Who is Shalini Ushadevi? The filmmaker wins the national award for best screenplay for Soorarai Pottru

Who is Shalini Ushadevi? Screenwriter and filmmaker Shalini Ushadevi has won her first National Film Award for Best Original Screenplay for the Tamil film Soorarai Pottruwhich she co-wrote with Sudha Kongara, the film’s director.

Soorarai Pottru tells the story of an air force pilot named Nedumaaran, also known as Maara (Suriya), and the challenges and lack of support he encounters while trying to fulfill his ambition to found a low-cost airline.

Who is Shalini Ushadevi?

  • Modern Indian writer and director Shalini Ushadevi attended film school in Prague. Akam, a Malayalam psychological thriller starring Fahadh Faasil, marked his debut in writing and directing feature films.
  • Akam premiered at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival in December 2011. It was also screened at the Shanghai International Film Festival and the Kerala International Film Festival.
  • She recently won her first National Film Award for Best Original Screenplay for Tamil Film Soorarai Pottru. The film is her first big-budget film and the second in which she was credited as a screenwriter.
  • Captain GR Gopinath of Air Deccan served as inspiration for Soorarai Pottru, which also received five national accolades, the most of any film this year. These awards included Best Film, Best Actor for Suriya, and Best Actress for Aparna Balamurali, the film’s lead actor.
  • Speaking of her achievement, she says, “The award was a pleasant surprise. Full attention, not so much! I’m touched by all the support, though.
  • The film’s script was developed by Shalini and Sudha over approximately two years. “Sudha had already written the story when I came on board. Essentially the movie is a business story. Turning what is a fairly dry topic into a screenplay with heart, an underdog story that could resonate with everyone took a lot of work and rework. Sudha was keen for the script to be airtight and had a very clear picture about it,” Shalini said while discussing the making of the film.
  • The script was skillfully written by the two to alternate between past and present. She said: “The idea was to show the struggle of an entrepreneur. Marrying the two timelines seamlessly was a real challenge. For someone like me who sucks at math, scenarios are the best I can do to make things fit together mathematically and strike a balance.
  • Shalini is already hard at work on her next screenplay, a true detective series for Netflix, produced by India Today. She also writes and directs a Hindi film for a major production house.

Suggested reading: Who is Leila Mottley? 20-year-old author becomes youngest nominee for Booker Prize 2022