Unlike Bollywood, where big stars gladly work with female directors, K’town A-Listers hesitate to do so. However, Suriya is different. Sudha Kongara, a protégé of Mani Ratnam who earlier did the critically-acclaimed Iruthi Suttru, helms Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru, premiering on Amazon Prime on November 12. The movie is loosely based on the life of captain G.R. Gopinath, who pioneered low-cost aviation in India and is inspired by his biography, Simply Fly.
“Have we ever refused to learn from female teachers in schools and colleges or at work places? From sports to many fields, women are rocking and we have to be proud of them and learn a lot from them,” Suriya says, in a conversation with DC.
“After watching Bala Sir’s Sethu, I was so fascinated that I wanted to work with him. The same thing happened with Sudha’s Iruthi Suttru. I was keen to work with her. Madhavan Sudha and I interacted often,” he says.
Heaping laurels on Sudha, Suriya says, “I have been noticing her ever since she assisted Mani Sir in Aaitha Ezhuthu. She was controlling a team of 200 people on the sets of SP and extracted the best from them. I have told her to consider me for her next script (laughs).”
On the challenges involved, Suriya says “Maara goes through many emotional stages. He gets to a stage when he cracks and asks his wife if she can lend him Rs 12000.”
Giving a glimpse into the way he operates, Suriya says, “I am not a great actor and can’t come and act in front of the camera without any preparation. I go through the character of any person I play, and this helps me perform better. I depend mostly on personal experiences/emotions. Since Sudha knows my personal side, we were able to discuss a lot before each shot. So, all shots were completed in just one or two takes.”
Talking about the teenage portions, he says, “To essay an 18-year-old at the age of 45 was quite daring. I discussed getting another actor for those portions with Sudha. But I didn’t have any choices. And the teenage parts were shot the day after I completed my other scenes with a beard and short hair.”
Was fitness a challenge? “I have been meticulously keeping my body fit. So, it is not that I had to go from 40 per cent to 100 per cent at the gym. I just needed to push an extra 20 per cent to achieve the desired results. To pull it off was quite a task, but I would say it was a sweet challenge,” replied the actor.
He shared his first experience of a flight.
“I travelled to Coimbatore to attend my cousin’s wedding. She was 15 years older to me, and had brought me up till I was 7. I had thought I was going to marry her. Sitting on her lap on her wedding day, I was glaring at the groom. Yet another memorable flight was when dad (Sivakumar) took me to Singapore and Malaysia when I was in Grade 10. That’s when dad and I got close and discussed my future.”