Sudha Kongara acknowledges having differing opinions with Akshay Kumar during filming of ‘Sarfira’

She said the main challenge was making Akshay Kumar, a big star, appear credible as an ordinary man striving for something extraordinary.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 10, 2024 | 4:26 PM Updated Jul 10, 2024 | 4:26 PM

Sudha Kongara on working with Akshay Kumar in Sarfira

Sudha Kongara, who directed the Tamil hit film Soorarai Pottru (2020), helms its Hindi adaptation with Akshay Kumar. Titled Sarfira, the film is scheduled for release on 12 July, alongside Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2.

It is produced by Aruna Bhatia of Cape of Good Films along with Suriya-Jyotika’s 2D Entertainment and Vikram Malhotra’s Abundantia Entertainment.

In a recent interview, the director discussed her collaboration with Akshay Kumar for Sarfira and revealed initial differences due to their contrasting approaches.

Sudha Kongara disclosed that she initially aimed for Akshay Kumar to replicate Suriya’s portrayal in Soorarai Pottru rather than interpret it in his way. This caused tension between them during the first six days of filming.

Reflecting on the incident, the filmmaker observed, “Suriya is Suriya. I’ve known him for over 25 years, making it easier to communicate my expectations. It’s a friendly and relaxed environment. However, with Akshay sir, it was different—he’s addressed as ‘sir,’ and it was our first meeting. I’m straightforward, which created a similar situation. He wasn’t pleased during the first six days.”

Sudha Kongara added, “He was questioning, ‘Why is this girl making me do all this nonsense?’ So, he and the producer approached me, and I said, ‘You do what feels right for you, and I’ll guide you when needed’. I had envisioned the perfect portrayal of Maara, thinking no one could match Suriya. But I realised I was restricting an actor with his approach, so I had to release that control.”

Ultimately, the director shared that they reconciled after sitting down and having a conversation. She expressed having a “great experience” working with Akshay Kumar.

Sudhar Kongara explained that the main challenge was making Akshay Kumar, a big star, appear credible as an ordinary man striving for something extraordinary.

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Sarfira feels like a fresh release’

In the interview, she cited a scene from Pad Man (2018), where his character creates a makeshift pad, recalling how moved she was while watching it in a Chennai theatre. She admired how Akshay portrayed authenticity, which influenced their decision to cast him in the role.

Sarfira also stars Paresh Rawal, Radhika Madan, and Seema Biswas in important roles. The film’s script is penned by Sudha Kongara and Shalini Ushadevi and the dialogues by Pooja Tolani.

Even though Soorarai Pottru is available on OTT platforms, Sudha Kongara expressed that Sarfira felt like a fresh release to her, emphasising that she never approached it as a remake.

“I’ve eagerly awaited its theatrical release and for people to enjoy it together. The big screen offers an experience that OTT platforms can’t quite replicate.”

Soorarai Pottru, which is inspired by the life of Air Deccan founder Captain GR Gopinath, centres on Nedumaaran Rajangam aka Maara (played by Suriya), who embarks on a mission to enable ordinary people to fly.

Along the way, he challenges the world’s most capital-intensive industry with the support of his family, friends, and unwavering determination.

The movie won five National Film Awards, including Best Feature Film and Best Actor for Suriya.

(Edited by Y Krishna Jyothi)

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