Aakashame Nee Haddura (Soorarai Pottru in Tamil) Telugu Movie Review

           Air Force pilot Chandra Mahesh Kanayanam (Suriya) resigns from the Air Force with a hope of launching a low-cost airline for the masses. Ensuring he does not is Jazz Airways owner Paresh Goswami (Paresh Rawal). Paresh is not happy with the idea of his driver/cook/cleaner being his co-passengers and makes clear with Maha in their first meeting. In the midst of his odyssey, he marries Sundari (Aparna Balamurali). Mahi’s Mom (Urvashi) is supportive of Maha’s vision. Maha gets in touch with Prakash Babu (Prakash Belawadi) who promises to fund Maha’s low-cost airlines. As luck would have it (and to add to the viewing time), Prakash happens to be one of Paresh’s cronies. Any and all (including the DGCA) doors that Maha knocks is answered by one of Paresh’s cronies. Will Maha succeed in his dreams, from where does he garner the support, do the masses trust Maha and his vision form the rest of the story.

           Indian biopics and biographies start off with a disadvantage where credibility is the first casualty. Either it is syrupy and vexing eloquence on the protagonist (Gunjan for example) or it is said to become quasi documentary like in the case of Patel or a farce like with Manmohan Singh. Aakasham Nee Haddura is a bit of all this and more. It is too dramatic. Like many films in South India, the star gets the better of the actor. Overdramatic histrionics robs the narrative of its credibility. Film maker Sudha Kongara falls prey to the regular plot holes. For instance, and this is just one example, notice how needlessly dramatic is the scene where Maha begs for money at an airport to take a ticket back home. Surely subtlety could have won the director the hour. Instead, she chooses to drag and drag. Effectively, this takes an exhausting toll on the viewer. In the cast, Gnanasambandham as the father, Srinivasan in the hotel are but examples of how being overdramatic is the rule of the game.

           In the midst of this is a glaringly inconsistent performance from the star Suriya. There are moments when is his suave, controlled and proving his acting calibre. And then there are scenes when he is loud and hopelessly over the top. Suriya perhaps is catering to the calls of the director. Surely the actor has reached a stage where he could put his foot down and refused to be a part of such demands. People in south cinema must come to terms to the fact that they have a pan India audience. While watching it in Telugu, the dubbing (Rana?) is listless and does not match the dramatic octaves of Suriya. In the post Covid scenario, with cinema viewers having the privilege of watching Malayalam cinema, it is sad indeed that mainstream stars fall apery to needless over-dramatics in the name of acting. It is even more tragic when established actors with tremendous talent like Suriya fall prey and do not put their foot down. In contrast, Aparna Balamurali does not fall into the regular mould of the good-looking heroines and takes her task of playing tough serious. Hopefully this could signal a message to actresses that there is more to being a heroine even while playing second fiddle and show some character and refusing to be just a glamour doll.

           From a Suriya perspective, namely from the star content, the stars in the clouds scream more than glitter. This poor man’s flight doesn’t really take off.

L. Ravichander.