Suriya Photograph:( WION )
A Special Spicejet Boeing 737 aircraft with the film’s poster painted on it was unveiled in the presence of the film’s crew and Spicejet’s Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh.
It’s not too often that a commercial film is made based the Indian aviation sector, but Director Sudha Kongara’s “Soorarai Pottru”(Hail the Brave) is not only an aviation film but is also based on Captain G.R. Gopinath, the founder of the erstwhile Deccan Airways. Started in 2003, Air Deccan made flying an affordable reality for India’s masses. True to the mission of Captain Gopinath, whose life the film takes inspiration from, the launch function of the film’s track “Veyyon Silli” took place on board a Boeing 737 Aircraft, which flew for over 40 minutes over Chennai skies, carrying the film’s crew, media personnel and over 100 underprivileged kids, their teachers and parents.
A Special Spicejet Boeing 737 aircraft with the film’s poster painted on it was unveiled in the presence of the film’s crew and Spicejet’s Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh. “We are delighted to be a part of this venture as this is a story that needs to be told. This is the first-ever movie to be made on the Indian civil aviation industry. Captain Gopinath is an icon as he helped ordinary people dream that they could one day fly and made it a reality” Ajay Singh said.
Speaking to the media, Actor Suriya said, “We chose students from government schools across Tamil Nadu based on an essay writing competition. We had asked them to write and describe what they would do if they were given a chance to travel on a plane. Many of them had written that they would like for their parents or siblings to have that opportunity instead”.
He added that “Whatever inventions are introduced, it is meaningless if not made affordable and accessible. In the year 2000, less than one per cent of Indian the population was able to fly(affordability). Captain Gopinath changed the whole industry and took the common man to the skies”. Emphasizing that G.R. Gopinath had revolutionized the aviation sector, Suriya said that the film was a tribute to him and showered praise on director Sudha Kongara for her vision and decade-long work on the project.
“Suriya promised me creative freedom when I worked on this film and he gave me enough creative freedom which took me higher than this Boeing 737,” said the film’s director Sudha Kongara.
Post the media address on the tarmac and the unveiling of the special aircraft, the single “Veyyon Silli”(A shard of the sun) was launched onboard the aircraft. The special Boeing 737 took off at around 3:20, amidst loud cheers from the kids and was flown over the Chennai city, with the captain urging the first-time flyers and young passengers to look towards their sides to spot the M.A Chidambaram cricket stadium and the iconic Marina beach. Given the short duration of the trip, the aircraft was flown at a low altitude of 14,000 feet (as opposed to the usual 30000 feet and above). The flight that lasted a little over 40 minutes was flown majorly over the Bay of Bengal, offering breathtaking views of the Chennai port, the large merchant vessels and scattered fishing trawlers in the high-seas.
After the release of the track, music director G.V. Prakash Kumar spoke about the song and said that they had chosen to make use of folk instruments and lyrics(with a tinge of Madurai-Tamil) for the song while presenting it in a stylish format. “I’m hoping that after this film, biopics become more popular in Tamil cinema,” he said. Amidst cheers from the kids, the composer crooned a few lines of the track via the in-flight Public address system.
“Right from my childhood age I have seen aircraft flying over our homes and heard the loud roar, I have always dreamt of travelling by plane, but today it has become a reality for me. I was hoping that I would travel by flight after earning on my own, but today Suriya Anna(elder brother) made it possible for me. It was an epic experience to view Chennai city from above and cruise in the midst of clouds, it felt so surreal”, said Abitha, a student in a school run by Suriya’s charity - Agaram Foundation.
Varun, a student of class 8th in Vellore district said that he was someone who would be really thrilled even during train journeys, but now that he was flying in an aircraft with actor Suriya, he felt like he was on cloud nine.
The sequences of the film involving scenes off airports and aircraft were filmed at various airports and locations across India, including Raigarh, Begumpet, Tambaram Air Force Base etc.
The film is bankrolled by 2D entertainment and Academy award winner Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment. Mentioning that this was her first Tamil film, Ms Monga said she enjoyed the experience of working on this film.