Flight Plan

Wings of change

| Updated on December 12, 2020

Soaraway success: Actors Aparna and Suriya in a still from Soorarai Pottru

Air Deccan founder Captain GR Gopinath on Soorarai Pottru, the Amazon Prime film based on his autobiography, Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey

Reviewing one’s own movie biopic is a bit tricky and not easy. There’s obviously a conflict there, and total objectivity may not be possible. Besides, there will always be much lost in translation because the movie is inspired by my business autobiography Simply Fly and a true autobiography can only be ‘falsely true’. So this is not a review. Let’s just say these are my impressions of the film Soorarai Pottru, which has become a raging hit, going by the scores of reviews in print, online and social media. Many respected critics have described the film as the best thing that’s come on the OTT space, with IMDB rating it 8.8 out of 10. So you never know what clicks with the inscrutable public and masses! Suffice to say, the film is uplifting and swells your heart in these gloomy and dark times.

I could not review the movie before its release through a private viewing, as planned, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, I saw it with my family and a couple of friends for the first time when it was released on Amazon Prime globally [in November]. Naturally, I was curious and a bit anxious about the overall quality of the movie and performance of the various characters, including my own character and that of my wife. It was highly fictionalised and dramatised, full of spice and masala, but despite that, without detracting from the main, it captured the true essence and spirit of the story of my life depicted in the book — the story of the triumph of hope against trials and tribulations, of getting up each time you fall down. It was a real roller-coaster ride from the beginning to the end! I could not help tears welling up on seeing many poignant family scenes and the near-death situations that I had faced during my long entrepreneurial saga.

The portrayal of my wife Bhargavi by Aparna was very well etched out; of a woman who was supportive of her husband but not subordinate and had her own mind, shared her husband’s dreams but did not lose her own entrepreneurial dreams, strong yet soft, feisty and fearless and inspiration to rural women who must retain their identity and self-esteem. And Suriya [the lead actor] was powerful and carried off the part of an entrepreneur obsessed to the point of madness to perfection.

A hero may seem ‘macho’ but is vulnerable and the movie shows that ‘heroes’ need emotional support from the wife and family to win, and, as important and crucial, from teammates who are the unsung heroes who often sacrifice more than the ‘hero’. I had three co-founders who were my backbone, without whom I would have crashed, and many who came to my rescue when I was near-drowning. I was blessed. The director has deftly woven all these elements and very delicately and eloquently counterbalanced a male-centric story with a strong female character in Aparna, which is heartwarming.

The film, in the end, is not only about persisting but in believing there are also good people, that if one door closes another opens, that you’re a failure only when you stop trying, and about inextinguishable optimism and that the sun will rise after the night. Director Sudha has pulled it off.

Published on December 12, 2020

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