Soorarai Pottru - Suriya shoulders this focussed underdog drama!
Suriya's career for the past few years after hitting a peak during Yezham Arivu has been a mixed bag. In between his outright commercial efforts like the Singam sequels and Anjaan, he has been trying out the mainstream experimental entertainers such as Maatraan and 24. The results have been a little varied. But a general consensus was that it has been a while since we witnessed the intense actor in him. In other words, the actor sans the star baggage.The Soorarai Pottru trailer showed a glimpse of that intense actor. The film turns out to be a showcase of this intensity.
The plot is an open secret and is about the uphill tasks faced by the protagonist in setting up his low cost aviation company. The film veers towards the template good vs evil battle from midway. More about that later but what really works for the film is the way it sets up its characters and establishes a fine emotional bonding between them. The relationship between Nedumaran (Suriya) and his wife (Aparna), his mother (Urvasi), his father ('Poo' Ram) and his friends are all well defined and the actors playing these parts are brilliant. There is a certain way in which romance is portrayed in mainstream films and whether it works or not more often than not depends on the chemistry between the lead pair. Suriya and Aparna Balamurali are excellent and so is the equation between them. It is certainly filmy but the actors make it work and you can feel the vibe and intensity of their romance.
The film has many highpoints that work. Nearly one hour into the film and despite it being going really well so far, we don't really understand or know the reason behind Nedumaran's thirst for setting up a low cost aviation company. But then that reveal happens and it is one of the most emotional stretches in recent memory and Suriya is at his best here. So all the trouble that the hero undergoes to achieve his goal makes sense from hereon. There are few well played massy moments as well such as the one that happens in the Udupi hotel. But what doesn't work is the sketching of the bad men in the film. They are straight out of a typical star vehicle and are very close to being caricatures. And say what, this custom of having Hindi characters speak in Tamil always robs away some credence. The face off between Suriya and Paresh Rawal doesn't fit this film and even comes across as silly at times. A more believable and less filmy antagonist is what this film needed.
There is a certain melodrama towards the end with all those scenes involving the characters from Nedumaran's village but again it is reasonably well done and doesn't go overboard. G.V. Prakash is in fine form and provides rock solid support. Despite all the emotions working big time, there is always a certain question mark about how the main characters fit in the mileu that the film is set in. There is this feel of make-believe right through.
Bottomline : An intense performance from Suriya and a focussed narration from Sudha Kongara ensure that Soorarai Pottru flies admirably high.