's Day. Suriya's dedication and hard work for the film featured in the making video was appreciated by fans.
Prior to the release of the film, Suriya launched a huge space balloon with a special poster at the highest possible altitude. The poster, which also featured the signature of over 10,000 fans, was launched at 34,000 ft above the sea level by a German crew. The first-of-a-kind promotional activity went viral through social media platforms and internet. A Twitter emoji for the film was launched prior to its release.
The satellite rights of the film for its Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada versions were sold to the Sun TV Network. The film's television premiere took place on 14 January 2021, coinciding with the occasion of Pongal.
Soorarai Pottru received positive reviews from critics. Writing for The Hindu, Srinivasa Ramanujam wrote: "Director Sudha Kongara delivers a well-knit cinematic tale that urges us to follow our dreams." Ranjani Krishnakumar from Firstpost gave the film a rating of 4.5 out of 5, stating, "Sudha Kongara, Suriya tell a moving, poetic biopic without deifying the leading man." A reviewer from The Quint gave the film a rating of 3.5 out of 5, writing, "Suriya soars in Sudha Kongara’s inspiring movie" and further writes that it is "A comeback for Suriya after the atrocious NGK and Kaappaan." M Suganth of The Times of India gave a rating of 3.5 out of 5, stating, "Soorarai Pottru is an inspiring tale with robust performance from Suriya." Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion South wrote: "In terms of sheer professionalism, the film is the best thing that’s come on the southern OTT space." A reviewer from The New Indian Express wrote, "Suriya delivers an ace performance in this soaring, sensitive drama." India Today gave 3.5 out of 5 stars and stated "Soorarai Pottru was made for the theatrical experience and would have been an amazing watch on the big screen. However, the OTT release has given the makers of the film a wider reach."
Gauthaman Bhaskaran of the News18 gave 2.5 out of 5 and stated "Soorarai Pottru could have been far more inspiring and even engrossing had director Sudha Kongara done away with unnecessary songs and emotions. Her plane would have had a smoother flight sans the turbulence." Sify gave the film, 4 out of 5 stars and stated, "Soorarai Pottru stands out with its fine writing and outstanding performance of Suriya. It is undeniably another good film from Sudha Kongara. On the whole a solid and satisfying watch." Sowmya Rajendran, editor-in-chief of The News Minute gave 4 out of 5 and stated, "Soorarai Pottru is easily Suriya's best outing in a long time. Suriya is in fine form, switching between angry young man to conflicted son, romantic husband and cussing businessman. It's a pleasant flight even if there's some turbulence along the way." The Indian Express gave 2 out of 5 and stated "Soorarai Pottru is marred by the high-pitched melodrama whistled up every time the script needs to create fan-pleasing moments. Given Suriya’s mega popularity, that is an always present temptation, and the film gives in, much too often." Writing for Hindustan Times, Haricharan Pudipeddi wrote: "Soorarai Pottru, which will go down as one of the best films of the year, is Suriya’s return to form (after a few mediocre films) and it’s quite gutsy of a mainstream hero to produce and star in a film that doesn’t tick all those boxes of a typical commercial entertainer."
Indiaglitz rated 3.25 out of 5 and summarised "Sudha has made sure that despite the cinematic liberties and some pace issues in the second half of the movie, Soorarai Pottru is a completely engaging and enjoyable entertainer with many emotionally charged, goosebumps moments. Sudha Kongara's engaging screenplay and the return of the powerhouse performer Suriya make the film a must-watch, the inspiring flight you should never miss." Behindwoods rated 3.5 out of 5 and stated "Suriya and Sudha Kongara's Soorarai Pottru is an inspiring biopic." Republic World gave 4 out of 5 and summarised "Soorarai Pottru is a must-watch as the performances of each actor in the film is exceptional. The movie has the potential to be one of the most highly regarded films about a common man achieving his dreams. The movie is partly based on events from Captain G. R. Gopinath's life and the film proves to be a tale that must be told."
Soorarai Pottru was selected as one among ten Indian films to be screened under the Best Foreign Film category at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. On 26 January 2021, the film's executive producer, Rajasekar Pandian announced that the film made an official entry to the 93rd Academy Awards, for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Score and other categories. He further added that the film has been made available to the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences for votes and nomination at the Academy Screening Room. The film found a place among the 366 films eligible for nomination, but was eventually not nominated. Soorarai Pottru was also screened at the Chennai International Film Festival. The film also entered the Panorama Section of the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Soorarai Pottru received positive response from celebrities with director Shankar, actors Mahesh Babu, and Samantha Akkineni amongst others praising the film. The film became the second most tweeted hashtag of the year in entertainment section, according to a survey report by Twitter. The film also became the second most searched topic in Google Trends, thus becoming the only South Indian film to feature in this list. Soorarai Pottru also became the most watched regional language film in the history of Amazon Prime in India. It is currently the third highest rated film on IMDb and has a rating of 9.1, only behind The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Godfather (1972).
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2021-06-13 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=60485629